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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thoughts on Duke vs Minnesota

- Duke came away with a really impressive win against Minnesota, beating them 89-71. Their starting five is scary good and they mesh well together. Each of them know their roles and there is plenty of experience between them.

Plumlee has taken over as one of the senior leaders. He has played with a great motor so far this season and is finally looking the way a Duke senior should. He killed Minnesota and Elliott Elliason in the first half, registering a double-double. In the process, he got Elliason sent to the bench - where he should have been anyway.

- Each of their starters scored in double figures and they showed great balance, but Seth Curry was the guy they went to when they needed a bucket. He was a magician out there today, showing a better array of moves than in the past to get off his jumper. He finished with 25 points and couldn't miss from the field.

- Sulaimon was their lowest scoring member of the starting 5 with 11 points. He was also their best at getting to the hoop and also arguably their best passer. He gives Duke the perimeter defender they need. I'm a big fan.

- Minnesota has a nice starting lineup as well, but Tubby needs to whittle down his rotation. For one, I dont think they have the inside depth to ever play Rodney Williams at SF. He played a few minutes there today and I didnt get it. Hes a better player at the PF and Minnesota has more depth on their wings.

Elliason looked terrible, but I liked the minutes Maurice Walker gave them. His conditioning leaves a lot to be desired, but if I were Tubby I'd try to stick close to a Williams/Mbakwe/Walker rotation inside.

- For their guards, he needs to trim the fat in the same way. Or maybe it was just a case where one guy had a bad game and the other had a good game. Either way, Julian Welsh looked awful while Maverick Ahanmisi did a nice job scoring off the bench. Based on their career numbers, it could just be a case of one game. We'll see.

Anyway, there is no doubting that the Hollins duo should be getting the majority of the minutes. I've finally decided that Austin is looks like the better pro. Neither had a great game but the talent is there. Tough matchup against Duke's guards.

- Rodney Williams may be the quickest and most explosive leaper in the country with all due respect to Doug Anderson of Detroit. He had at least 3 emphatic dunks at the rim and chased down two guys in transition for block shots (one ended up being a goaltending call, but still impressive). His motor was certainly running today. He also hit a spot up 3-pt attempt and easily beat a Duke defender to the rim on drives from the perimeter.

He still doesnt have a good feel on offense and probably never will, but if he hits the jumper with consistency, that may be enough for him to have a solid NBA career. His defense is obviously his calling card.

- Mbakwe is still coming off the bench and only played 18 minutes. Not sure he is in good enough shape yet to play a full game. I am sure that he has yet to get back some of that explosiveness that he had prior to his injuries. Also, Plumlee appeared to tower over him.

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