Mazur: Duke knows board battle is key to Yale rematch

Joe Mazur Image
Saturday, March 19, 2016
Duke and Marshall Plumlee got the better of Yale and Justin Sears in Durham back on Nov. 25.
Duke and Marshall Plumlee got the better of Yale and Justin Sears in Durham back on Nov. 25.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WTVD) -- March Madness in full force. How is that Midwest region in your bracket looking now? Two of the big first-round upsets happened here in Providence: Arizona knocked out by Wichita State and Baylor taken down by Yale.

That gives Duke another lower seed to square off with here tomorrow afternoon.

Is there an exhale because Yale won?

"No, not at all," says senior guard Matt Jones. "Yale is a really good team."

How good?

Four months ago in Cameron Indoor Stadium, Yale led 9-0 and made Duke earn a hard-fought victory. Mike Krzyzewski says that was a whole different season ago. Brandon Ingram didn't even start in that game.

Grayson Allen (3) and forward Chase Jeter defend against first-round opponent UNC Wilmington.
Charles Krupa

Marshall Plumlee says, "We know that they've grown a ton since then as well. To look at them as the same Yale team we played in the fall would be a disservice to them and a disservice to ourselves."

In that first meeting, Duke had to switch to a zone defense for the first time. Jones recalls it well.

"I can remember the first time that we played them we had trouble guarding them for a lot of that game so they are a really good team, they played really well," Jones said.

Yale is one of the best rebounding teams in the country and has the potential to exploit one of Duke's biggest weaknesses.

Justin Sears, a Yale junior forward likes the familiarity of this matchup.

"Every game, I feel we have an advantage going into it," Sears said. "We outrebounded Baylor, and I think we should outrebound Duke again."

Krzyzewski knows the boards will be key to beating the Bulldogs a second time.

"A big thing for us all the time is rebounding," Krzyzewski said, "and Yale is a terrific rebounding team on both ends. One of the best offensive rebounding teams in the country so we got to be able to hold our own then."

Just like they did last November, Duke was able to rally past UNC Wilmington after a slow start. A habit that if repeated could prove to be season-ending.

"We're proud of the last twenty minutes of our last performance and to carry that momentum into this game would be great," Plumlee said.

Tip time is set for 2:40 p.m. at The Dunk.

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