After a very tough loss at the Kansas Jayhawks, Duke heads home to Cameron Indoor Stadium to face the Florida Atlantic Owls. Both teams come into the matchup at a 1-1 record, but obviously with two different circumstances. Especially when Duke plays smaller schools like FAU, we don’t know their players or their rotation. After their first two games, Florida Atlantic looked like two completely different teams and here is a breakdown of their roster:
In the first matchup, FAU faced off against Ave Maria Gyrenes and defeated them handily, 86-51. Their starting lineup consisted of Dragan Sekelja, (7 foot senior), Kelvin Penn, (6-6 junior), Jackson Trapp, (6-4 sophomore), Pablo Bertone (6-4 senior from Argentina), and D’Andre Johnson (a 6-foot freshman). Jackson Trapp was the one who provided the most scoring with 23 points on only 9-20 shooting. There were 4 other Owls in double figures, including 43 points coming off the bench from big man in Javier Lacunza, and guards Richard Morrow and Marquan Botley. Both Penn and Sekelja in this game were virtually see-through, neither recording a point with Penn only playing 15 minutes and fouling out. Otherwise, this one was a complete team effort.
In their next game against St. Francis, Florida Atlantic just couldn’t find the bottom of the net. They were led by Sekelja who had 21 points and 12 rebounds. He also got to the free throw line, hitting 9-13 from the charity stripe. Unlike their previous game, Sekelja was the only Owl to reach double figures and their shooting was dismal, only 18-52 (34.6% from the field). This was a defensive minded game taken late by St. Francis. The fact of the matter was that Florida Atlantic just didn’t shoot the ball well and that was their downfall in this one.
Against Duke, I would expect Duke to take this one easily. They match up in every position expect for the center, but I would still expect Amile Jefferson to be able to hold down the fort, especially with his great play against Kansas. As was seen in the loss to St. Francis, a very good Duke defense will put a lot of pressure on the ball and if shots don’t fall early for the Owls, I will expect Duke to run away with this one. Cook would guard the point and I expect him to have a big game because he simply didn’t show up against Kansas. Remember last year when Cook had a bad game shooting wise, going 0-11 from the field, the next game he came out against Clemson and had a career high 27 points to go along with 5 assists, 5 rebounds, and 4 steals. Jabari Parker will most likely match up against Kelvin Penn, FAU’s power forward at 6-6.
Parker had a huge game against Kansas and there is no reason to expect he won’t again. He shot the 3 well and did absolutely everything possible to keep Duke in it. Otherwise, Duke will have a size advantage with Hood guarding either Trapp or Bertone who are both 6-4. I would also expect to see Coach K start Rasheed Sulaimon who was very good down the stretch, consistently knocking down shots and making good cuts to the basket. The bad taste of the Kansas loss will quickly leave the mouths of all Duke fans, as they will have learned from the loss and worked on their weaknesses. I believe Duke wins this one in easy fashion.