Keys to victory in Saturday night's showdown between elite programs
With Saturday's highly anticipated matchup between the Syracuse Orange and Duke Blue Devils (6:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) fast approaching, we asked former coaches Seth Greenberg and Bruce Pearl to break it all down. Each provided a scouting report on the biggest keys for both sides of the ball, with Greenberg taking the role of Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim and Pearl the role of the Blue Devils' Mike Krzyzewski.
How Syracuse can beat Duke (by Seth Greenberg)
1. Execute against Duke's improved defense
Duke has improved significantly on defense. In the Blue Devils' past five games, they have allowed 10.5 fewer points per game than in their first 16 games, holding opponents to 42.4 percent shooting from the field. Duke also has forced 13.4 turnovers per game. Krzyzewski's team is putting more pressure on the ball and is more alert off the ball, improving most on its ball-screen coverage. Sophomore forward Amile Jefferson and sophomore center Marshall Plumlee are doing an excellent job of arriving with the screen and either hard-hedging or "blitzing" the ball screen. This, in essence, blows up the ball-screen action.
To read Seth Greenberg and Bruce Pearl's full breakdown of Duke-Syracuse, sign up for Insider today.
Bruce PearlESPN College Basketball analyst
• Former head coach at Southern Indiana, Milwaukee and Tennessee
MORE MEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL HEADLINES
- NCAA files intent to appeal O'Bannon decision
- UConn agrees to play Arizona, Ohio State
- Beavers' Baker in ICU; required defibrillator
- Lawsuit: Tulsa failed to protect woman from player
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
College Hoops on Insider
John Gasaway offers his "Old Man Rankings" - a list of the best completely upperclassman-led teams with no significant freshmen.