Tomorrow, Duke plays their second and final exhibition game against the reigning DII champions Drury University. Looking through Drury’s roster, there is nobody who would qualify as a “true” big man. In fact, their tallest players are Mael Amenyedzi and Ian Carter who are both only 6 ft 6 in. This opens the option for Duke to be able to continually work on their smaller lineups that include Jabari Parker and Amile Jefferson at the 4 and 5 spots respectively. Although this does seem like the logical and more practical thing that Duke will do, they must put Marshall Plumlee in so that he will get more playing time. I would expect to see Plumlee play more in this game than he did against Bowie State.
Size will be the same problem for Drury in almost every position, as they are an incredibly undersized team. Even if you put Amenyedzi or Carter at the 4 spot, they would be undersized power forwards. If you put them at the 3 spot, they would still have a tough time because of the height of Hood, Murphy, and Ojeleye. They stack up relatively well at the guard spot with many players who are the same height or a bit taller than Quinn Cook and Tyler Thornton. At the shooting guard, I will be interested to see who they play just because generally that position requires a height of about 6 ft. 4 in. like Rasheed Sulaimon. They only have two men in Drake Patterson (6 ft 4 in) and DeShaun Stark (6 ft 5 in) who would be able to stay with the Blue Devils.
I would expect to see Duke try to play a fast paced game to wear out Drury. It sounds odd to state, but Duke needs to focus on the post game. I do believe they will and there is a reason that I am making this a point of emphasis. Marshall Plumlee is still raw as a redshirt sophomore and needs the playing time in these types of games so that he can have something to fall back on if he struggles in later games. Amile Jefferson will also be able to work on his post game. No matter the height of the players, the post-game needs to be a focal point against Drury. My reasoning is that after this final exhibition game, Duke opens up against Davidson who has junior forward Ali Mackay who is 6 ft. 11 in. Davidson is a big team height wise, so establishing Marshall Plumlee will be huge. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Plumlee see significant minutes in this one, as Duke then plays a huge game early on against the Kansas Jayhawks. Kansas also has size in 7 footers Joel Embiid, 6-10 Landen Lucas, and 6-10 Hunter Mickelson. I expect Duke to win big against Drury, but working on the post-game is a necessary component I would be on the look out for.