Observations from Duke-Minnesota

lkeeley@newsobserver.comNovember 22, 2012 

— With Duke playing three games in three days, it remains to be seen how Seth Curry’s lingering right shin injury will be managed. Duke coach Mike Krzyewski certainly didn’t hold him back in the opening round, as Curry played 33 minutes and led all scorers with 25 points, a new season-high. His availability tomorrow will depend on how his body responds.

“We’ll see how he feels,” Krzyzewski said. “Obviously he played great. So far, rebounding appears to be the most glaring weakness for an otherwise solid Duke team. The Blue Devils haven’t been able to dominate any opponent on the boards, and Minnesota had a 35-32 edge Thursday. The Gophers also had 16 offensive rebounds, which they converted into 17 second-chance points.

Mason Plumlee led Duke with 17 rebounds. That was more than double the next highest total, six from Ryan Kelly.

“We’d like to rebound better defensively,” Krzyewski said. “Our defense was good, and whenever we did defensive rebounding right away, it was outstanding.” Speaking of defense, Duke’s ball pressure is significantly better than it was last year. The Blue Devils recorded 12 steals, a season-high. Cook led the team with five, and backup guard Tyler Thornton had four.

After the game, Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith had unsolicited high praise for Mason Plumlee.

"I’m very impressed with Mason Plumlee, he said. "He’s the real deal."

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