Will GW beat Duke?
I have no idea, but if you think I am going to predict against the Colonials, then you just haven't been paying attention.
How can GW beat Duke?
Okay, here's a question that will take more than one or two words or sentences to answer. The most important factor in this game will be tempo. If the score gets into the 80's, the Colonials have a pretty good chance. The two games that GW lost this year, N.C. State and Temple, were slowdown affairs. If Coach K can convince his team to control the pace on every possession, GW will have a hard time gaining an advantage.
Defensively, GW has to trap and press the whole game, paying special attention to Reddick and Williams. If Dockery, McRoberts and Paulus make them pay, so be it, but the Colonials quick feet and long arms will force the Blue Devils to make good decisions and play strong all the way the hoop.
Offense will take care of itself if GW moves the ball and crashes the boards the way they did on Thursday. The commentators noted that they would need a lot more from leading scorer Danilo Pinnock after he was scoreless in the first half, but the Colonials have so many weapons they ended up with five players in double figures, led by Maureece Rice. Rice came off the bench and finished with 20, none of them in overtime. That's balance.
Duke could very well take an early lead as the Colonials gamble on defense, but the Blue Devils have to know by now that no lead is safe against GW. The 19-0 scoring run against UNCW included 13 points in a minute-and-a-half. If the Colonials keep coming after Duke the whole game, it will make for an enjoyable afternoon.
One final note for those who think Duke has a homecourt advantage playing in Greensboro. My brother the UNC-Chapel Hill alum notes that most people in Carolina cheer against Duke. and the Blue Devils would have more fans if they were playing in the Meadowlands.