The Blue Devils passed their first test as the nation’s top team in an 88-47 win over Cornell, but they don’t have any time to celebrate.
Just 24 hours after their most lopsided win of the season, No. 1 Duke (10-0) looks for its 100th consecutive nonconference home win against Elon (6-4) tonight at 7 p.m. in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Here are the three keys to tonight’s game:
Can the Phoenix score enough to hang with the Blue Devils?
It’s pretty tough to stop Duke on the offensive end, and Elon will have to come out firing to keep up. The Phoenix rank just 202nd nationwide in offensive efficiency, though, scoring 96.7 points per 100 possessions. The team relies heavily on the inside-out tandem of Jack Isenbarger and Lucas Troutman. The latter, a 6-foot-10 junior, is the focal point of the offense, averaging 14.6 points per game on 47.7-percent shooting. Isenbarger, a 6-foot-2 junior, leads the team in scoring with 14.7 points per game, but is shooting at just a 35.4-percent clip from the floor this season.
Both players will need to have big games, and get some help from their teammates, in order to keep it close on the road.
Who will win the turnover battle?
Both Duke and Elon rank in the top 20 nationwide in protecting the ball on offense, but each also ranks outside of the top 100 in forcing turnovers. The Big Red’s season-high 26 turnovers indicate the Blue Devils may be improving in that area, but tonight will be a much tougher test.
Quinn Cook and Tyler Thornton combined for 17 assists and just one turnover against Cornell—including a career-high 12 assists for Cook. Expect them to continue their efficient play against an Elon backcourt that struggles to get takeaways on defense.
Where does Marshall fit in?
Marshall Plumlee played just two minutes in long-awaited Duke debut last night, a coming out party cut short by discomfort caused by the orthotic in his left shoe that was created to protect the foot he fractured two months ago. With no other true post options on the roster, Mason Plumlee has averaged nearly 33 minutes per game in his younger brother’s absence. Head coach Mike Krzyzewski called Marshall the team’s sixth man before his injury, so expect the redshirt freshman’s minutes to steadily increase over the next few weeks.
Check back here for analysis during the game and follow @dukebasketball on Twitter for live updates.