Georgia St.-Duke Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 08, 2012
Mike Krzyzewski wants his latest Duke team to resemble some of its predecessors. He wants the eighth-ranked Blue Devils to play aggressive defense. He wants toughness, togetherness and passion at that end of the floor. Some of that was missing last year when their opponents had the ball - and among other things, that inability to consistently stop people helped lead to one of the biggest upsets in NCAA tournament history. So, at the dawn of his 33rd season at Duke - where, through the years, key defensive series were heralded with an emphatic slap of the floor - the former Army captain with the dedication to tough, man-to-man defense wants his players to regain that edge. "The history of our program has been based on really sound, good defense, and team defense. I don't think we had that (last season)," said Krzyzewski, whose team opens at home Friday night against Georgia State. "I think we beat teams offensively last year, and when you don't have the defense, you lose out on certain toughness and togetherness that's only found, really, by doing stuff on the defensive end of the court." No question, the Blue Devils flopped at the end of last season by losing three of their final four to finish 27-7. None was more surprising than the 75-70 loss to 15th-seeded Lehigh in their NCAA tournament opener in which C.J. McCollum regularly dissected them to the point where he made himself a preseason AP All-America pick at their expense. "Last year, that wasn't my moment. That's not what I want to be remembered for," big man Mason Plumlee said, explaining his decision to return for his senior year. "I wanted another moment here at Duke, another moment with (Krzyzewski), my teammates, and a better one." The Blue Devils have two other seniors in the rotation - forward Ryan Kelly and guard Seth Curry - but this team probably will rise and fall depending on how Plumlee performs. "It's his time to be the key guy," Krzyzewski said. "Ryan and Seth are also key guys, but Mason is the key guy. I love when a guy wants that. He owns it." The return of Plumlee, who averaged 11 points and a team-best nine rebounds last season, meant the Blue Devils only had to deal with two player losses - older brother Miles Plumlee graduated, and Austin Rivers became Duke's second straight guard to go one-and-done. If there is to be a third, it'll have to be Rasheed Sulaimon, the only freshman guard on the roster. The 6-foot-4 scorer, who joins Amile Jefferson as 2012 McDonald's All-Americans on the team, averaged 27 points as a high school senior. "We have a lot of guys on our team that can shoot," Sulaimon said. "All the guys really can shoot on the perimeter. But that's what's going to make our team special this year, is that we not only have guys who can shoot but we have guys who can create off the dribble as well." The Blue Devils also are looking for 6-8 redshirt freshman Alex Murphy to fill the same role that Kyle Singler perfected from 2007-11 - drawing the opponent's big men away from the basket by knocking down 3-pointers over them - and hope the 6-11 Kelly can continue to develop his inside-out game. He missed the postseason last year with a sprained right foot, and his absence was clearly felt. "For a guy my size, I can shoot the ball pretty well, but I haven't completely shown my ability to score around the bucket with my back to the basket," Kelly said. "With Mason being such a great passer - he can play really inside and out, too - that dynamic will be really important for our team and something we're going to have to take advantage of.'' That across-the-board size makes the Blue Devils a tough team to match up against on offense. They hope it makes them tougher to score against, too. "I think we're going to be better defensively," Krzyzewski said. "We're not going to be a pressing team, but I think in the half court, if we can limit second shots, keep people out of the paint and not give up open 3s - with our length, we should be able to get to people and kind of bother their shots. We want to be an outstanding half-court defensive team." Looking to match a school record with their 95th straight non-conference home victory, the Blue Devils face Georgia State for the first time. The Panthers are led by junior guard Devonta White, who averaged a team-leading 12.9 points for last season's squad that finished 22-12 and reached the second round of CollegeInsider.com tournament.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Yankees close to trading Aroldis Chapman

WATCH: Dontrelle Willis' great reaction to Giancarlo Stanton home run

Reports: Sale cut up throwback uniforms with knife in protest

WNBA withdraws fines for teams that protested gun violence

Ezekiel Elliott: ‘Evil NEVER prevails’

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Orioles, Padres reportedly talking trades of Melvin Upton, Cashner

Le’Veon Bell reportedly missed ‘several’ drug tests

Report: Islanders looking at locations to build new arena

Top five takeaways from this year's NBA Summer League

NCAA rules that hanging out with Drake is violation

WATCH: Justin Bieber arm wrestle Sixers center Joel Embiid

Report: Royals didn't invite Johnny Cueto to White House visit

Solo not taking any chances with Zika virus while in Rio

Rays reportedly demanding Profar in pitching deal with Rangers

Facebook doesn’t know the difference between Liverpool and Arsenal

Report: Teams asked about Wade Davis, asking price very high

Aussie Rules Football player accidentally kicks, breaks own leg

Former Arkansas football assistant trolls Bobby Petrino on social media

Could Clayton Kershaw's injury hinder trade talks?

Spurs strike a new deal with NBA stalwart Manu Ginobli

George makes return to Team USA following leg injury

Why the Clippers shouldn't break up their big three

White Sox pay homage to Bo Jackson’s bat-breaking skills with bobblehead

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

WATCH: NBA jersey sponsors that need to happen

Expansion draft playing heavy hand in the current NHL offseason

WATCH: Pop & Timmy have a guys' night out

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker