With all of the frustration that five disappointing weeks of football can bring the game against our arch-rival Blue Devils has seemingly snuck up on us. But here we are and in 48 hours the twenty-first meeting between Kentucky and Duke will be in the history books. Kentucky leads the all-time series 11-9 but Duke has won seven of the last eight. That trend will reverse on Tuesday night. Let’s cap Sundy night with a qucik check in on the Dukies’ season thus far:
Prepare to be Annoyed by Grayson Allen
If you, like me, boycotted the national championship game last season then there is a good chance you’ve never heard of Grayson Allen. Allen was a Mcdonalds All-American alongside our own Tyler Ulis and for most of the 2014-15 season was an afterthought alongside Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow, and Tyus Jones. But in the National Title game Allen saved the day as he rattled off 8 straight points to get the Blue Devils back into the game. Now he’s back and ready to be your favorite player you love to hate.
In two games this season Allen is averaging 27 points and is ranked by KenPom as the second most efficient player in college basketball. Tyler Ulis is going to change that.
They’re Built a Whole Lot Like Us.
When you look at the rosters Duke and Kentucky are two very similar teams. We’ve already mentioned Grayson Allen, the sophomore point guard who returns with an expanded role much like our own Tyler Ulis. At shooting guard the Blue Devils split time between Matt Jones and Luke Kennard. Jones has a higher output through the first two games. At the three is one-time Kentucky target, freshman Brandon Ingram. Ingram has the tools to be superstar by the end of the year and his size will be a nice test for our own superstar, Jamal Murray. At the four is senior Amile Jefferson. He’s a long and lean forward who is averaging a double-double like Marcus Lee. Jefferson, however, is not a defensive presence like Lee. At center Duke has yet another Plumlee leftover from the bulk order they picked up at Costco around the turn of the century. While he doesn’t have the skillset of Skal, Marshall Pumlee does have a 25+ pound weight advantage and will be the first big lug our young star has faced.
For the bench Kentucky has the advantage. Alex Poythress, Derek Willis, and Charles Matthews have more experience than Derryck Thornton and Luke Kennard. Duke doesn’t go much deeper than that while Kentucky could throw in Isaac Humphries to bang around on the Plumlee. Both teams are built to score a lot of points which should make for a fun time in the old town this Tuesday.