Duke Basketball: Keys to Beating the Santa Clara Broncos on Saturday

Jon ReidCorrespondent IIDecember 28, 2012

DURHAM, NC - DECEMBER 20: Amile Jefferson #21, Josh Hairston #15, Quinn Cook #2, Tyler Thornton #3 and Alex Murphy #12 of the Duke Blue Devils huddle during a stop in play against the Elon Phoenix at Cameron Indoor Stadium on December 20, 2012 in Durham, North Carolina. Duke defeated Elon 76-54. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Lance King/Getty Images

When the Duke Blue Devils take the court on Saturday afternoon at Cameron Indoor Stadium, they will be looking for their 12th consecutive victory to open the 2012-13 college basketball season.

Their opponent, however, is a worthy opponent in the Santa Clara Broncos, out of the West Coast Conference, who have opened the season with an 11-2 record.

Duke will be Santa Clara's first ranked opponent of the season, and playing the Blue Devils should give them an idea of what it will take to beat one of the top teams in the country.

On the flip side, Santa Clara will provide Duke with a good warm-up game before conference play kicks off next week. They will be Duke's first real test since the Blue Devils beat the Ohio State Buckeyes back on November 28.

The Broncos shouldn't pose too much of a threat to the top-ranked Blue Devils, but they shouldn't be taken too lightly either.

Santa Clara uses a balanced attack on offense, with big man Marc Trasolini averaging over 16 points per game, fifth-year senior guard Kevin Foster putting up 18 points per contest, along with nearly five assists, and junior Evan Roquemore averaging 13.8 points and 6.5 dimes per game.

Roquemore also shoots nearly 50 percent from the field as a guard, so the Blue Devils will want to avoid giving him any open looks.

Step one will be to ensure that the Blue Devils continue to play the lock-down man-to-man defense that has worked so well for them this season.

On offense, sticking to the game plan should work out just fine for Duke.

Getting the ball into the hands of Seth Curry and Mason Plumlee will be essential, along with getting to the free-throw line and knocking down a high percentage of those shots.

Finally, the Santa Clara game is yet another chance for the Blue Devils to improve their rebounding in time for conference play.

Getting tougher on the glass, especially at in their own end, will ensure a win for the boys in Blue and White.