Duke-Temple Preview


Duke has one more tune-up before it begins conference play. Based on its recent history against Temple, this might not be a particularly tough matchup for the reigning ACC tournament champions.

The fifth-ranked Blue Devils look for a 10th consecutive victory over the Owls on Wednesday night at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

Duke (12-1) has averaged 91.6 points and outscored its opponents by an average margin of 25.2 during a five-game winning streak since losing 85-63 at then-No. 2 Ohio State on Nov. 29. Though only Colorado State and Washington have winning records among the Blue Devils' last five opponents, they continue to build momentum heading into ACC play.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski's team also has wins over No. 10 Michigan State, No. 14 Kansas and No. 16 Michigan.

"We try to schedule one of the better schedules in the country," Krzyzewski told Duke's official website. "For us to have the strength of schedule we have right now not having played a conference game I think says a lot for our team."

Before Duke begins league action Saturday at Georgia Tech, it looks to continue its recent dominance over Temple (9-3). The Blue Devils have won each of the last nine games in this series by an average of 14.9 points since losing 59-58 to the Owls at the Spectrum on Jan. 25, 1996.

Despite that success and their recent strong play overall, Duke players expect to be in for a challenge on a neutral court that will be more like a home game for Temple.

"We've got to get better," forward Ryan Kelly said. "This will be a big test coming up next. Everybody is going to be giving us their best shot, so we have to be ready to play."

Kelly had 18 points with 12 rebounds in Duke's 85-55 win over Pennsylvania on Sunday. Seth Curry scored 15 while Mason Plumlee added 10 points and 14 rebounds as the Blue Devils held a 47-29 advantage on the glass to outrebound their opponent for a fourth consecutive game.

"The thing about rebounding is you can't just go sometimes," said Plumlee, who averages a team-leading 9.7 boards. "You get more if you go every time. It can't be a thing where maybe we'll do it and maybe we won't. We're going to need that for our team to be good."

Plumlee pulled down 13 boards and Curry had nine points with three rebounds and three assists in the Blue Devils' 78-61 win over then-No. 24 Temple on Feb. 23.

Though Temple hasn't beaten Duke in almost 16 years, the Owls have won three straight overall and are looking to knock off a top-10 opponent for the fourth straight season. Their recent upsets have come against Tennessee in 2008, Villanova in 2009 and Georgetown in 2010 - each in December.

Since losing 77-65 at Texas on Dec. 17, Temple has won its last three games by a total of just 12 points. Khalif Wyatt hit a go-ahead 3-pointer in the final minute and followed with two free throws to give the Owls a 66-63 victory at Delaware on Friday.

"I hope that it'll be a signature of this team - that they'll find a way to win," coach Fran Dunphy told Temple's official website.

Senior guard Ramone Moore averages a team-leading 17.4 points but has scored more than 15 only once in his last four games. He had 10 on 4-of-14 shooting versus Delaware, and he scored eight at Duke last season.

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