Duke Preview: A Glimmer of Hope

Brandon Reed shoots on Ryan Kelly, who thankfully is out for today's game. - Danny Karnik/GT Athletics

Some might say that the hardcourt Jackets don't have a chance tonight in Cameron Indoor. Fortunately, GTNate thinks otherwise. Here's why.

Nate was on the radio last night, and will be every week from now on! Listen to last night's show here and tune in every Wednesday at 6 to 91.1FM in Atlanta or at wrek.org/listen!

Duke is shooting 48% from the field. Scoring almost 80 points per game. Pulling down 70% of their shots from the charity stripe. And that crowd! The "Cameron Crazies," or more appropriately "the funnily dressed rich kids." How will a young, raw team such as yours ever be able to survive in such an environment?

Thats what all of everyone is saying about tomorrow night's game. But we here at From the Rumble Seat think differently. We have the benefit of insanity to help us out. Today we will expose the Dookies for what they are, and that thing is: a really good basketball team. But (clearly, thanks to NCSU) not an unbeatable one. We'll start our path of reasoning at the most obvious place, that being Duke's last loss. NCSU shut Duke down in several ways that no one had. First of all, they didn't have Ryan Kelly to deal with, and that helped a whole lot. Without his dynamic, score-from-anywhere game to worry about, NC State could focus on several things. First of all, they could seal off the outside and try to make the dookies drive/pass the ball in. I have a feeling we could/should replicate this strategy, given Daniel Miller's length and his presence on the defensive glass. They also forced Dook to take hurry-up shots in transition, which is something we've needed to improve defensively and will need to do to win this game. Getting defensive boards is also very Important against Duke. Mason Plumlee averages 11 rebounds per game (though only 3 of those are offensive) and they get a lot of second chance points. Duke's rebounding is particularly poor for a school of their caliber (ranked 140th in the nation with 36/game), so that gives us some breathing room, and is another reason I think we can beat them. When I spoke with coach Gregory about Duke's rebound earlier in the week, however, he said he was focused on GT's rebounding abilities. In particular, the offensive glass is going to be important for us, as we'll have to get more than one offensive board in a half to beat Duke (or Virginia Tech, apparently).

On our end of the court, we'll have to do several things to win this game. Obviously, we have to make our shots, which we haven't been doing as of late. This is 100% a mental thing, and I think this is the game where this team is over the hump. I have only one reason for thinking that: Mfon Udofia. His face, his manner, his attitude in the press room after the VaTech game told everyone in there that he and the team are sick of losing. The mental blockades torn down, we can start focusing on getting the ball inside. Establishing Miller will be important, both so he can grad offensive rebounds and so he can score. Udofia and the other guards will also have to be aggressive, something Gregory has talked about all season. Again, the reason I think they can do this is because they're so damn mad after that Virginia Tech game. Mentally, that was the football equivalent of losing to MTSU in that it got the players angry. Holsey will be back, too, after an off period. It's a good thing, too, because we're going to need all the points we can get against the dookies here tonight. The gamethread will be a barrel full of monkeys in any case, so remember to join us right here at 8PM for all the fun!

What do you think, Yellow Jacket faithful? Am I that insane, or do we have a chance? Tell us below!

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