The Duke Blue Devils could have a sneaky test in store when the ACC juggernaut hosts the CAA’s Hofstra Pride on Tuesday night.
TV Schedule: Tuesday, December 12th, 7:00 pm ET, ESPN2
Arena: Cameroon Indoor Stadium in Durham, North Carolina
The Hofstra Pride rarely get the college basketball lineup, despite being a consistent upper echelon team int he Colonial Athletic Association. That will change Tuesday night when the program visits the Duke Blue Devils for the first time.
Duke and Hofstra have the same record entering the contest, but with very different reputations. The Blue Devils are one of the most feared programs in the nation, despite an uneven start to the campaign. In some circles, the Pride aren’t even a top dog in their own conference.
But this is one of the biggest stages Hofstra has been on for some time and best believe alum and head coach Speedy Claxton will have his guys ready.
The player most prepared for the big stage is former Sacred Heart guard Tyler Thomas. The senior has become one of the best scorers in all of college basketball. He’s averaging 23.6 points per game, which ranks first in the CAA and fourth in the country, as of Monday morning. Thomas isn’t afraid to put the team on his back, a big reason the Pride are 6-3.
Does Hofstra have enough after Thomas to make this a contest? Hard to say. Jaquan Carlos is a great distributor and can pop a shot from three, but doesn’t have the lightning scoring bug Thomas has. The Pride also don’t have a lot of great big men, with Darlinstone Dubar likely handling the brunt of the work inside.
While Hofstra had a five-game winning streak snapped entering this game, Duke snapped a two-game losing streak at the hands of Arkansas and Georgia Tech when it demolished overmanned Charlotte. The Blue Devils’ other loss was against No. 1 Arizona.
The game against Charlotte may have been the perfect elixir for Duke. The Blue Devils led wire-to-wire and had one of their best offensive showings of the year, dropping 45 points in the first half alone. Duke was also doing a better job distributing the ball, led by Kyle Filipowski’s four assists.
Duke has also been playing strong perimeter defense lately. Charlotte hit just 20 percent of its three-point attempts against the Blue Devils. Georgia Tech and Arkansas didn’t fair drastically better, despite getting the wins.
Jon Scheyer needs to make sure his players aren’t overlooking Hofstra, with a Madison Square Garden tilt against the Baylor Bears on tap. If the Cameroon Crazies show out, Duke should be able to avoid a Stephen F. Austin repeat.
Prediction: Duke 70, Hofstra 60