PG: Lamont Jones (6-0, 196, So.) vs. Kyrie Irving (6-2, 180, Fr.)
Jones played poorly against Texas and Irving is one of the best point guards in the nation. It remains to be seen if Irving can play significant minutes in a high paced game, but that does not mean he is not the better point guard.
SG: Kyle Fogg (6-3, 180, Jr.) vs. Nolan Smith (6-2, 182, Sr.)
Smith is one of the best players in the country and will be vital to Duke’s success. Fogg needs to at least slow him down or the Blue Devils will be able to do what they want, which is bad news for Arizona
SF: Solomon Hill (6-6, 226, So.) vs. Kyle Singler (6-8, 230, Sr.)
This is an interesting matchup, because an aggressive Hill can pose problems for Singler. On the flip side, Singler’s strength and size can pose problems for Hill. It will be interesting to see how each coach deals with this matchup, as it could be the difference between a win and a loss.
PF: Jesse Perry (6-7, 210, Jr.) vs. Mason Plumlee (6-10, 240, So.)
Plumlee averages 7 rebounds in 25 minutes of action and Perry is going to have to be aggressive on the glass for Plumlee not to at least match those numbers against Arizona. The key with Mason is that he fouls quite a bit, having fouled out five times this season. Taking away an early season performance against Marquette, Plumlee really has not had a huge game against an above average opponent.
C: Derrick Williams (6-8, 241, So.) vs. Miles Plumlee (6-10, 245, Jr)
Duke is going to try to use Miles’ size against Williams, but he likely will not play a ton of minutes and will rather be part of a rotation. It would be very surprising if Plumlee could hang with Williams and Williams needs to be super aggressive, because Duke should have difficulty with him.
Benches: Duke has a solid, but not spectacular bench. Arizona is going to try its hardest to make Duke use it, as the Blue Devils would rather use an eight-man rotation. Ryan Kelly, Seth Curry, and Andre Dawkins are good players, but Jordin Mayes’ effort as of late should be able to counter at least the guards’ performances.
Coaches: Sean Miller vs. Mike Krzyzewski
There aren’t many coaches that would get the advantage over Miller right now, but Coach K has won 900 games for a reason.
Intangibles: Arizona is definitely going to have more fan support, but it will be interesting to see just how much of an impact it will have.
Prediction: Arizona has a legitimate chance in this game, but it will take an off night from Duke. If the Blue Devils are hitting their threes, it will be very difficult for the UA to win. In addition, Arizona’s guards need to be able to handle Duke’s pressure. It’s just hard to see the UA being able to do everything extremely well, which is what it is going to take.
Duke 82, Arizona 73