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Duke 70, Tulsa 52: A Statistical Breakdown

Here’s the winning formula for Duke 2009-2010 folks: rebounding, defense and freethrows.

Rebounding: Duke ranks 16th nationally in rebounding ( 39.8), is tied for 2nd in offensive rebounds per game (15.2) and easily leads the ACC in rebounding margin ( 6.5).

Defense: Duke ranks 2nd nationally in 3-pt FG defense ( 27.4) , 2nd in the ACC in scoring defense ( 62.1 pg). and 20th nationally in turnover margin ( 3.6)

Free Throws: Duke ranks 8th nationally in Free Throw % ( 75.9).

During their current 7 game winning streak , Duke has held opponents to fewer than 57 points four times ,  has had three games with 20 plus offensive rebounds, and shot better than 80% from the line three times.

The shadowy spot during this streak ( and at times this season)  has been the shooting. Two halves shooting 23% and three halves shooting 35 % or less.

Now, let’s go half by half in the Tulsa game and see how well Duke did at what Duke does well.

FIRST HALF

Rebounding: Duke outrebounded Tulsa 24-20, and had 12 offensive boards

Defense: Duke won the turnover batttle  7-2, held Tulsa to 1-7 from 3 point range and 30 points on 13-35 shooting

Free Throws: Duke shot 8-10 from the line.

To the negative, Duke had another abysmal shooting half ( 12-38) paced by Nolan Smith ( 3-12) and as a consequence  led only 34-30. Zoubek played extremely well ( again) with 8 and 8.

SECOND HALF

Rebounds: Duke outrebounded Tulsa 16 - 9,  5 offensive boards

Defense: Duke won the turnover battle 6-2, and  held the Golden Hurricane to just 22 points on 6-23 shooting (0-3 from 3pt range), including holding them to a remarkable 10 points in the first 11 minutes!!

Free Throws: Duke shot 14-18 from the line

Duke shot 12-25 from the field (A vast improvement to say the least) and won the game going away.

So there you have it. It was pretty much a prototype game for this year’s squad : overcoming some poor shooting with consistency on defense, on the glass, and at the charity stripe. The big three carried the offensive load as usual ( on 33% shooting), but got some help from Zoubs ( 10 points/11 boards) and Miles Plumlee ( 6 points/6 boards). Lance Thomas had a very productive evening as well , pulling down 10 boards ( 5 offensive).

At the end of the day, though, you have to put the ball in the basket to win. And while good defense will often put you in a position to win, bad shooting can keep the other team right in it. If this team shoots well, I feel confident they can beat anybody in the country, because they do everything else it takes to win.  If they shoot poorly, overcoming elite teams will be very tough.