Duke looks to outrun Orange
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim hasn’t won 940 games by letting one injury derail his team.
But the Naismith Hall of Fame coach is lining up against another of the game’s great, all-time wins leader Mike Krzyzewski of Duke, in an ACC showdown at the Carrier Dome on Saturday night (6:30 p.m., ESPN).
The No. 2 Orange’s depth, because of a season-ending injury to starting forward DaJuan Coleman earlier this month, could be a factor in who wins or loses this battle of ACC powers.
In Wednesday night’s 67-57 win at Wake Forest, Boeheim used only eight players. One of them, 6-8 freshman forward Tyler Robertson, played only five minutes.
Starter C.J. Fair and Tyler Ennis, two of the nation’s top players, played all 40 minutes. Forward Jerami Grant played 35 minutes.
Afterward, Boeheim had this to say about his team’s depth situation.
“We are playing a short bench right now,” Boeheim said. “I thought we got tired leg-wise today. I think that’s just part of the business.”
No. 17 Duke (17-4, 6-2), on the other hand, has expanded its bench during its current five-game winning streak. Krzyzewski has routinely subbed five players for five players, using 10 and sometimes 11 players in game.
Now, Boeheim and Krzyzewski are good friends, having coached together on Team USA’s gold medal-winning teams at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. But the sometimes irascible Boeheim wasn’t about to say Duke has a leg up in this area.
“As long as they can only put five out there, we’re fine,” Boeheim said.
The Blue Devils, though, said earlier Wednesday that they certainly intend to take advantage of their depth to help win the game.
“We are going to stick with our same game plan we’ve been using the last few games and that’s just constant pressure, make them work and try to get into their legs so that late in the game they are feeling kind of fatigued,” Duke sophomore guard Rasheed Sulaimon said.
Added sophomore forward Rodney Hood, “We just have got to be strong with the ball, move the ball and make them work hard on defense. On the other end, when they have the ball, pressure them and try to get into their legs. Maybe the zone will get a little bit lazier than normal.”