Preview & Prediction: By Raphielle Johnson
Davidson (10-2) takes on yet another challenge in their non-conference schedule, this time heading to Durham to take on #2 Duke (12-1) on Wednesday night. The buzz regarding the Wildcats has been all about junior guard Stephen Curry and rightfully so; he’s one of the best players in the country. But if Bob McKillop’s team is to pull off what would be a monumental upset, other contributors will have to step up. Three players come to mind: swingman Will Archambault and forwards Andrew Lovedale and Steve Rossiter. Archambault scored twelve in the Wildcats’ easy win over Samford on Saturday, but his bigger game came in their close win at College of Charleston. Just fourteen points, but he was 4-7 from behind the arc and it seemed that just when the Cougars were ready to take control of the game he’d knock down a triple.
Lovedale is the team’s second-leading scorer at just under thirteen points per game, and he’s pretty close to averaging a double-double with 9.8 boards per contest. The rebounding numbers (along with staying out of foul trouble) will be key for both Lovedale and Rossiter, two players the Wildcats can’t afford to be without for long stretches. Rebounding, despite the shooting ability of both teams, could decide this game. Duke is third nationally in rebound margin and has gained many extra possessions this season due to their hunger on the offensive glass (ask Purdue, a team that blew out Davidson last month). If Davidson can keep that number close to even they’ll be in the game, but it’ll be near impossible to win this one should they be dominated on the boards.
Duke has won their last four since losing at Michigan, and the improved play of Jon Scheyer and Gerald Henderson has been one reason why. Scheyer wasn’t playing poorly; it was simply a matter of his outside shot not falling at a consistent rate. He’s one of those players who doesn’t rely solely on points to determine their impact on the game, helping out on the defensive end as well as a distributor. Henderson is the resident slasher, with the ability to get to the rim just about anytime he wants, which sets up perimeter shots for Scheyer, Kyle Singler and others.
Point guard Nolan Smith played well on Sunday in the Blue Devils’ win over Virginia Tech despite injuring his knee in the previous game, and center Brian Zoubek has increased his production in recent weeks. With the number of versatile players at head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s disposal, the contributions of Zoubek make this team that much tougher to beat. They only use the seven-footer for about fifteen minutes per game, but if he can contribute like he did against Loyola (MD) (fifteen points, ten rebounds) Duke has a post presence that opponents have to account for. Davidson has a chance to win this game, especially if Curry can catch fire, but it’s hard to think they have enough options to hang with Duke on this night.
Winner: Duke Margin: 12-16 pts.
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About Raphielle Johnson
College sports has always been a source of excitement for Raphielle Johnson, be it through watching, writing, or taking a shot in the dark and walking onto a college football team just to live the life (Arizona Football, 2001). Raphielle is the assistant editor, providing his own work in addition to helping out with the site operations. When not writing for CHN, you can usually find him in front of a television set watching one of many pay-per-view sports packages that he owns. He can be followed at twitter.com/raphiellej.
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