Previewing Temple

Scootie Randall

Previewing the Owls and Blue Devils who will tip off on Saturday in New Jersey

The Blue Devils will travel to New Jersey to face the Temple Owls on Saturday afternoon after taking a week off between games. Temple, which defeated Duke a season ago, enters Saturday's game with a perfect 6-0 record. Duke's early season schedule and performance has been well documented. On Saturday the Blue Devils will face another tough test when they travel to New Jersey to face Temple. The Owls enter the contest undefeated in six games, with the most impressive, 'name' victory coming on Wednesday night against Villanova.

Temple and Duke have faced one common opponent this year with each beating the Delaware Blue Hens at home. The Blue Devils defeated Delaware by 38 last Saturday, while the Owls bested UD by five on November 25th.

Last season, in Philadelphia, Temple defeated No. 3 Duke 78-73.

Quotable:

"Any time you have a chance to play Duke, it's a tremendous challenge, but also a terrific opportunity for your team. To play against, arguably, the finest program in the country over the last 25 years is just great." — Temple coach Fran Dunphy .

"I think [last season's win] was great for our [Temple] community. And it gives these guys confidence that they can play at the highest level. Now, can they do it more than once." - Coach Dunphy

"I think everybody looks forward to playing against Duke just 'cause you know everybody's gonna be watching. Because everybody watches Duke. You want to play in games like that, on national TV. You just live in the moment, I guess." - senior guard Khalif Wyatt

PREGAME NOTES

Series Notes: This will be the 29th time the two programs have met since 1931. Duke leads the all-time series by an 18-10 margin, which includes an 11-2 mark under Mike Krzyzewski. The Blue Devils have won 15 of the last 19 contests, but saw a nine game win streak snapped last season. In neutral site games, Duke owns a perfect 3-0 record. Against teams currently playing in the Atlantic 10, the Blue Devils have an 83-29 record, including a 37-3 mark under Coach K.

The main weapon: A season ago the Blue Devils had no answer for point guard Khalif Wyatt who scored a game high 22 points to lead the Owls to the upset victory. Fast forward a season and Wyatt is once again producing at a high level after being selected as a preseason all-conference performer. The 6-foot-4 senior leads the team in scoring (15.2) and assists (4.8), and makes just as much of an impact on the defensive end where he was Temple's leader in steals in each of the past two seasons. Wyatt's ball-hawking ability will be a point of emphasis as Duke scouts the Owls. Last season he recorded a career-best five swipes against the Blue Devils.

On the inside: A season ago, and into this year, Duke has had trouble rebounding the basketball against top opponents. Last time these two teams met, Temple won the battle of the boards by three (32-29). That total included a combined 28 points and 13 rebounds from front court players Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson and Anthony Lee. Both players return this year with Hollis-Jefferson averaging just under nine points and six boards per game and Lee averaging 11.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. The performance against Duke last season (11 points, seven rebounds, and three blocks) remains the best all-around performance of Lee's early college career. Duke will have the height advantage for the second straight season with both Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly measuring out at over 6'10, but the 6'9 Lee and 6'6 Hollis-Jefferson have proven up to the challenge once, and will be looking to do more of the same on Saturday.

Off the bench, the Owls will bring graduate student Jake O'Brien, a 6'9 forward who leads the team in three point shooting percentage (46 percent). O'Brien previously played three seasons at Boston University where he scored over 100 points and grabbed nearly 450 rebounds. He averaged double figures in scoring in each season, earning America East Rookie of the Year honors in 2008-09, and third team all-conference accolades in '09-10 when he set career highs for scoring (13.8 ppg.) and rebounding (6.4 rpg.) marks. As a junior in 2010-11, he was averaging 11.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game through 14 contests before a foot injury sidelined him for the remainder of the season.

A new face: A season ago Duke didn't see Scootie Randall because the 6-foot-6 senior wing player was out of action with a knee injury. Randall, now a senior, has returned in a big way and is leading his team in both scoring and rebounds (averaging 16.7 and 7.2). Randall is playing 36 minutes per game and has hit double-figures in five of six contests including a 31 points out-burst in the season opener.

Stat to note: Temple will have three potential chances to extend a notable streak this season. The Owls enter the 2012-2013 season having defeated a top 10 team in each of the last four seasons. All while unranked. Duke is the first opponent ranked in the top 10 that Temple will get a shot at. After the game against the Blue Devils, the Owls will have a shot at No. 4 Syracuse on December 22nd, and then against No. 9 Kansas on January 6th.

NUMBERS GAME
courtesy of Duke Sports Information

  • Duke is 8-0 on the year and looking to open the season with nine straight wins for the 15th time under Mike Krzyzewski.
  • The Blue Devils are ranked No. 2 in both the AP Poll and the USA Today Coaches Poll. Duke is 112-16 all-time when ranked No. 2 in the country. The Blue Devils have won six straight when holding the second spot in the AP Poll. Duke has been ranked in the top 10 of the poll 98 consecutive weeks. The last time Duke was not ranked in the top 10 was Nov. 19, 2007.
  • The Blue Devils have won 44 of their last 49 non- conference contests. Duke is 76-9 in non-league games since the start of the 2008-09 season.
  • Duke's starting lineup has accounted for 88.4 percent of the team's total scoring this season with 557 of Duke's 630 points through eight games. The starters have accounted for 34 of Duke's 36 double-figures scoring games on the year.
  • Mason Plumlee has shot 50.0 percent or better from the field in each of the past 14 games dating back to last season. Plumlee is 80-of-122 (.656) from the field during that span, including 53-of-81 (.654) this season. He is averaging 16.6 points per game with seven double-doubles in that span.
  • Freshman Rasheed Sulaimon has scored in double figures in seven straight games and ranks 18th in the ACC (second among freshmen) at 12.9 ppg. He is also averaging 4.3 rebounds per game, which is the highest average of any ACC player under 6-foot-5.
  • Quinn Cook is averaging 11.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game since joining the starting lineup six games ago. He has three double-figure scoring games and five games with five or more assists in that span.

Projected Starters:
32 Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson (6-6, 215, Sr.) - 8.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg
03 Anthony Lee (6-9, 230, So.) - 11.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg
33 Scootie Randall (6-6, 225, Sr.) - 16.7 ppg, 7.2 rpg
01 Khalif Wyatt (6-4, 210, Sr.) - 15.2 ppg, 4.8 apg
02 Will Cummings (6-2, 175, So.) - 5.2 ppg, 2.0 apg

Top Reserves
22 Jake O'Brien (6-9, 225, R-Sr.) - 6.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg
11 T.J. Dileo (6-3, 210, R-Sr.) - 4.5 ppg, 2.3 apg
25 Quenton DeCosey (6-5, 180, Fr.) - 3.2 ppg

CUTigers.com Recommended Stories