The Houston vs Duke Matchup

The Duke Houston Breakdown

Jared McCain ; 6’3 5star Freshmen mostly Catch and Shoot - Curerntly Hot
Jeremy Roach ; 6’2 Senior PG, really efficient scoring stats
Tyrese Proctor ; 6’5 Soph Shifty PG, likes to shoot
M. Mitchell, Jr. ; 6’9 Soph. Athletic Wing
K. Filipowski ; 7ft Soph with legit guard and post up skills
Sean Stewart ; 6’9 PF freshmen 5star- doesn’t shoot
Ryan Young ; 6’10 senior, good low post scorer, not athletic at all
T.J. Power ; 6’9 5star freshmen Forward with some guard skills
Caleb Foster ; 5star freshmen 6’5 pg but recently injured for the year

Duke Notes

  • This is surprisingly the first official matchup against Duke, despite both of our long history (we did play a secret scrimmage against them two years ago).

  • Duke’s season was impacted by the loss of 5-star freshman Caleb Foster to a season-ending injury, he played the majority of the season.

  • Duke opts for a short rotation, with all starting players logging over 35 minutes per game, especially after Foster’s injury. Despite having some talent on the bench, their coaching staff doesn’t use these players extensively.

  • Really young- The starting lineup primarily consists of underclassmen, with four out of five starters being sophomores or younger, and the majority of their bench players who do see game time are freshmen.

  • Duke has amazing scoring efficiency, ranking among the top in the nation for overall shooting percentages, also maintaining a low turnover rate.

  • Random stat- Duke is among the teams that have their shots blocked the most in the nation.

  • The toughest defenses Duke has faced this season are Virginia, Michigan State, and UNC. Duke found challenges against Michigan State and UNC, those 2 arent that great, and Duke had trouble with both. Virginia’s defense is strong, but its lackluster offense didn’t put pressure on Duke to score in their 1 game this year (UVA had less than 20pts at half). Duke has yet to encounter a defense as formidable as ours this season.

  • Duke’s defensive are just above average. Considering the team’s height and athleticism, especially before Foster’s injury, these numbers are not as impressive with context.

  • Duke’s offensive strategy of 5 out spreads the floor, which may complicate our trapping efforts but also diminishes their opportunities for offensive rebounds.

  • There’s a prevailing perception that Duke is soft.

Insights from the secret scrimmage 2 yrs ago:

We secured a victory with a score of 61-50.

Their starting lineup for the scrimmage consisted of Jeremy Roach, Tyrese Proctor, Mark Mitchell, Kyle Filipowski, and Ryan Young. (all key player from their current team, basically their current rotation minus McCain)

It’s important to take this with a grain of salt, this was either their first college game or first game playing for Duke for most of them. Both teams have evolved significantly since then, even though much of the personnel remains the same.

Jwan dominated the rebounding game, & we won the rebounding battle (despite J’wan playing center for us, and them playing 2 centers at once, Flip and Young). Filipowski did manage to secure some offensive rebounds. Duke struggled to get looks in the post, resulting in a reliance on three-point shots, which they frequently missed. Proctor mentioned post game about feeling that they had open shots but just couldn’t convert them. Francis incurred 4 fouls in just 6 minutes, Roach fouled out, and Filipowski accumulated 4 fouls in 22 minutes.

Game Prediction and Analysis:

Duke tends to rely heavily on the starting five players, with a potential sixth in Young, depending on the game. They’ll aim to minimize physicality to avoid foul trouble, leaning more towards finesse than physicality. I anticipate that we will manage to avoid significant foul trouble like vs A&M and I also believe we’ll secure numerous offensive rebounds based on our team culture. Based on the season trend we’re likely to start the game by having Jwan target Filipowski in post-up situations if we can get the switch.

While none of Duke’s guards are notably weak defenders, they aren’t exceptionally strong either and often depend on backside support. This means there are opportunities to score against them in one-on-one situations. Duke is a highly efficient offensive team, thriving on finding and taking efficient shots, with multiple point guards on the floor to facilitate it. However, our defense specializes in denying clean shots, and Duke does not habitually take risky shots off the dribble (Which might rattle them). Filipowski is a capable passer, but tends to pre-decide his moves (when he wants to score he will try to force it up regardless, he doesn’t adapt), which I believe makes him vulnerable to our traps.

