Indiana Faces the Blue Devils and Their Cameron Crazies Tonight


Two of College basketball’s most storied programs face each other tonight as Indiana heads into the hostile environment of Cameron Indoor Stadium to take on the #7 Duke Blue Devils tonight on ESPN.

The Indiana Hoosiers face their toughest test of their non-conference schedule when they travel to Durham tonight. Playing the seventh-ranked Duke Blue Devils is a difficult task. Doing so, in Cameron Indoor Stadium – an environment known for its loud and boisterous fans known as the Cameron Crazies – in a nationally televised primetime matchup exponentially increases that difficulty.

How to Catch the Game:

WHO: Indiana Hoosiers (5-2) v. #7 Duke Blue Devils (6-1)
WHEN: Tonight, 9:15 pm ET / 6 pm CT
WHERE: Cameron Indoor Stadium (Durham, NC)
RADIO: Don Fischer on the affiliates of the Indiana Hoosiers Radio Network

After the disappointment of the Hoosiers last road trip, a 1-2 showing in Maui, Indiana needs a win on the road against Duke no matter how difficult that may be. To fully understand the uphill battle Indiana faces, let’s put this in perspective, the Blue Devils last non-conference loss in Cameron was Feb 26, 2000 when they fell to St. Johns in overtime 83-82.

Since then, Duke has won 120 straight non-conference games at home. Perhaps difficult is not the right word. Words like tenuous and daunting come to mind, but as ten-point underdogs, the chances of the Hoosiers pulling off the upset in the eyes of the odds makers are between slim-and-none.

For Indiana, this is a season-defining game. Either it is the perfect recipe for an upset or it is the portents of things to come. There will be no moral victories tonight and therefore no middle ground.

The Duke Blue Devils

Gone are Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow and Tyus Jones. This is a younger Duke team than the past few seasons, but they are a talented bunch just the same.

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Duke is led by sophomore Grayson Allen who is averaging 22.6 points-per-game. Alongside Allen in the backcourt is junior guard Matt Jones averaging 12.7 ppg.

In the paint the Dukies feature the tandem of Marshall Plumlee – yes another Plumlee – at center and senior forward Amile Jefferson. Jefferson is averaging a double-double with 11.7 points and 10.6 rebounds per game.

Duke’s lone loss this season came against the Kentucky Wildcats in a game that featured a tempo similar to the speed the Hoosiers want to play at. Duke can ill-afford a loss at home, but their need to maintain their winning streak with such a young team could be their downfall if the Hoosiers come out with hot hands.

The Indiana Hoosiers

The Indiana Hoosiers are a question mark this season. They entered the 2015-16 season at No. 14 with very high expectations as contenders for the title. That was until their showing, or lack thereof, in Maui. Indiana dropped two very winnable games against Wake Forest and UNLV for no other reason than a lack of defensive effort. Several times in those two losses the Indiana players were flat-footed on defense and lacked the fight to keep the opposition out of the paint.

Now, unranked and on the road against Duke, they face the same defensive tasks tonight, only against much better competition. IU must keep the Blue Devils out of the paint and off the glass if they want to keep this game close. Most of all Indiana must win the turnover battle. Without achieving those three things, there is little hope for victory.

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To do so, Indiana freshman,

Thomas Bryant

must step-up into the spotlight and make an impact throughout the game. The Hoosiers cannot afford for Bryant to be a non-factor like he was in Maui.

They need to get Bryant going early and often and ruin the offense from the inside-out. Doing so will force the Duke defense to collapse and open up the perimeter for the Hoosiers arsenal of skilled shooters.

The perimeter play will be a crucial factor in this matchup. Yogi Ferrell and James Blackmon Jr., not only need to manufacture points, but do so while limiting turnovers. Too often the Hoosiers have caught themselves at a break-neck speed and carelessly turned over the ball trying to force the action.

A combination of patience and awareness is vital for the Hoosiers. Knowing when to push the pace and when to setup the offense is vital to gaining and keeping the momentum n favor of the Hoosiers. A healthy helping of Troy Williams at the rim could easily quiet the Cameron Crazies.

Penetration from the wings will open up the offensive perimeter and allow for better inside scoring. This is the strategy for success against the Blue Devils. The question is, are the Hoosiers up to the task on both ends of the court tonight> tune in tonight on ESPN and find out.

Next: Hoosiers win final tune-up before facing Duke

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