Duke-Tulsa: Are the Hurricanes Golden or Bust?

Logan DaltonCorrespondent IFebruary 25, 2010

DURHAM, NC - JANUARY 17:  Chas McFarland #13 of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons tries to block Jon Scheyer #30 of the Duke Blue Devils during their game on January 17, 2010 in Durham, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

In one of the strangest scheduling ideas since moving the Glee premiere to early April, Duke is taking a break from their strenuous ACC schedule to play Tulsa at home.

Tulsa has been under the radar the whole season and is currently in a three-game slide, making its NCAA hopes disappear.

In the Golden Hurricane's favor, they do have two out of conference wins against Big 12 teams, including bubble team Oklahoma State.

Tulsa's problem the past three games hasn't been talent; they have plenty of that. Jerome Jordan is an NBA-ready big man who can score inside and rebound. If he dominates the boards and gives Duke rebounding king Brian Zoubek troubles on the glass, Tulsa could have a fighting chance.

Tulsa's true leader is Ben Uzoh, a senior guard, who has picked up the slack even in losses, scoring at least 20 in the past three games.

Tulsa has lost many of their recent games due to slow starts and poor first-half shooting. To have a chance to hang with Duke, they must pound the ball into Jordan, who will set up open opportunities for Uzoh and Tulsa's other outside shooters like the dead-eye Justin Hurtt.

Jordan might lock down the paint, but I think Tulsa has no answer for Duke's perimeter threats. The second highest scoring trio in the nation, the Blue Devils have ridden Jon Scheyer, Kyle Singler, and Nolan Smith to a six-game winning streak and built great momentum for March.

This game also would be a great confidence builder for Zoubek or any of Duke's other young post men. A double-digit scoring performance from the Plumlees would definitely strengthen Duke's scoring attack and show that these guys can take the pounding from seasoned bigs like Jordan.

I like Duke in this game because they have dominated non-conference teams this season at home, even good ones. They beat Charlotte by 42 at home and Gonzaga by 35 at Madison Square Garden.

Tulsa's experience won't turn this game into an unwatchable blowout, but the Blue Devils will win by 15 and extend their home non-conference streak to 77.