Men's College Basketball
Syracuse vs Duke
When: 9:37 PM ET, Friday, March 23, 2018
Where: CenturyLink Center Omaha, Omaha, Nebraska

Jim Boeheim's 2-3 zone has flustered opponents during this NCAA Tournament just like it seems to whenever Syracuse makes the Big Dance, but it has been Mike Krzyzewski's use of the same defense that has made Duke equally stingy. The two winningest coaches in Division I college basketball history will attempt to outwit one another yet again Friday in Omaha, Neb., as the No. 2 seed Duke meets the 11th-seeded Orange in a Sweet 16 matchup.

Krzyzewski (1,099-337) made the move to the zone as his team's primary defense 11 games ago, and the Blue Devils, who surrendered 72.8 points per game over their first 24 games, have allowed an average of 61.7 points since. Duke's defensive renaissance may been best illustrated five games after the switch as the Blue Devils held Syracuse to 31.5 percent shooting and forced 17 turnovers in a 60-44 victory on Feb. 24. While Duke has won its first two NCAA Tournament games by an average of 23.5 points, the Orange has claimed their three victories - by a total of 11 points - by riding a defense that has kept each of its opponents at least 25 points below their season scoring average. Syracuse, where Boeheim has posted a 925–367 record (minus 101 vacated victories), pulled off the biggest upset of its run Sunday, forcing Michigan State to miss its final 13 shots en route to a 55-53 win.

TV: 9:37 p.m. ET, CBS

ABOUT SYRACUSE (23-13): Tyus Battle (1,403), Frank Howard (1,383) and Oshae Brissett (1,371) rank first, second and fourth, respectively in Division I in total minutes and are responsible for 73.2 percent of the team's offensive production this season. Battle (team-high 19.3 points) is the highest-scoring sophomore in Orange history with 693 points and has played all 40 minutes in 14 of the last 17 games, but he is shooting only 27.4 percent from the field over his last four outings. Brissett (14.9 points, 8.9 rebounds) needs 11 more points to move into fourth place on the school's freshman scoring list and has accounted for 31.6 percent of the team's points over the last four contests.

ABOUT DUKE (28-7): ACC Player of the Year Marvin Bagley III (21.2 points, 11.3 rebounds) has tallied 22 points in each of the first two rounds, and he is shooting 67.4 percent from the floor since he returned against the Orange following a four-game absence. Fellow freshman forward Wendell Carter Jr. (13.6, 9.2) produced the last of his 15 double-doubles this season with 16 points and 10 boards last month versus Syracuse and was the only other player beside Bagley (19) to score more than 10 points in the contest. Following a month-long stretch in which he failed to reach double figures six times in 10 outings, senior guard Grayson Allen (15.6 points) is averaging 18.5 points over his last 11 games.


1. The winner will face either Kansas or Clemson in Omaha on Sunday for the right to advance to the Final Four.

2. The Orange rank fifth in's adjusted defensive efficiency rankings (92.3 points allowed per 100 possessions), while the Blue Devils rank eighth (93.3).

3. Krzyzewski on Saturday broke his tie with the late great women's basketball coach Pat Summitt (Tennessee) for the most wins by a basketball coach in NCAA history.

PREDICTION: Duke 66, Syracuse 55
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Neutral Day Night Conf
Syracuse 23-13 W3 14-5 4-6 5-2 7-4 16-9 9-11
Duke 28-7 W2 15-1 6-5 7-1 9-3 19-4 14-6
Last Meeting
Syracuse Duke
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
2/24/18 SYR 44 DUKE 60 44 33 31.5 60 36 41.5
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Syracuse T. Battle 12 33.3 2
Duke M. Bagley III 19 88.9 3
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Syracuse P. Chukwu 12 3 9
Duke W. Carter Jr. 10 2 8
Assists Player  
Syracuse F. Howard 7
Duke G. Allen 6
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Syracuse T. Battle 693 39.8 166
Duke M. Bagley III 656 61.3 120
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Syracuse O. Brissett 320 78 242
Duke M. Bagley III 349 122 227
Assists Player  
Syracuse F. Howard 170
Duke T. Duval 197
Quickchart Matchup
blue bar Syracuse Off vs  red bar Duke Defense
blue bar 66.7 Points For
red bar 69.3 Points Against
blue bar 41.5 FG%
red bar 40.2 FG%
blue bar 33.4 Reb
red bar 29.0 Reb
red bar Duke Off vs  blue bar Syracuse Defense
red bar 84.9 Points For
blue bar 63.6 Points Against
red bar 49.6 FG%
blue bar 39.1 FG%
red bar 39.1 Reb
blue bar 29.5 Reb