Duke basketball: 3 keys to a Blue Devil victory in Syracuse

Duke basketball forward AJ Griffin (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball forward AJ Griffin (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Key to a Duke basketball win at Syracuse: Limit Buddy Boeheim

Coach Jim Boeheim isn’t the only member of the Boeheim lineage who’s a threat on the team. Coach Boeheim’s sons, Jimmy and Buddy, have grown into stars of their own making for the Syracuse Orange over the past couple of seasons. Both are known for their shot-creating abilities and their great leadership qualities.

Buddy Boeheim ranks second in the ACC in points per game at 19.0, with most of his buckets coming from beyond the perimeter. He leads the ACC in 3-point attempts at 225; he has made 33.3 percent (45th in the ACC). So here’s the point: he shoots a lot.

His talent in creating shots and open space has been excruciating for defenses. He’s like Steph Curry in the nature of quickness in his shot release. Even if Buddy finds a little bit of room between himself and defenders, he can execute and is never fearful of taking shots.

At some points throughout the season, Buddy Boeheim has struggled to catch much rhythm in his shot. In Syracuse’s first meeting with Duke, he had trouble finding his stroke, shooting just 10 percent on 10 tries from three.

The Blue Devils shouldn’t take that measure for granted in the Saturday meeting, though, because once he’s on, Buddy is one of the toughest players to silence in the ACC. Even when he is off, Buddy Boeheim continues to have the confidence from the arc. He never shies away from it.

If the perimeter defenders of Duke can continue their impressive 3-point pressure, then they should find some execution in limiting Buddy Boeheim. But like I said earlier, he really needs only a foot or two of room to take his 3-pointers.

He’s a confident player, and the Blue Devils need to scheme a way to limit his shot taking. In doing this, Buddy Boeheim should struggle to find momentum on offense.