Georgia tech basketball behind enemy lines duke blue devils

Georgia Tech will try to upset the No.2 ranked Duke Blue Devils on Saturday afternoon at Cameron Indoor Stadium. In preparation of Saturday’s matinee matchup, we caught up with our friends over at Ball Durham and specifically, the great Kevin Connelly to check in on the Blue Devils and what Georgia Tech fans should know for Saturday’s game. Q: We know all the stars that Duke has on their team but who are some role players or “non-stars” that the Blue Devils have that Tech fans should be aware of heading into Saturday’s game?

A: Depending if Tre Jones plays or not, Duke could run four 1st Round picks in this upcoming NBA Draft in its starting lineup on Saturday, but it has been well documented the success of RJ Barrett, Zion Williamson, Cam Reddish, and Jones, but the last member of that starting five, Marques Bolden, who has made the biggest strides this season.

Bolden came into Duke two years ago as a Top-20 recruit and was hampered by injury in his first season and then was buried behind Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter Jr. last season, but he has been very effective this season. Bolden won’t put up the giant scoring numbers because of the firepower Duke has on offense, but at 5.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game and a vastly improved defense on the permitter, he can be someone who can make a great impact on the floor if he’s not accounted for.

A: Because Duke is 16-2 with a loss two-point loss to Gonzaga and a loss to Syracuse without Tre Jones or Cam Reddish, people don’t truly get into what the Blue Devils truly struggle with and that is 3-point shooting. This is not a team that should try and bury you from deep, this is a team that has to be aggressive and drive the ball to the basket because there isn’t a player or a team that can stop RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson when they are headed towards the rim. However, when Duke gets lazy on offense, they will settle for 3-pointers. On paper, the best 3-point shooter on the team is Alex O’Connell at 37.2% but Cam Reddish its the teams best shooter, but has been hot and cold all season, currently sitting as a 34.4% 3-point shooter Q: How would you describe the Blue Devils defensive efforts this year?

Because Duke is so lethal and dominate on offense, no one really talks about the Blue Devils’ defense and they are one of the best defensive teams in the country. Tre Jones is the best on ball defender in the country but even without him, the exception being when he got hurt against Syracuse, Duke has stifled its opponents. Marques Bolden averages 2.3 blocks, Zion Williamson averages 1.8 block, Jack White is at 1.3 blocks and Javin DeLaurier is at 1.1 blocks per game. On the other side, Tre Jones averages 2.1 steals per game, Zion with 2.0, and Cam Reddish with 1.9 steals per game. As a team, Duke averages eight blocks and ten steals per game so while everyone is talking about the offense, the defense is just as good. Q: What would you say are the keys to beating Duke?

To beat this Duke team at Cameron Indoor Stadium, a lot of things have to go your way. First, you must be on fire from 3-point range, then you will need Duke to be ice cold from everywhere; from the field, the 3-point line, and the free throw line. (You might have luck with two of those are Duke is not good from the 3-point line or from the free throw line. You will also need the Blue Devils to get into some foul trouble, specifically Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett. Lastly, you’ll need the basketball gods to be on your side.