Reply To: Duke

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Couple stats I found interesting when comparing LU and Duke on the KenPom site. Some of these conflict with 65’s above so maybe I am interpreting some things wrong as I don’t have a subscription? But I’ll go ahead anyway.
national rank in ( )
Offensive Efficiency:
LU: 1.07 (37)
Duke: 1.11 (12)
Shooting % Offense:
LU: 44.5% (112)
Duke: 45.8% (75)
Defensive Efficiency:
LU: 0.93 (44)
Duke: 0.98 (145)
Shooting % Defense:
LU: 41.7% (90)
Duke: 43.3% (165)
Offensive Rebounding %:
LU: 28.7% (230)
Duke: 33.5% (70)
Defensive Rebounding %:
LU: 72.4% (72)
Duke: 68.6% (216)
Opponent Fouls:
LU: 18.7 (117)
Duke: 20.8 (13)

Many of these stats are a bit surprising to me, but everything has to be viewed with the knowledge that Duke played a much tougher schedule. But let’s take a look at a few anyway. Defensive efficiency stood out to me. We have been playing great D overall in our 8-0 run and the effeciency reflects that. Our ppg doesn’t always reflect because of our pace of play. Same thing with our shooting defense. And I like seeing Duke’s being average at best in both of these categories, while we are above average.

Rebounding I think we all know will be a key factor already. Clearly we do not rebound well offensively, though Duke does not rebound defensively well on their end, so maybe that will wash out pretty evenly. Meanwhile, both teams are top 75 on the other end (LU D, Duke O). Clearly we will be seeing a different frontcourt than the PL though. Looking back I was surprised to see we had more offensive rebounds in the St. Johns and Iowa State games, but we got killed vs Mich State (22-9) while we only had 20 defensive. So they had more offensive than we did defensive. The AU loss was also a disaster on the boards. For fouls, obviously their size and speed will be key for them putting us in foul trouble.

So what does this all mean? Well I feel good about our matchup when looking at our efficiencies and shooting %’s compared to theirs. Also, their numbers have suffered lately, though that may have been due to competition (VT then UNC). But maybe it was the loss of Ryan Kelly (more on his status just below). He is their 3rd leading scorer (11.8) and rebounder (5.4) and shoots 41% from 3 (1st on team). If we can limit their offensive rebounds, while picking up a couple offensive of our own, and avoid putting them in the bonus too early, I like our chances to keep it close if both teams have relatively similar shooting nights. Then who knows what can happen at the end of a game.

On Ryan Kelly, stopped by the Duke board earlier and they are starting to get worried about his status. Apparently earlier today, Wojo (asst. coach) said in a radio interview: “If we take care of business, we hope to get Ryan back”. Maybe he slipped up, but sounds like he won’t be 100%. And if he is back, he may be rusty.

I think I have gone on long enough, but I’m feeling optimistic after going through these numbers. Will need a big effort on the boards and some timely shots of course, but can’t wait.