Friday, March 21, 2008

Duke West Virginia Second Round Preview

If Thursday was not eventful enough for you then I hope you didn't miss Friday's upsets and buzzer beaters. Two SEC teams were knocked out on Thursday while two ACC teams are hoping to join Duke and Miami in the second round tonight.

West Region
Washington DC 2:10PM
2. Duke vs 7. West Virginia
First Round Review
The Blue Devils needed a late bucket from Gerald Henderson to fend off the pesky Belmont Bruins 71-70 on Thursday night. Duke was down with under 30 secs to go until Henderson drove coast to coast for a layup and the lead. A half court heave by Belmont fell to the left and Duke survived (I saw a ML with Belmont at +3500). West Virginia kept Arizona at arms length all night despite Joe Alexander being held to 14 points. The Mountaineers had four scorers with 14 or more and shot 51% from the field in beating the Wildcats.

West Virginia Scouting Report
The Mountaineers are led by F Joe Alexander who has scored 22 or more 5 of his last 7 games. West Virginia likes to shoot the 3 and was deadly on Thursday night hitting 11 of 19. West Virginia is not a very big team and usually goes just 8 deep. West Virginia needs to be shooting the ball to have a good chance to win because they are not a slashing or pound inside offense.

What Duke has to do to win:
The Blue Devils need to play better man to man defense especially on the perimeter. Belmont took Duke off the dribble too many times and got to the hoop with relative ease. Duke needs to be hitting its threes and get the early first roundhouse punch. Duke plays much better when it gets a lead early and can control the tempo.

Prediction:
Listening to Coach K's post game press conference he said this team did not overlook Belmont. If that is really true then Duke could be looking at a very tough game against West Virginia. The Mountaineers like to shoot from outside just like Belmont but will play much more half court offense. I think Duke is too reliant on the 3 point shot and is fading down the stretch. It is only the second round and I am already picking against my bracket! Isn't the Tournament great?
Prediction: West Virginia

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