Santa Clara Looks To Upset Top-Ranked Duke: Game Preview


March 5, 2011; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Santa Clara Broncos forward Marc Trasolini (15) dribbles the ball against the Loyola Marymount Lions during the first half in the second round of the 2011 WCC tournament at Orleans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Santa Clara Broncos travel to Durham, North Carolina in a bid to upset the nation’s top-ranked Duke Blue Devils in Cameron Indoor Stadium today.

The Broncos are no slouch themselves, sporting an 11 – 2 record entering this nationally televised game on ESPN2.  However, it is the undefeated Duke Blue Devils (11 – 0) who are once again featuring a contender for the NCAA championship.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski’s squad is led by Mason Plumlee’s 19.3 points per game, and his astonishing field goal percentage of 64.1%.  Plumlee averages a double and also leads Duke in rebounding with 11.5 rebounds per game.

Duke’s scoring load is shared with four other teammates averaging double figures:  Seth Curry (15.7 ppg), Rasheed Sulaimon (12.7 ppg), Ryan Kelly (12.6 ppg), and Quin Cook (10.4 ppg).

On the boards, Kelly, Cook, and Sulaimon contribute averages of 4.8, 3.9, and 3.5 rebounds per game, respectively.  Cook dishes out 6.0 assists per game, followed by backup Tyler Thornton’s 3.3 apg.

Duke averages 80.4 ppg, while allowing opponents 61.5 ppg.  The Blue Devils shoot 48.3% from the field, 41.0% behind the 3-point line, and 73.6% from the charity stripe.  Duke out-rebounds opponents by a 35.7 to 32.7 margin.

Santa Clara is led by sharpshooter Kevin Foster’s 18.2 ppg, followed by Marc Trasolini (16.3 ppg), Evan Roquemore (13.8 ppg), and Raymond Cowels III (8.5 ppg).  Trasolini leads the Broncos in rebounding average (7.8 rpg), followed by reserve Yannick Atanga’s 4.7 rpg.  Roquemore dishes out 6.5 assists per game, followed by Foster with 4.6 apg.

Santa Clara averages 78.8 ppg, and gives up 63.9 ppg.  The Broncos shoot 45.1% from the field, 36.5% behind the 3-point arc, and 72.3% from the free throw line.  Santa Clara out-rebounds opponents by a margin of 35.7 to 34.5.

Both teams like to run after a missed bucket, and neither team shies away from shooting the three-pointer.  Duke is aggressive on the offensive boards, so the key for SCU to pull an upset is to block out and keep Plumlee off the boards, hoping he gets into foul trouble.  Duke has a balanced offensive attack, which creates match up dilemmas for the Broncos’ defense. They will have to pick their poison as to who they will double-team.

Santa Clara will also have to knock down their perimeter jump shots, loosening up Duke’s defense so Trasolini can maneuver in the post for easy buckets.  It will be a tall order as Duke may not only be the best team in the nation, Cameron Indoor Stadium may also be one of the toughest venues to pull a road victory.

Tip-off is 9:00 AM Pacific time. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN2.