2008 NCAA Tournament Capsule: Duke

March 12th, 2008

Duke Blue Devils

Atlantic Coast Conference (27-5, 13-3)


Seed: #2

West Region


RPI: 7

Big Wins: 11/21 vs Marquette (77-73), 11/27 Wisconsin (82-58), 2/6 at North Carolina (89-78)

Bad Losses: 12/20 at Pittsburgh (64-65), 2/17 at Wake Forest (73-86), 2/20 at Miami (95-96)

Last NCAA Appearance: 2007, First Round loss to VCU

Coach: Mike Krzyzewski (68-20 in 23 NCAA appearances)


Probable Starters:

Greg Paulus, Junior, Guard, 11.3 ppg, 3.3 apg

DeMarcus Nelson, Senior, Guard, 15.2 ppg, 3.1 apg, 6.0 rpg

Gerald Henderson, Sophomore, Guard, 12.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg

Kyle Singler, Freshman, Forward, 13.6 ppg, 5.9 rpg

Lance Thomas, Sophomore, Forward, 4.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg


Key Roleplayers:

Jon Scheyer, Sophomore, Guard, 11.5 ppg, 2.5 apg, 4.0 rpg

Nolan Smith, Freshman, Guard, 6.1 ppg, 1.4 apg

Taylor King, Freshman, Forward, 5.7 ppg, 2.1 rpg

David McClure, Junior, Forward, 1.1 ppg, 1.9 rpg

Brian Zoubek, Sophomore, Center, 3.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg


Why They Can Surprise:

Lacking the big superstar like they had last year in Josh McRoberts, Duke has become an extremely balanced scoring team this year. Five players average double figure scoring, led by the lone senior on the roster, DeMarcus Nelson. Nelson is not just a scorer, he is also a great rebounder for a guard, a tenacious defender and a solid ballhandler.


The amount of depth on the perimeter is incredible with Greg Paulus, Gerald Henderson, Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith joining Nelson. Paulus has gotten over his turnover problems this year and has a two-to-one assist-to-turnover ratio. He also continues to knock down the long ball with consistency. Henderson has had a breakout sophomore campaign and is a great athlete on the wing. Scheyer has embraced his role as a reservce this year and provides a spark off the bench that any team would love to have.


Why They Can Disappoint:

Statistically, the Blue Devils are pretty good at everything. However, there are some concerns in the frontcourt. Kyle Singler is having a great year, but he is by no means a true post player. Neither is fellow starter Lance Thomas. Singler will spend most of his time on the perimeter and is practically a 6-8 guard who has some responsibilities on the glass. Thomas, at 6-8 and 220 pounds, is not any bigger than Singler, but he does do the dirty work around the basket. If the opposition can somehow contain the outside shooting, the post players will not do much to help the team in the scoring department. 


Who To Watch:

Nelson makes this team tick. He has become a very aggressive scorer and he will constantly get to the basket where he will either score or get fouled…or on many occasions, both. He is shooting over 50 percent from the floor and that is amazing for a guy who takes about three shots a game from beyond the arc. The Elk Grove, California product never disappears for a game and has only failed to reach double digit in the points column five times all year. And even in those games he averaged over six rebounds and nearly four assists. There will not be a game where Nelson does not make an impact one way or another.


By the Numbers:

Scoring Offense: 84.5 (3rd in nation, 2nd in conference)

Scoring Defense: 69.0 (174, 4)

Field-Goal Percentage: 46.5 (59, 3)

Field-Goal Defense: 43.3 (148, 8)

Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 9.4 (9, 1)

Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 38.7 (35, 2)

Free-Throw Percentage: 69.0 (163, 9)

Rebound Margin: 0.3 (170, 8)

Assists Per Game: 15.1 (64, 4)

Turnovers Per Game: 13.5 (104, 2)


Joel’s Bracket Says: Second Round loss to Arizona



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