Scouting report: the Duke Blue Devils in the Sweet 16

Scouting report: the Duke Blue Devils in the Sweet 16


Friday night, Houston gets a Sweet 16 matchup against the Duke Blue Devils. Despite playing over 2300 games, Houston has never faced Duke but that streak ends Friday night in Dallas.

When scouting Duke, I studied their final regular season game vs UNC.

the daily #237 | 3/28/2024 | Archives

Duke Overview

I’ve said this a few times this year, but Duke is probably the most talented team Houston has played in the 2023-24 season. They have three McDonald’s All-Americans – #3 Jeremy Roach, #0 Jared McCain, and #25 Mark Mitchell. Their best player, #30 Kyle Filipowski, was not a McDonald’s All-American but is a college All-American.

Coach John Scheyer took over for legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski last season. Scheyer has a very talented team, but I’m not sure he has a tough team. They are often not the first on the floor and have been criticized by the media for being a soft team. Even Scheyer has challenged them in several press conferences.

On Friday night, they will play a team that former Dukie Jay Bilas calls “the toughest team in the country.” The Coogs have zero McDonald’s All-Americans, but they have a First Team All-American point guard and will be the toughest team the Blue Devils have faced this year. Kelvin Sampson’s squad has some absolute “DAWGS” on it, and give me the team with the most heart and the toughest coach in America.

The Head Of The Snake

Kyle “Flip” Filipowski is Duke’s “Head of the Snake. Flip is a 7’0” forward with guard skills who can play inside or outside, depending on who is guarding him. He is probably the most talented individual offensive player the Coogs have faced this year. He can shoot the three-pointer, drive to the basket, or play in the high or low post. He goes to the rim a lot, averaging about 4.2 buckets a game there.

The Coogs struggled at times to defend the short pick-and-roll, which is Flip’s strength. He is also a pretty good defender, blocking a lot of shots, and a solid rebounder on both ends of the court.

Duke Offense

Besides Flip, the Blue Devils also have tremendous guard play. They average 15.5 assists per game and look to get the ball to the best option. They rarely turn the ball over, and the Coogs will need to force their guards to turn the ball over more. UH has to force tough, contested shots. Tyrece Proctor (#5), Jared McCain, and Jeremy Roach are all dynamic guards who can score in multiple ways. They look to push in transition when they have the opportunity to score easy buckets.

Mark Mitchell is their other big man who is a solid scorer. From what I’ve seen, he’s best in the pick-and-roll. Mitchell is capable of shooting the three-pointer but is at his best when he’s in the paint (70% of his shots are at the rim). Ryan Young (#15) comes off the bench and cleans up offensive rebounds (83% of his shots are at the rim).

This is the best offensive team UH has faced this year. The Coogs will have to be extremely disciplined on defense and communicate at a very high level to prevent Duke from getting wide-open looks. Duke is:

  • 12th nationally in three-point percentage (38.1%);
  • 14th in assist/turnover ratio” at 1.61;
  • 15th in turnovers per game (9.6);
  • 22nd in effective FG% (55.3%);
  • 24th in FG% (48.2%);
  • 41st scoring offense (79.8 ppg);
  • 46th in assists (15.5 apg);

Duke loves to run in transition, and they run a lot of pick and short rolls for Filipowski (similar to what Kansas does with KJ Adams):

The Blue Devils set a ton of off-ball screens to get their shooters open:


Duke Defense

Duke has a decent but not scary defense. They don’t do a great job of getting back on defense, and the Coogs could have some transition opportunities if their guards sprint to the corners. They struggle to defend the paint, so I would look to get Jamal in the paint as often as possible. Allow him to make a play via scoring or kicking it out to open shooters if the defense collapses.

The Coogs will have chances to get great looks. It will be crucial for L.J. and Emanuel to hit open shots.

  • 31st nationally in scoring defense (allowing 66.5 ppg);
  • 33rd in rebound margin (5.2 rpg more than opponents);

Duke primarily plays half-court, man-to-man defense. They like to run drop coverage vs. the pick-and-roll when the screen-setter isn’t an outside threat. They’re suspect in transition defense. UH needs to run the floor and get #4 and #21 in the corner:

With their struggles in the pain, UH will look to get the ball in the paint via guards driving or feeding J’Wan in the post:

If they get down, they might try to run a full-court, 2-2-1 press:




Jayme Hollingsworth
Jayme Hollingsworth
Jayme is's new basketball scouting editor. He was born and raised in Alabama but now lives in Houston. He's a former video coordinator/scouting coordinator at UAB and a former high school basketball coach. He's the husband to Mallory and pug dad to Charlee.

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