Previewing Miami of Ohio

Julian Mavunga

After a resounding victory on Sunday night in the opener, the Blue Devils return to action on Tuesday night against Miami of Ohio. The game will be nationally televised on ESPNU beginning at 7:30 PM EST.

Miami (Oh) (1-0) vs. Duke (1-0)
Durham, N.C. -- Cameron Indoor Stadium
TV: ESPNU
MEET THE RED HAWKS

Head Coach: Charlie Coles (14th Season)
Record at Miami: 238-186
Record v. Duke: 0-0

Projected Starters:
? 4 Julian Mavunga (6-8, 232, Jr.) – 14.0 ppg, 11.0 rpg, 5.0 apg
3 Allen Roberts (6-3, 211, So.) – 20.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg
15 Orlando Williams (6-4, 170, So.) – 9.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg
20 Nick Winbush (6-7, 225, Sr.) – 7.0 ppg, 11.0 rpg
2 Quinten Rollins (6-0, 176, Fr.) – 2.0 ppg, 4.0 apg

Top Reserves:
24 Chris McHenry (5-11, 185, Jr.) – 1.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg
25 Jon Harris (6-8, 185, Fr.) – 0.0 ppg, 0.0 rpg
55 Vince Legarza (6-9, 245, So.) - 4.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg
1 Josh Sewell (6-5, 207, Fr.) - 3.0 ppg


Series History: This will be the first meeting between the two programs. Duke has a 6-1 all-time record against teams currently competing in the Mid-American Conference.

Miami Roster: Click Here
Miami Statistics: Click Here
Miami Schedule: Click Here


PRE-GAME NOTES:

Season To Date: The Red Hawks opened their season on a high note, defeating Towson 60-57 behind a combined 34 points from Julian Mavunga and Allen Roberts. In a back and forth contest, the Redhawks got a three point play from Roberts with just under five minutes to play to extend their lead to 56-51 and would not relinquish the upper hand the rest of the way.

Following the game Coach Coles pointed to his opponent's zone defense as the catalyst for his team's poor shooting performance. For the game the Red Hawks shot just 41.3 percent (19-of-46) from the field and 33.3 percent (9-of-27) from the perimeter. Fortunately for Miami, their defense was able to limit Towson to just 31 percent from the field and 11.8 percent from the perimeter.

"I think they were going to make us shoot well to beat them," said Coles. "Their zone created a tempo, and that tempo kind of made both of us slow and whenever you have that kind of game you really don't shoot well."

A Battle Of New Floor Generals: Both teams will be starting freshman point guards when the ball is tipped in Cameron. In his first game Duke star Kyrie Irving didn't disappoint with 17 points, nine assists, and just one turnover. On Miami's side, freshman Quinten Rollins earned the team's starting gig in the season opening exhibition against Ohio Northern. Rollins followed up the exhibition season by starting against Towson though he scored just two points, but did hand out four assists against a single turnover 29 minutes of action. Ross is the first freshman starter for the Red Hawk program since 2003-2004.

Experienced Otherwise: Even with a freshman lead guard running the show, the Red Hawks return a lot of experience for 2010-2011. In all, eight letter winners return including four players who started more than half the games a season ago. In addition the Red Hawks welcome redshirt freshman center Drew McGhee who sat out last season. JUCO transfer Chris McHenry also joined the team along with three freshmen including Ross. Aside from the freshman point guard, classmate Josh Sewell is a player Coles expects to factor heavily into the rotation as the season progresses. At 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds he took home all-state honors and second place in the voting for Mr. Basketball in the state of Kentucky.

Who To Watch Out For: The best returnee is junior forward Julian Mavunga who earned All-Conference honors as a sophomore. He's also the team's leading returning scorer (10.0 ppg) and rebounder (6.3 rpg) and was named to the preseason All-Conference team as voted on by the MAC media members. Despite being the tallest player in the Miami starting lineup, the 6-foot-8 Mavunga is not a traditional post player. Much like Duke senior Kyle Singler, Mavunga prefers to face up and score from the 12 feet or more feet away. With Miami's lack of size and interior play, Mavunga is forced to play in the paint on defense and did well in the opener grabbing 11 boards (all on the defensive glass) while also hitting for 14 points despite attempting just six field goal attempts - half of which were three pointers.

Stat To Note: Perhaps it was the defensive pressure and scheme of Towson, or perhaps it was Miami's lack of production from the two true centers on the roster - McGhee and Vince Legarza (4 points, 3 rebounds, in 12 combined minutes), but the offensive rebounding was non-existent for the Red Hawks in the opener. Miami lost the battle of the boards by a 39-36 margin, but the Tiger zone limited Miami to just one shot attempt on most possessions as only four of the 36 rebounds came on the offensive glass. Meanwhile the Tigers were able to gather 13 offensive boards resulting in 12 more shot attempts from the field. A repeat performance in Cameron Indoor against a dangerous Duke attack could spell disaster for the Red Hawks.

Streaking In Cameron: Speaking of streaks that will continue with a Blue Devil victory, here's a sampling from Duke Sports Information's pre-game notes:

  • Duke has won 23 consecutive games in November, dating back to a 73-62 loss to Marquette in the championship game of the 2006 CBE Classic. The Blue Devils are 103-10 all-time in the month of November under Coach K.
  • The Blue Devils are 6-1 all-time against Mid-American Conference opponents. Duke's only loss to the league came at the end of the 1996-1997 season when the Blue Devils dropped a 75-60 decision to Eastern Michigan in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Indianapolis.
  • Duke has won 11 straight games overall and 20 straight at Cameron Indoor Stadium dating back to last season
  • Overally the Blue Devils have won 49 of the previous 51 games at Cameron Indoor Stadium and 78 straight games against non-conference opponents at home, the longest current streak in the NCAA. Additionally the Blue Devils have won 43 straight home games against un-ranked opponents.


WHAT TO WATCH FOR

The Red Hawks wanted to play a much faster pace against Towson, but the Tigers' zone defense prevented Miami from establishing the desired tempo. Most likely the game against Duke will be an overcorrection of sorts as the Blue Devils want to get out and run. For Duke there is a definite size advantage and this game may afford the Blue Devil post players a chance to improve on their season opening performances. Of course without a lot of size on the opponent's roster, the Blue Devils may be able to play as many as four guards at once. With only a few more games before heading off to play Marquette and possibly No. 3 Kansas State, the Blue Devils will have some points of emphasis to concentrate on after the outcome of the contest is no longer in doubt. Look for Duke to jump out to an early lead and cruise from there. If the perimeter shots are falling it could get really ugly for Miami.

Prediction:
Duke - 102
Miami (Ohio) - 67

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