Tyler Thornton will try his hand against VCU's havoc defense. Credit: John Bazemore/AP
Duke vs. VCU
When: 7 p.m.
Where: Imperial Arena, Paradise Island, Bahamas
TV/Radio: NBC Sports Network/WKIX-102.9 FM
Projected starting lineups:
No. 5 Duke (4-0)
G Quinn Cook, So., 10.0 ppg, 4.5 apg
G Seth Curry, Sr., 18.3 ppg, Sr., 1.3 rpg
G Rasheed Sulaimon, Fr., 11.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg
F Ryan Kelly, Sr., 11.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg
F Mason Plumlee, Sr., 21.3 ppg, 10.8 rpg
G Darius Theus, Sr., 10.0 ppg, 5.3 apg
G Treveon Graham, So., 14.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg
G Troy Daniels, Sr., 9.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg
F Juvonte Reddic, Jr., 14.3 ppg, 8.0 rpg
C D.J. Haley Jr., 2.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg
Player to watch
Tyler Thornton, Duke
If Seth Curry is limited after playing 33 minutes against Minnesota, Thornton will probably play the majority of the minutes left by Curry’s absence. Thornton played well defensively in his 22 minutes against Minnesota, but he did not take a shot. Curry is Duke’s second leading scorer—somehow, Duke will have to replace his offense.
Also expect to see Thornton take his turn at the point against VCU’s “havoc” defense, which is heavy on press and ball pressure. The Rams are averaging 14 steals per game.
***Duke has won 21 consecutive regular-season tournament games, dating back to the 2006 CBE Classic
***Mason Plumlee, who went 8-of-10 from the free throw line against Minnesota, is averaging a career-best 78.1 percent from the free throw line this season. Last year, he shot 52.8 percent from the line.
***The two teams have only met once before, in the opening round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament. Eric Maynor, then a sophomore, hit a 15-foot jumper with 1.8 seconds left to upset No. 6-seeded Duke 79-77. Maynor currently plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
***Before Shaka Smart was the 35-year-old boy genius coach at VCU (turning down an offer of $2.5 million to go coach Illinois), Duke assistant Jeff Capel was the head coach at VCU from 2003-2006.