Monday, November 20, 2006

Air Force Preview

Just a note to start, all the Duke tempo-free stats (team stats, team stats by player, and player stats) are updated through the UNCG game. Next update will follow Tuesday's game.

Air Force has been very, very good so far this year, with the exception of a 1 point squeaker over Long Beach St. Their shooting has been lights out - 62% on 2s, 44% on 3s, for a 64.5% efg. One sign that this may not continue - the FT% is only 69.4. They're a perimeter-oriented team that shares the ball very well - nearly 45% of all shots are 3s, and 66% of all made baskets are assisted. Air Force holds onto the ball well (under 20% turnover rate), but doesn't crash the offensive glass (28%). Their close game against Long Beach St. was the result of poorer shooting (only 8 of 23 on 3s) and high turnovers (19 in a 73 possession game).

Duke's hallmarks so far in this young season have been field goal defense and forcing turnovers. Teams are shooting 27% on 3s and a remarkably low 31% on 2s. Duke is also blocking nearly 1 in every 5 opponent shots, and forcing turnovers on almost 30% of opponent possessions. It's safe to say that Duke is likely more athletic on the perimeter than any team Air Force has played so far. Air Force runs the updated Princeton offense, a system Duke has struggled against in recent years (games with NC St. are always close, Georgetown loss last year). It should be a good test for Duke's perimeter defense - they have to stay disciplined and stay active, trying to force turnovers and really get in the face of Air Force's shooters. Don't be surprised if Nelson, Henderson, McClure, and Thomas are all on the floor at the same time quite a bit.

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