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Duke vs. Winston-Salem State Preview and Prediction
As Hurricane Sandy beats down on the East Coast, the WSSU Rams have their own storm brewing. Thursday they will invade the unfriendly confines of Cameron Indoor Stadium. Arguably the toughest place to play in the sport, they hope to pull off a huge upset in one of the most historic stadiums in all of college basketball.
While a W for the Rams wouldn’t count, it would be a huge statement win for a program that only dreams of the Duke lifestyle. While they would never be considered among the state’s best team’s, they are better than average and will compete for the CIAA title.
The Rams will not have enough fire power to hang with Duke, but senior guard Justin Glover can play. Glover is a ju-co transfer who averaged more than 19 ppg in his freshman campaign at Davidson County Community College. Last season he led WSSU in points per game, steals per game, and three point percentage. A true guard that can drive and shoot, he will be a hand full for Quinn Cook and Tyler Thornton to handle.
While Glover may be the bright spot for WSSU, the talent drops off dramatically as you go farther down the line up. The Rams are a servicable team, but on paper they shouldn’t be in this one.
Knowing that Duke will be the better team, they will more than likely take advantage of the opportunity and continue to tinker with their lineup.
I expect Duke to start Cook, Sulaimon, Murphy, Kelly, and Plumlee.
Thornton was outplayed by Cook in the exhibition opener, and played less minutes. Tyler should play better in this one and get a few more minutes. If he doesn’t then we all know the PG competition will all but be over. I expect Cook to play the best of the two, but wouldn’t be surprised if Thornton makes his presence felt.
WSSU has no one that can guard Mason Plumlee. He is taller and more gifted than anyone the Rams can suit up. It will be interesting to see if he has another solid game while staying out of foul trouble. I expect Mason to score 18 and pull down 8 boards.
On the day Duke should win this one by 10+. WSSU will come out strong but the Crazies, and sheer talent of Duke will be more than they can handle. Don’t be surprised if Rasheed Sulaimon plays big minutes along with Alex Murphy and Amile Jefferson.
This should be a good tune up as Duke gets ready to open the season on November 9th against Georgia State.