Mason Plumlee has led Duke to the Elite Eight. Credit: CHUCK LIDDY
When: 5:05 p.m.
Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis
TV/Radio: CBS/WKIX-102.9 FM
Speaking of Luke, here's his handy work on previewing today's game
Scouting Louisville (32-5)
How they got here:Big East champion
Keep an eye on:
Dieng was missing when Duke beat Louisville in November, out with wrist injury. It was a huge loss for the Cardinals, because the 6-11 junior center from Senegal is their leading rebounder (9.5 per game) and shot-blocker (2.5 per game).
Much of Louisville’s attacking pressure on the perimeter is predicated on the safety net Dieng provides in the lane.
“He does the best job in their team of protecting the rim,” Duke forward Mason Plumlee said. “Obviously blocking shots, but also altering shots. And then offensively he gets buckets around the rim, and then he has a nice little face-up jump shot. He gives them a different dimension, but he’s not one of those guys that are 260, 270 (pounds), where they can just move you on the block.”
Seth Curry’s biggest obstacle may be his own right leg. He’s coming off a 29-point explosion against Michigan State, but in five games this season where Curry has fewer than two days of rest for the chronic issues in his leg, his scoring average has dropped from 17.6 to 12.2 points per game, his shooting percentage from .467 to .302 and he’s only 6-for-20 from 3-point range.
While he had 17 points against Creighton last Sunday, he was 5-for-15 from the floor, 2-for-9 on 3-pointers. Even Friday, Curry had 23 of his 29 points in the first 23 minutes of the game. He had only two field goals in the final 17 minutes.
Number to know:
Oregon made eight 3-pointers in each of its first two NCAA tournament games, but Louisville held the Ducks to only five Friday, on 14 attempts. Duke was 7-for-18 against Michigan State from 3-point range on Friday.
Russ Smith had 31 points against Oregon on Friday despite a nasty cold, one he has accidentally spread to the rest of the team. That had a significant impact on Louisville’s defensive intensity against the Ducks, although Cardinals coach Rick Pitino wasn’t happy with the performance regardless.
“The guys basically defensively had a night off,” Pitino said. “They’re going to be very, very fresh against Duke.”
Several Louisville players said they were feeling better Saturday and expected more improvement before Sunday’s tip.
“Plus Russ stopped coughing on everybody,” point guard Peyton Siva said. “So I think we’re doing better.”
No. 1 Louisville
G Russ Smith, Jr., 18.8 ppg, 3.0 apg
G Peyton Siva Sr., 9.7 ppg, 5.9 apg
F Wayne Blackshear, So., 7.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg
F Chane Behanan, So., 9.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg
C Gorgui Dieng, Jr., 10.0 ppg, 9.5 rpg
No. 2 Duke
G Quinn Cook, So.,11.7 ppg, 5.3 apg
G Seth Curry, Sr., 17.6 ppg, 2.6 rpg
G Rasheed Sulaimon, Fr., 11.8 ppg, 3.4 rpg
F Ryan Kelly, Sr., 13.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg
F Mason Plumlee, Sr., 17.1 ppg, 9.9 rpg