Duke continued to use the zone defense it unveiled in last week’s loss to Pitt, playing it for much of Saturday’s game at Louisville.
“The fact that we’ve done the zone, at least we have it,” Mike Krzyzewski said. “It’s something that you would’ve wanted to do in November in a lot of non-conference games or exhibitions and have a few different things you would do defensively. We’re trying to get that done on January 23, right now.”
The zone should help keep the Blue Devils out of foul trouble, although it hasn’t worked in the two games that Duke has used it. Wake Forest shot 21 free throws to Duke’s 10, Virginia Tech 19 to Duke’s 15, Pitt 37 to Duke’s 19 and Louisville 24 to Duke’s 9, the latter two games coming with Duke primarily in the zone.
“We have to not foul as much,” Krzyzewski said. “In the last four games - it’s kind of crazy - our opponents have shot about 100 free throws, and we’ve shot 50. Are we using our hands too much? We have to evaluate that. Are we putting our opponents in a position where they can foul us? But that’s an extraordinary differential. I’ve never had that with our program. In fact, most of the time, we shoot more free throws. Never that much more, but that’s an incredible amount. That’s an incredible amount. Look, I’m not saying we’re getting messed over or anything. There has to be some reason for that. It’s too big of a difference.”
Entering this year, Duke had shot more free throws than its opponent 24 seasons in a row. The Blue Devils shot at least 100 more free throws in 23 of those 24 seasons and 200 more in 14 of the 24. During Mike Krzyzewski’s time at Duke, the Blue Devils have shot 7876 more free throws than opponents, or an average of 197 more per year. This would be the fourth season in Coach K's 42 at Duke that opponents have shot more free throws.