Creighton junior forward Doug McDermott is one of the most talented big men in the nation and on Sunday in the round of 32, the Duke Blue Devils will have to contain him.
In Creighton's round of 64 game against Cincinnati in Philadelphia on Friday, McDermott recorded a double-double by scoring 27 points and 11 rebounds.
McDermott is not your typical big man. The 6'8" junior from Ames, IA is also a threat from beyond the arc and from around the perimeter.
While McDermott is a matchup problem for most teams he goes against, the Duke Blue Devils match up well against the son of the Creighton head coach.
Duke's paint duo of Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly are well suited to go up against McDermott and his partner in crime in the paint Gregory Echenique.
Echenique is your typical center and it is likely that Plumlee will match up against the Venezuelan in the paint.
With McDermott roaming around the court, his height and shooting ability hurts any defense he opposes. Duke has a very similar type of player in Kelly.
Kelly is also a versatile big man who can shoot from beyond the arc and can play strong in the paint when called upon.
The battle on both ends of the court between Kelly and McDermott will be one of the best one-on-one matchups in the round of 32.
During the regular season, only two teams were able to hold the National Player of the Year candidate to a single-digit total in points. UAB on November 14 and Indiana State on February 6 held McDermott to 5 and 8 points respectively.
Who Will Win on Sunday?
Even Creighton's only true formidable foe in the Missouri Valley Conference, Wichita State, could not contain McDermott in two of the three games they played this season. McDermott only scored 14 points in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Final in one of his worst shooting nights of the season.
For Duke, the primary attribute of McDermott's game that they need to stop is his perimeter shooting. They also have to keep McDermott away from the free-throw line.
McDermott is a superb free-throw shooter, he was 11-of-11 from the charity stripe against Cincinnati, and if he is able to continue his physical style of play against Kelly and possibly Plumlee, the Bluejays could earn a berth in the Sweet 16.
Not only is McDermott a 86 percent free-throw shooter, he is also a 49.7 percent three-point shooter. In most of his matchups, McDermott has more length than any of the players guarding him.
Unlike most of Creighton's opponents, Duke possesses a lanky big man who is agile in Kelly. Kelly's wingspan on the perimeter could give McDermott plenty of problems on the offensive end.
If Kelly is able to get in McDermott's face and disrupt his rhythm on offense, the Blue Devils could easily gain an early lead in the game. Getting an early lead and holding on to it would benefit the Blue Devils mightily.
Creighton does not have a second shooter that can get hot in an instant like McDermott, and if Duke can kill the Bluejays momentum, a blowout victory would be a highly likely result.
Duke's defensive game plan will revolve around how Kelly guards McDermott and if the Blue Devils senior forward can contain the National Player of the Year candidate, Duke will find their way back into the promised land of the Sweet 16.
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