The key to our victory lies in making Duke uncomfortable. With their multiple point guards, they can find open shots if allowed time, and Filipowski can effectively pass out of double teams if he’s not pressured. By unsettling them, we put a young team under high pressure, making it seem as though they’re facing an 7 defenders on the court. Their lack of risky off the dribble 3pt shooting and our strategy of doubling on two-point attempts means we can significantly disrupt their offense.

Prediction- I like our chances to win and see multiple paths to victory. Dominating them defensively (wouldn’t shock anyone), getting a lot of offensive rebounds (wouldn’t shock anyone), unsettling their offense early as they try6 to adjust (wouldn’t shock anyone), or having our players like Sharp or LJ explode offensively (wouldn’t shock anyone). Nor would Jwan scoring heavily on Filipowski (wouldn’t shock anyone). this is easier said than done, we have to play them tight on the 3pt line and out tough them all game

Their combination of inexperience, a young coaching staff, and unfamiliarity of not regularly playing our defensive style is expected to significantly challenge Them.

I wouldn’t say we’re a lock to win. They are an elite passing team with a dominant low post scorer who can pass effectively. If they manage to achieve great ball movement and clean looks, they’re more than capable of lighting it up from 3, or Flip owning the post and getting our guys in foul trouble.

However, my prediction is that we win in a surprisingly comfortable game—just a prediction that could be very wrong.


Great analysis. Thank you


Thank you!

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Imagine if McCain had chosen Houston, oh my goodness those stats.


Adding some additional points I didn’t include initially to keep the post from getting too long :

  1. The upcoming game promises to be a fascinating matchup battle, with both teams likely aiming to maximize the playing time of their starting lineups.

Key matchups to watch include :

  • Shead vs. Roach- heart and soul senior showdown
  • Cryer vs. Proctor- clash of the 2nd shooting “point guards”
  • Sharp vs. McCain- :speaking_head: “SHOOTER”, both coming off 30-point games.
  • J’wan vs. Mitchell - toughness battle down low
  • Francis vs Filipowski - defense vs offense

(I actually think cryer will be in McCain as he can run around with him offballl, and Sharp on proctor because he is taller and can contest better against a 6’5 shooter)

  1. A frequent commentary topic is our team’s “tendency to commit fouls”, with some ESPN talking heads saying “if Duke were to attempt 45 free throws, they’d likely win”. My counterargument to that is “If Virginia had UConn’s offense, they’d be unbeatable too.” A&M’s high free throw count wasn’t pure coincidence; their offense has excelled at drawing fouls all season. Also our clash, 2 teams that value physicality and rebounding was bound to be intense physically. However, this doesn’t apply to Duke. Their guards tend to shoot over you rather than drawing contact for fouls. For instance, Wade Taylor alone has made as many free throws as all of Duke’s guards combined, underscoring their different offensive approach (this doesn’t even account for Radford who is also elite at getting to the line). More context: Proctor has around 35 free throws despite 30 minutes a gametime, contrasts with our own Ramon, who has about 18, despite barely playing. Duke isn’t getting 45fts

  2. We’re hopeful for the home court advantage, which should play a significant role in the game’s dynamic. Momentum and Calls


I mean, we are the number 1 defense in the nation so you could technically say this about anyone who hasn’t faced us


Good analysis. Makes me more confident in our matchup. They are heating up but they also have faced Vermont and James Madison. Their good wins are basically Clemson, MSU, and Baylor all either neutral or at home. You could add @ NCST and home vs Virginia as well, those don’t move the needle for me a ton though (I know NCST is on a run right now but they were mediocre most of the season). Duke reminds me a bit of Kansas this year without the early season resume, just not convinced by them defensively but yeah, if they get hot shooting they could win for sure but I’d put the money on us


Having read this, I feel better. Duke is a big name, big time opponent. But they are not 10 feet tall.

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Beat Dook


Good analysis.

Have watched about five Duke games this yr. The teams that will give us trouble are teams who move the ball quickly, make the extra pass, and by doing so will get some open looks. Getting open looks is one thing, knocking them down is another. Both of these (good quick passing + shooting the 3 at a high clip) are strengths of Duke.

