Since the Indiana basketball schedule was officially released back in August, a challenging stretch of five games in late November and early December jumped off the page. And now here we are, and the journey begins with what is by far the toughest of the five, and most likely the toughest of the entire regular season.
Indiana goes back out on the road for the second time this season to face one of the better teams in the country in one of the better venues in the country. Oh, and they arguably have the best coach in the history of the game.
How good is Duke at home? The Blue Devils are 142-9 this decade playing at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
And then there is that Coach K guy. Mike Krzyzewski is the all-time winningest coach in the history of Division I college basketball — by a mile. He is nearly 200 wins ahead of second place Jim Boeheim and 203 ahead of third place Bob Knight.
GAME DAY ESSENTIALS
Indiana (5-1) at Duke (5-1)
- Tip time: 9:30 p.m. Eastern
- Location: Cameron Indoor Stadium (9,314)
- Television: ESPN
- Series: Duke leads 6-3 (Duke won the last meeting 91-81 in 2017 in Bloomington. Indiana’s last win was in the 2002 Sweet 16)
- Tickets (Seat Geek affiliate link)
- Juwan Morgan, forward, 6-foot-8, 232 pounds
- Justin Smith, forward, 6-foot-7, 227 pounds
- Al Durham, guard, 6-foot-4, 181 pounds
- Romeo Langford, guard, 6-foot-6, 215 pounds
- Rob Phinisee, guard, 6-foot-1, 182 pounds
- Zion Williamson, forward, 6-foot-7, 285 pounds
- RJ Barrett, forward, 6-foot-7, 202 pounds
- Cam Reddish, forward, 6-foot-8, 218 pounds
- Marques Bolden, center, 6-foot-11, 250 pounds
- Tre Jones, 6-foot-2, guard, 183 pounds
TALE OF THE TAPE
KEYS TO VICTORY
Duke is long. Very long. Indiana is going to need to aggressively block out and attack the glass. Duke is 6th in the country in offensive rebounds. You know Juwan Morgan will be aggressive, but this is going to take a team effort, including the guards. We know IU is capable under Archie Miller. The Hoosiers were severely undersized at home against Michigan State last year and still dominated the boards. It will be as much about energy and passion as size on Tuesday night.
Tempo / On the Ball Defense
As you can see from their highlights below against Kentucky, Duke wants to run you ragged in the full court, and beat you off the dribble in the half court. Indiana may have to abandon the offensive glass and focus on getting back and set up on defense to get the pack-line in place and driving lanes shut down. The Hoosiers struggled with on the ball defense against UC Davis until they found a different gear in the final eight minutes. They’ll need to start in that gear against Duke, as obviously the test is much greater on Tuesday night.
(We may or may not be sharing this video merely because it highlights a 34-point destruction of Kentucky)
Knocking Down Shots
Okay, pretty obvious right? Sometimes basketball is pretty simple. Gonzaga ran out to a big lead over Duke by hitting over 70% of their first half shots. Duke isn’t particularly strong from three point range or from the free throw line. Neither is Indiana, but if IU is going to hang around in this game, guys are going to have to step up and give the Hoosiers an edge. Romeo Langford was impressive on the road at Arkansas hitting shots. So was Al Durham. They and others will need to have a big night.
Indiana is one of the top teams in the country at field goal percentage, and they’ve gotten there in the paint. Staying there will require IU to not force shots into Duke’s elite shot blockers. Look for the Hoosiers to attack off the dribble and then make the extra passes to avoid Duke’s length.
Composure on the Road
Cameron Indoor has 10,000 less seats than Arkansas’ home court. It isn’t much bigger than many Indiana high school gyms. And yet we know better. It is going to be a crazy environment, with the students right on top of the court.
Duke isn’t as good as their 34 point win over Kentucky, and isn’t as bad as their first half against Gonzaga. With a young team, they are still finding their way. But as IU fans know well, a good home court advantage can exaggerate differences, and margins can snowball quickly.
Rob Phinisee and Al Durham have been really good at taking care of the basketball, but this will be their toughest test yet. Phinisee’s 3-to-1 assist to turnover ratio is 4th among Big Ten guards.
A tough crowd and Duke’s length and great athletes will tell us a lot about the Hoosiers’ young backcourt, which may get a boost with the return of veterans Devonte Green and Zach McRoberts.
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