Duke has a roster of well-drilled freshmen, so the No. 8 Blue Devils should be in good shape in the talent department.
The task for the Blue Devils is putting it all together with three games across four days in the Phil Knight Legacy tournament. Finding different ways to be successful is first-year coach Jon Scheyer’s charge.
“We’re in the process of learning there are different ways to win,” Scheyer said. “There are different ways you need to win.”
The tournament opener for Duke (4-1) comes Thursday afternoon against Oregon State in Portland, Ore.
Since losing by four points to undefeated Kansas last week in Indianapolis, the Blue Devils won twice at home. In Monday night’s 74-57 decision against Bellarmine, more than half of their points came from the 14 successful 3-point shots.
“It’s not going to be the same strategy on Thursday against Oregon State,” Scheyer said.
There are some areas that the Blue Devils would like to retain. They had a season-low eight turnovers in the Bellarmine game.
One thing that has been a common theme is offense from freshman forward Kyle Filipowski, who has led the Blue Devils in scoring for four consecutive games. Duke has yet have a player reach 20 points in a game this season.
“We’ve really played a lot of different types of teams, and I think that’s prepared us for going to Portland, just being prepared for anything thrown at us,” Filipowski said. “We can adapt and stick to what we know best.”
This will be the first time Oregon State (3-1) ventures away from home and yet the Beavers could enjoy a home-crowd advantage with this in-state game. They’ve already matched last year’s win total from the disastrous 3-28 season.
Coach Wayne Tinkle’s team could trumpet a turnaround with success in this tourney field.
“We’re really excited about this young group,” Tinkle said. “We need games. We need experience.”
The Beavers hadn’t lost until Saturday’s 79-66 setback to Portland State.
Duke has been consistent on defense. That’s something the Blue Devils want to become a calling card.
“Sticking to the game plan defensively,” Filipowski said. “We’re going to get tested again with those games in Portland.”
Duke has held an 84-38 advantage in offensive rebounds on its opponents through five games.
The Beavers have scored more than 70 points just once against its three Division I foes. Glenn Taylor Jr. is the top scorer at 16.3 points per game.
For Duke, it shapes up as a good time to head across the country.
“It’s a great gauge just to see where we’re at right now,” Scheyer said. “I think it’s really important just to take it a game at a time. We know it’s going to be three high-level games, no matter what the outcome is. I’m excited and I just want to go for it.”
Duke and Oregon State will be matched against either Florida or Xavier for Friday’s game in either the semifinal or consolation bracket.
–Field Level Media