Grant Halverson/Getty Images
Duke should be running the offense through Mason Plumlee in the post. Against Georgia Tech, Duke showed that this was a point of emphasis. Unfortunately, Plumlee spent the first half drawing iron. For the first 20 minutes of the game, he shot 2-of-12.
Eventually, Plumlee started making shots, which forced Tech to double him in the post. Once the defense started to shuffle around in help defense, Duke’s perimeter players were able to find space to shoot.
Another encouraging sight, in regards to Duke’s post play, has been Amile Jefferson. Not only does Jefferson hustle for rebounds, he’s shown a growing understanding of offensive and defensive positioning.
Josh Hairston has been decent on defense, but has yet to show up as a positive on the offensive side of the ball. In fact, Hairston has a bad habit of taking ill-advised shots from outside. Though Jefferson is just a freshman, he’s more reliable than the junior Hairston to play within the parameters of the offense.
Jefferson has demonstrated that he’s content to play defense, rebound and get points from offensive boards and inside dishes to him under the basket.
Marshall Plumlee and Alex Murphy will also be relied upon to make up for the loss of Ryan Kelly. In all, Duke must ensure that it has enough bodies to bang with physical teams like Miami and Maryland in order to capture an ACC crown.
Most importantly, the Blue Devils need to format their offense, through lineups and sets, to give Mason Plumlee the space to post up and he must make the most of his opportunities to score. Having a dominant player makes Duke tough to beat game to game, and that should assure the selection committee that it can reliably score against any opponent.