If Duke looks in the mirror 25 years ago, they see who Butler is today; A small school, with a young coach trying to challenge the big boys for national supremacy.
Let’s get straight to the keys to the game.
Duke Will Win If:
1. Hit Threes
The Blue Devils were 13-25 on Saturday behind the arc. If they attempt more than 15 and hit 40% or more they are the national champions.
2. Control The Boards
Duke has a huge size advantage inside with 7-footer Brian Zoubek, rugged Lance Thomas, and the Plumlee twins. The biggest difference for Duke this year in the Tournament has been using their size on the boards getting second chance shots which many times open three pointers.
3. Score Inside
If Duke can get significant scoring from their post players (20+ plus points) then only an awful shooting night from their Big 3 would keep them from winning
Butler Will Win If:
1. Play Their Tempo
Butler has not allowed a team to score over 60 in the Tournament this year. Even if Duke comes out hot hitting threes, they cannot allow themselves to be sped up and play a style they are not comfortable with.
2. Use Smaller, Quicker Lineup To Their Advantage
Gordon Hayward is the ultimate mismatch at the 4 position for Duke defensively because he can shoot outside and take you off the dribble. Either Lance Thomas or Kyle Singler will have to match up leaving the other in a mismatch. Butler has to force their opponent to adapt to them not the other way around.
3. Get To The Free Throw Line
Free throws are easy scoring opportunities against an otherwise tough Duke defense.
When teams fall behind on Duke they tend start shooting threes to get back into the game and stop taking the ball to the basket. Butler is a good free throw shooting team and must continue to attack the rim like they did Saturday night.
I think Duke has too much size on the inside and too good of shooting on the outside for Butler to continue their streak of holding teams under 60 points. That will force Butler to speed their game up and start taking ill advised shots from the outside. And if Butler cannot grab some offensive rebounds then they have to shoot an extremely high percentage, something they did not do on Saturday.
Duke 67 Butler 60
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