Duke basketball keys to avoiding season sweep against Louisville

Duke basketball guard Jordan Goldwire (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Duke basketball guard Jordan Goldwire (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /
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Duke basketball
Duke basketball freshman center Mark Williams (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

Duke basketball No. 2 Key to Victory – Guard the Frontcourt Without Fouling

One of the biggest issues Matthew Hurt has encountered in his stellar sophomore season at Duke is his inability to guard without fouling.

Hurt has fouled out of four ACC games for Duke, all losses, two coming in both losses to Louisville.

Freshman center Mark Williams has been a tremendous addition to the Blue Devils rotation after finally getting extended minutes in February, but he’s much more advanced as a weakside help defender in the paint, rather than an on-ball post-up defender.

Louisville will not have senior forward Malik Williams, who reaggravated a foot injury in the second matchup against Duke and was later ruled out for 4-6 weeks by head coach Chris Mack.

Williams was limited to just 19 minutes against the Blue Devils and struggled from the field (2-of-8) but did have five points and five rebounds.

Jae’Lyn Withers was a thorn in the side of the Blue Devils in late February with 16 points and nine rebounds on 6-of-10 shooting. Withers fouled out with 2:15 left in overtime, but Duke could not take advantage, trailing by six following the exit of the freshman forward.

Georgia Tech forward Moses Wright, the eventual ACC Player of the Year, posted 29 points and 14 rebounds on Duke immediately after the loss to Louisville, and the North Carolina frontcourt had a field day against the Blue Devils in the regular-season finale.

Louisville is going to be very physical with Duke, both in the frontcourt and the backcourt, but the Blue Devils have to defend without fouling.

Look for Mike Krzyzewski to potentially play Henry Coleman and Patrick Tape to try and help Williams and Hurt stay out of foul trouble.