How will Duke and Oregon defend each other? It’s anyone’s guess until tonight’s tip.
“They’re a unique team because they don’t necessarily have that traditional low-post presence,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said of the Blue Devils’ No. 1 seed opponent. “One of their better three-point shooters is their top shot blocker, and I’m not sure that anybody has that. So they’re unique in that regard.”
Krzyzewski is referring to Chris Boucher, Oregon’s 6-foot-10, 210-pound forward. Boucher is the closest thing to a “5” the Ducks have. Will senior center Marshall Plumlee be chasing him out on the perimeter? Or will Duke rely on a 1-3-1 zone that has been a bit hit or miss all year?
Dillon Brooks, Oregon’s 6-foot-7, 225-pound wing, is typically the matchup opponents struggle with the most. It remains to be seen whether Duke junior guard Matt Jones’s ankle will allow him to stay with him, meaning guards Grayson Allen or maybe Brandon Ingram will have to take their turn.
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Speaking of Ingram, the Ducks, like all Duke opponents, will have to do what they can with that tough matchup. Brooks? Boucher, somehow?
“I’m not sure how we’re going to do that,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said of the Ingram matchup. “He’s a unique player because of his size and his ability to go inside and out. He’s very versatile. So he’s a tough match-up for everybody, 18, 19 points a game.”
Both Krzyzewski and Altman are thought highly of in terms of coaching acumen. It will be fascinating to track all their moves and countermoves Thursday night.
No. 1 Oregon vs. No. 4 Duke
When: 10:07 p.m. Thursday
Where: Anaheim, Calif.