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Duke Basketball: 3 keys to victory against Houston Cougars in Sweet 16 matchup

The Duke Blue Devils are back in the Sweet 16 for 29th time in school history and the first time under head coach Jon Scheyer as they head into a big matchup with the Houston Cougars on Friday night. Take a look at the three keys to victory heading into the game!

NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - Second Round - James Madison v Duke
NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - Second Round - James Madison v Duke / Elsa/GettyImages
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Make plays for each other as a team

One big number that stood out for Duke in their second round victory was their team assists. The Blue Devils dished out 22 assists on 33 made field goals against James Madison in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. They'll need to continue to play their unselfish brand of Brotherhood basketball that's allowed them to reach this point against Houston.

Six different players registered assists in their victory back on Sunday led by Jeremy Roach's seven assists. Tyrese Proctor had five assists while Kyle Filipowski and Mark Mitchell both recorded four assists. The defense will be stifling on Friday night given the Cougars allows just 57.7 points per game (1st in NCAA). They'll need to make plays for each other given how difficult Houston is to beat at 32-4 on the year heading into the contest.

The Blue Devils haven't been the deepest team in the NCAA Tournament but they've proven they can distribute the basketball among their cast of Roach, Filipowski, Proctor, McCain and Mitchell. Mitchell had just two points in their victory over James Madison but he had 15 points in their first round victory over Vermont, so he's shown he can put up points as well. They'll need to make their best plays