Concerning Duke basketball stat: Rebounding margin
The Campbell Camels have only one player taller than 6-foot-8 in 6-foot-10, 240-pound center Milos Stajcic, who played only seven minutes against the Duke Blue Devils.
Yet despite the visitors’ height deficiency on Saturday night, they outrebounded the stronger and all-around bigger home team. On Friday night, an extremely short Army squad held its own with Duke on the glass. And in Tuesday’s season opener, the Blue Devils allowed Kentucky bruiser Oscar Tshiebwe to rack up 20 boards, including a jarring dozen on the offensive end.
In total, Duke has lost the rebounding battle this season, 112-108. Worth noting here, the opposing big men will only be bigger and better as the season progresses.
Speaking further to this unanticipated struggle, Mike Krzyzewski resorted to small-ball lineups for most of the game against Campbell, notably in the second half. Sure, the move led to the desired outcome. But it was an overreaction to a lesser opponent’s forte when Duke could instead be the aggressor by capitalizing on what should be its bread and butter: interior domination.
One possible explanation for the rebounding shortage is that most of the Blue Devil guards and wings crash too far into the paint as so many missed outside shots bounce hard off the rim and over their heads. At the same time, one or two men in the backcourt are too anxious to get back on the other end, leaving an absence of Duke rebounders between 10 and 25 feet from the hoop.
The bulk of the blame, though, must fall on the shoulders of the roster’s post players, which leads us to this next concerning stat.