Posted: 11/9/2011 1:12:43 PM
What’s up fellas. Long time lurker of the forums, just have never posted. Curious as to what you guys think about Belmont/Duke. See Nropp’s line of Duke -10, which I think is pretty close, would like a couple more points preferably and could see that when it comes out just because of the “Duke” name. I think a play on Belmont might be in order, maybe more so in the 1st half.
As we know Belmont is coming off that great 30-5 campaign last year, where they return 9 of the top 11 from their rotation last year. Their top 3 scorers return with Clark, Hedgepeth and Saunders, where Duke is relatively young and inexperienced with the departure of their top 3 scorers from last year in Smith, Singler and Irving. I know the Plumlees along with Curry and Dawkins are back, but I think it may take some time for this team to find its leader and identity. Running into an experienced team the 1st game of the season may not be the best thing for that.
Duke won both of their preseason games against Bellarmine 87-62, and Shaw 80-66. In each of these games Duke struggled on the defensive end early. Against Bellarmine, last year’s D-II national champion and a team that returns 4 starters, Duke raced out to a 22-7 lead only to become sluggish on D and allow Bellarmine to cut that lead to 32-31 late in the 1st Half. In their second game against Shaw, Duke struggled in the 1st half again getting beat regularly on the perimeter by dribble penetration that led to easy layups for Shaw’s inside big man. Shaw shot it at a 50 % clip, going 15 for 30 from the field in the 1st half, before Duke tightened up their D in the 2nd.
I think Belmont’s 4 out 1 in offense may cause some trouble for Duke. Although they don’t necessarily rely on dribble penetration, only Clark is a real penetrator/play maker, they move the ball quickly and cut decisively throughout the paint. The paint is where either Hedgepeth or Saunders will be holding court. The two were the 2nd and 3rd leading scorers respectively last year behind Clark. The 4 perimeter players will pass and cut nonstop and all can knock down the 3 ball. Last year Belmont ranked 3rd in the nation at 9.3 3’s made a game. The 4 out 1 in can also cause some matchup problems when Duke tries to have any combination of the three Plumlee brothers and Kelly on the floor at any given time. I’m aware they’re all pretty athletic, but they’ll be pulled away from the glass, which in turn could hinder their rebounding especially with the long boards coming from Belmont’s 3 point barrage.