Will be interesting to see how Duke looks in the 2nd half. Playing against us is tough (not just physically but mentally). To me the key is going to be the shooting of both Sharp and LJ. I think they’re both going to get a lot of really good looks and if they’re both knocking them down at a good clip we’re going to be really tough to beat (as I mentioned in a previous thread Sharp is shooting .42% from 3 over the past nine gms and LJ is shooting .40% from 3 over the past 12 gms). So both of them have been knocking the 3 down at a high rate over the last few weeks.


We left gummy worms instead of gummy bears on his hotel pillow….that was the buster.

It’s all about the details.


Yeah, I don’t know why the talking heads point to Torvik and KenPom but refuse to pull up TeamRankings to explain the FT numbers for that ATM game. They are being stupid with recency bias on how ATM beats us if they hit their FTs and how Duke throttled a physical JMU squad.

We’re now seen as the clear weak 1 seed.

We are 330th in the nation in fouls per possession and were playing against the #1 offensive rebounding team and 8th in the nation drawing fouls. ATM was a horrible matchup for us and we still managed to win.

The talking heads are pointing to the way the refs are officiating March madness and that is why we are in trouble as a 1 without Tugler for depth. I agree there were some phantom calls. We committed 28 when in actuality we were around 22-23. We won’t see that again in regional play with the 3 opponents left. Duke, NC St, and Marquette are nowhere near elite in drawing fouls and offensive rebounding.

Duke is 225th in the nation in drawing fouls and 129th in offensive rebounding, so this matchup works in our favor and style of play.

For Duke to beat us, it would have to be by the at KU script where Flip passes well out of the low post traps and Duke hits their 3s.


Great analysis, Pesik. One question, wouldn’t you expect Duke to watch film and say, “hey that worked”, and do the same thing to us that the Aggies did? They have a week to prepare, I feel like they can really work on that game plan and execute it well if they wanted to. Then we’d really be in trouble.


To an extent, but it takes a certain mentality to be downhill and aggressive to the hole like we saw with Radford. Additionally, the 22 offensive rebounds A&M had provided extra possessions which led to more fouls. Duke can’t really game plan for that.


I’m sure they will try, but that is kind of like a team saying UH beat this or that team by playing really good defense so we will play really good defense against them, or a team saying all we have to do is rebound better. Hard to change what you do fundamentally that got you this far.


Love the analysis.

Only thing I would add …. But you did kinda touched on it is coaching.

Give Sampson and crew a “week”to prepare and the other team is really in trouble.


Duke isn’t capable of doing what A&M does because their guards are not as quick as the A&M guards (taking it to the hole with their quickness getting by our guards) nor is Duke a really good offensive rebounding team like A&M. The A&M guards quickness (which got our guards in foul trouble–and yes there were a lot of horrible calls) and their offensive rebounding is what kept them in the game. Duke can’t replicate this because they don’t have the skill set to do these two things.


We need to make these young sawwffft kids forget their star ratings and the name on the front of their jersey. I’ll take the ‘use overwhelming force’ route where we stun them early with our defensive energy and several thousand rabid Coog fans in the building screaming and they never get comfortable.

However, there is a real possibility we get dazed a bit by the Royal Blue Blood Duke jerseys at the start of the game and they drop some threes and 3 minutes into the game we are down 11-2 or something and take our first timeout. We need to be on guard to prevent open 3s at the beginning of the game AT ALL COST to keep them from believing they will play THEIR game on us. Make them go inside for 2 points or shoot low percentage contested outside shots. We can’t let them get comfortable and go on an early scoring run.

Lastly though, I do have more confidence in our team offensively and from the FT line than I’ve had in a good while. If Duke starts running with the score I expect us to follow if that is how the game goes. I don’t expect a game like they just put on JMU where they blow it open early and we never are within striking distance.


maybe its a personnel thing but i’m shocked it took so long for an opponent to do the “barge uncontrollably into the paint” strat against us, especially when pretty much every team in the american used to do that to start the second half to get themselves in the bonus by the under 12 for years lol


Good stuff, appreciate it @pesik

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