3 Daunting Questions for Duke Blue Devils vs. Houston in Sweet 16

Duke must answer these questions if they're pulling off an upset against Houston
Kyle Filipowski's ability to control the glass is paramount to a Duke victory
Kyle Filipowski's ability to control the glass is paramount to a Duke victory / Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
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The Duke Blue Devils hopefully haven't already spent their best effort of the season. They were dominant from start to finish against James Madison but now must take on the vaunted No. 1 Houston Cougars in the Sweet 16.

Houston boasts KenPom's No. 1 ranked defense and proved they can score in the NCAA Tournament so far too, putting up 85 points against Longwood and 100 in an overtime win over Texas A&M.

Duke is a decent underdog, though Texas A&M may have given the Blue Devils a blueprint to take down the Cougars. With that in mind, let's consider three massive questions facing Duke before a Friday night opening tip.

3 Daunting Questions for Duke vs. Houston

1. Was Jared McCain's Breakout a Fluke or a Sign of Things to Come?

Jared McCain was absolutely sensational against James Madison, draining a Duke freshman-record eight three-pointers en route to 30 points in what can only be considered his finest performance as a Blue Devil.

With respect to James Madison and their fourth-best defensive three-point percentage (29.7%), this Houston defense is a different beast. The Cougars are widely recognized as the best defensive team in the country, allowing just a 43.9% effective field goal percentage (2nd) while forcing turnovers on 24.4% of opponents' possessions (3rd).

If McCain carries his strong momentum into the Sweet 16, the Blue Devils have a great chance to win. If he doesn't, they won't barring Jeremy Roach or Tyrese Proctor picking up the slack.

In Duke's ACC Tournament loss to NC State, McCain had just eight points on 2-of-6 shooting with four personal fouls. He committed three turnovers in the loss to North Carolina to close the regular season, and he'll need to both shoot well and protect the ball against the most ferocious defense he's seen all year.

McCain won't have the easy catch-and-shoot opportunities that he did last round. He can still make contested shots, but the Cougars will theoretically make him work for it.

Houston limited Wade Taylor IV to a nightmare 5-of-26 night and Manny Obaseki to 5-of-14 and I expect a similar game plan to keep McCain quiet.

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