Duke has one more tune-up before it begins conference play.
Based on its recent history against Temple, this might not be a
particularly tough matchup for the reigning ACC tournament
The fifth-ranked Blue Devils look for a 10th consecutive victory
over the Owls on Wednesday night at the Wells Fargo Center in
Duke (12-1) has averaged 91.6 points and outscored its opponents
by an average margin of 25.2 during a five-game winning streak
since losing 85-63 at then-No. 2 Ohio State on Nov. 29. Though only
Colorado State and Washington have winning records among the Blue
Devils’ last five opponents, they continue to build momentum
heading into ACC play.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s team also has wins over No. 10 Michigan
State, No. 14 Kansas and No. 16 Michigan.
“We try to schedule one of the better schedules in the country,”
Krzyzewski told Duke’s official website. “For us to have the
strength of schedule we have right now not having played a
conference game I think says a lot for our team.”
Before Duke begins league action Saturday at Georgia Tech, it
looks to continue its recent dominance over Temple (9-3). The Blue
Devils have won each of the last nine games in this series by an
average of 14.9 points since losing 59-58 to the Owls at the
Spectrum on Jan. 25, 1996.
Despite that success and their recent strong play overall, Duke
players expect to be in for a challenge on a neutral court that
will be more like a home game for Temple.
“We’ve got to get better,” forward Ryan Kelly said. “This will
be a big test coming up next. Everybody is going to be giving us
their best shot, so we have to be ready to play.”
Kelly had 18 points with 12 rebounds in Duke’s 85-55 win over
Pennsylvania on Sunday. Seth Curry scored 15 while Mason Plumlee
added 10 points and 14 rebounds as the Blue Devils held a 47-29
advantage on the glass to outrebound their opponent for a fourth
“The thing about rebounding is you can’t just go sometimes,”
said Plumlee, who averages a team-leading 9.7 boards. “You get more
if you go every time. It can’t be a thing where maybe we’ll do it
and maybe we won’t. We’re going to need that for our team to be
Plumlee pulled down 13 boards and Curry had nine points with
three rebounds and three assists in the Blue Devils’ 78-61 win over
then-No. 24 Temple on Feb. 23.
Though Temple hasn’t beaten Duke in almost 16 years, the Owls
have won three straight overall and are looking to knock off a
top-10 opponent for the fourth straight season. Their recent upsets
have come against Tennessee in 2008, Villanova in 2009 and
Georgetown in 2010 – each in December.
Since losing 77-65 at Texas on Dec. 17, Temple has won its last
three games by a total of just 12 points. Khalif Wyatt hit a
go-ahead 3-pointer in the final minute and followed with two free
throws to give the Owls a 66-63 victory at Delaware on Friday.
“I hope that it’ll be a signature of this team – that they’ll
find a way to win,” coach Fran Dunphy told Temple’s official
Senior guard Ramone Moore averages a team-leading 17.4 points
but has scored more than 15 only once in his last four games. He
had 10 on 4-of-14 shooting versus Delaware, and he scored eight at
Duke last season.