Ohio State and Duke face off, yet again, in the B1G/ACC Challenge. Jen Nevius, Aerys Sports’ resident Duke expert at Dancing Blue Devils gives us a look at what Buckeye fans can expect from this year’s match-up:
For the second straight season, Duke and Ohio State will meet in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Last
season, OSU beat Duke, 85-63 in Columbus with a HUGE first half. This season, the two teams will face
off on Wednesday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Cameron is one of the most hallowed college
basketball arenas in the country and OSU will get a once in a lifetime chance to play there. The Cameron
Crazies will be close and expect them to be loud all night.
Heading into the re-match, Duke is ranked second in the country (up from fifth) after winning the Battle
4 Atlantis title on Saturday night with a win over then-number two Louisville.
This year’s Duke team is a bit different than last year’s. They’re a little more balanced and rely heavily on
their starting five, especially their three seniors. The Blue Devils bench scored a total of eight points in
three games in the Bahamas. All five starters are averaging double-figures in scoring through six games.
Mason Plumlee returned to Duke instead of heading to the NBA to be a lottery pick. So far in his senior
season, the middle Plumlee brother is living up to the hype that surrounded him when he arrived on
campus four years ago. He is averaging a double-double: 19.7 points and ten rebounds. And he has
gotten much better at the free throw line (80%).
Despite a leg injury that has limited him in practice, guard Seth Curry is averaging 17 points over 31
minutes a game. He is Duke’s best free throw shooter (29-of-32), so OSU will need to look elsewhere
late in games for someone to foul.
Ryan Kelly gives Duke more size next to Plumlee. He has struggled with his shot so far in his senior
season (43.6%), but is still averaging 11.8 points in 31.5 minutes. He is even struggling at the free throw
line (19-of-28), where he used to be close to automatic. But he hasn’t let his defense suffer, as he has 14
blocks on the season and averages 5.2 rebounds a game.
The newest member to Duke and their starting five is freshman Rasheed Sulaimon, who was a
McDonald’s All-American last season. He spends a good amount of time on offense outside of the three
point arc, as close to half of his shots are from the outside (30-of-63). However, Sulaimon is shooting
40% from out there.
I expect Wednesday night’s game to be a lot more exciting than last year’s. That’s what’s supposed to
happen when two top five teams play each other.
Thanks, Jen, for the breakdown! Tip-off is at 9:30 PM ET