Duke readies for McDermott, Creighton
Posted March 23, 2013
Philadelphia — Duke improved to 5-0 all-time in NCAA tournament games in Philadelphia, the home of fictional film icon Rocky Balboa. The Devils now go from the Danes to another group of underdogs, the Creighton Bluejays, who field their own version of the Italian Stallion.
Doug McDermott has been throwing knockout punches as of late that would floor Ivan Drago, Clubber Lang, or Apollo Creed.
"McDermott is such a beautiful player, he's really one of the best offensive players I've seen in the last decade," said Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski.
The unfortunate assignment of defending the 6-foot-8 gunner from Iowa falls to Ryan Kelly. A matchup of former roommates, oddly enough.
"Got a chance to know him a lot this summer, went to the LeBron camp, got to room with him at one," said McDermott. "It was a cool experience. So it's kinda sweet saying we get to play each other now. Really clean, he's a good roommate. He's always reminding me what time we had to be downstairs to go to the gym. Really responsible."
"[McDermott's] a great guy but none of that matters when we step on the floor," said Kelly.
However, corralling the second leading scorer in the nation will be more of a team effort than a one-man-mission.
"It's going to be a fight to stay with them," said Kelly. "We have to be physical with them and five guys have to defend them."
"They screen so much and they do so much to get him open it'd be crazy to expect one guy to chase around those screens for 40-minutes," said Duke's Mason Plumlee.
McDermott scored 27 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and made all 11 free throws to help Creighton beat Cincinnati 67-63 on Friday.
He ranks behind only Oscar Robinson (Cincinnati) and Larry Bird (Indiana State) on most Missouri Valley Conference single-season or career scoring records. McDermott averages 20.1 points, a team-best 7.7 rebounds and has NBA scouts at every game trying to figure out how he'll fit at the next level.
Now, comes the hardest part: the waiting. Drawing the last game of the night, the Blue Devils and Jays probably will not hear the final horn until after midnight on Sunday.
"It's fine because we like to take naps during the day, so we'll probably get like a four hour nap tomorrow so that'll be great," joked Duke's Quinn Cook.
"We got the last time slot I guess, that's fine, nobody on our team goes to bed at that time anyway," said Mason Plumlee.
When the game tips, it will be a full 60 hours after the Devils first tipped off the tournament against Albany.