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NCAA Tournament 2010: Jon Scheyer-Jerome Randle Matchup Is One to Watch

Adam YoungContributor IMarch 20, 2010

The Duke Blue Devils have missed out on the Sweet 16 in two of the last three years. That number is quite unusual for a college basketball powerhouse. They also haven't made it to the Elite Eight since 2004.

Knowing they have been upset early in the last couple of tournaments, the Blue Devils have returned to the ranks of a No. 1 seed. They are poised to still be playing in April. 

The chances look even better this time around, as Duke not only received a favorable draw in their region, but this season's field is weaker than normal. However, the Dukies will not walk into Indianapolis without a challenge. One of the biggest tests in the South region for the Blue Devils could (surprisingly) be California.   

The Blue Devils and Golden Bears are coming off convincing wins in the opening round of the 2010 NCAA tournament. The No. 1 seeded Blue Devils easily took care of No. 16 Arkansas Pine-Bluff, 73-44, while Cal stayed close with Louisville before pulling away late for a 77-62 victory.

So after surviving the first round, the Bears meet the Devils with a Sweet 16 berth on the line. Their two conferences, the ACC and Pac-10, were not as good this season as in previous ones. The Pac-10 had only two teams go to the Big Dance. The ACC did get six bids, but only two teams were ranked at the end of the regular season.

While it will be fun to see the two teams fight it out as a whole, perhaps the most interesting matchup of all will involve two of the best players in the country, Jon Scheyer and Jerome Randle.

The two senior point guards have had sensational seasons. Scheyer, the runner-up for ACC Player of the Year, averaged 18.7 points and 4.9 assists in leading Duke to the ACC regular season and tournament championship. He was an All-ACC First-Teamer and a finalist for National Player of the Year. Scheyer is also very reliable from beyond the arc with a 39 percent average. He has hit some big threes late in games this season, most notably in the ACC Title game with 18 seconds left.

Not to be outdone, Jerome Randle is one of the most underrated players in the country. Randle was an easy pick for Pac-10 Player of the Year after averaging 18.7 ppg and 4.5 apg. He scored more than 20 points 14 times and is also a very accurate three-point shooter at 40.4 percent. The team leader is second in the nation from the foul line at 93 percent. This number could help Cal drastically in their contest with Duke.

Besides the obvious impressive numbers these two players have, Scheyer and Randle strangely have very similar styles of play. They are both excellent three-point shooters and are not afraid to pull the trigger in the transition game. The two guards can also slash to the basket and draw the foul, and in turn convert from the free throw line. They are both team leaders that can take over the game at any point in time.

Jon Scheyer is probably the better defensive player and will be able to shut down Randle if he plays well. Randle, however, is definitely more athletic and is the better playmaker. It will also be interesting to see if these two will get as much help from their teammates as they did in the first round.

While some would make the case that this game will be a blowoutand it very well could bethis Sunday contest will give us an exciting battle of the point guards. Although we may see some better player matchups later on in the tourney, this will be an exhilarating matchup that normally doesn't come in the second round.      

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