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Duke game plan: Don’t let Virginia get set in its Pack Line D

dukeDuke sophomore Wendell Moore knows the drill when it comes to playing Virginia’s Pack Line.

“The best way to attack their defense is really in transition. If we’re in transition, it doesn’t give them the chance to set up that Pack Line defense,” Moore said Friday, on the eve of the teams’ prime time matchup on ESPN on Saturday night.

Duke (9-8, 7-6 ACC) is in need of a marquee win to bolster what, for now, is a long shot bid at an NCAA Tournament at-large slot.

The Blue Devils come in on a modest two-game winning streak, getting double-digit wins over in-state rivals N.C. State and Wake Forest.

A win over the ACC’s top dog UVA (15-4, 11-2 ACC) would be a huge shot in the arm for Duke, which isn’t used to being in the position it finds itself in at the moment.

Moore said coach Mike Krzyzewski is “a little more locked in” to try to get the team back in the right direction.

“Really Coach is always the same. He brings the same enthusiasm every day, to every game – every little thing matters to him. That’s really rubbed off on us, especially these past two games. I think he does a good job bringing that energy every day,” Moore said.

The key for Duke, to Moore, will be getting offense from defense – live-ball turnovers that can create those transition opportunities that get good shots before Virginia can set up in its suffocating half-court defense.

Per Synergy Sports, Duke gets 18.3 percent of its offense from transition, and Synergy rates the Duke transition game as “good” – the Blue Devils score 1.036 points per transition possession.

Moore (16-of-30, 53.3%, 1.053 PPP) is among the Dukies to watch in the open floor – along with sophomore Matthew Hurt (18-of-27, 66.7%, 1.455 PPP) and freshman guard Steward (20-of-33, 60.6%, 1.190 PPP).

“We want to get the ball out and push it every time,” Moore said. “We have good playmakers in the open floor who can make plays for themselves and others. The bigs run the floor really well, and we have shooters, so if we get in the paint, we can kick it out to our shooters and knock down some open threes.”

Story by Chris Graham


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