Advantage: Duke Blue Devils Backcourt


In a little under two hours, the Duke Blue Devils will face off with the Wisconsin Badgers. Both teams use rather short rotations, so key players will be expected to go the distance. Wisconsin has Sam Dekker and Naismith Player of the Year winner Frank Kaminsky. Duke has Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow. Which of these players will be the determining factor in this upcoming game?

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None. The awesome foursome will probably cancel each other out. This game will be decided by the support offered from the other three positions on the court. For Duke that this Matt Jones, Quinn Cook, and Tyus Jones. For Wisconsin, that Josh Gasser, Nigel Hayes, and Bronson Koenig. Which threesome will have most impact?

If you have been following the Duke Week string of articles, we made Impact a formula.

Impact = Points + 2(Assists+DReb+Steals+Blocks) – 2 (Turnovers)

Then we divided it by minutes played in order to compare players.

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  • Duke Blue Devils Backcourt:

    The Duke backcourt is made up of super freshman Tyus Jones, senior leader Quinn Cook, and Matt Jones. Their impacts look like this:

    T. Jones = .833
    M. Jones = .549
    Q. Cook = .739

    Total Impact/min = 2.121

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    Wisconsin Badgers Screen:

    The Badgers support players do not match up with Duke’s by position. This is because Dekker and Winslow do not play the same position, but they are the clearest analogues for each other. That puts forward Nigel Hayes together with guards Josh Gasser and Bronson Koenig.

    N. Hayes = .753
    B. Koenig = .566
    J. Gasser = .504

    Total Impact/min = 1.823

    So based on this data, the Blue Devils have an advantage in the players who are not named Okafor or Winslow. This means there is actually less pressure on Okafor and Winslow to carry the day. For Wisconsin, this lesson means the opposite. They must win the battle of the stars outright in order to have the best chance to win. Or else they have to get big contributions from the bench while Duke’s bench remains mostly silent.

    So mostly these numbers support a Duke edge in the upcoming National Championship.