New Duke Lineup Broke Open Virginia Tech Game
Duke had four very different games over the last two weeks, which required the young Blue Devils to learn on the fly, and for their veteran coach to learn more about his team as he experimented with lineups.
The Blue Devils started the stretch with a surprising struggle against visiting Stephen F. Austin, losing in overtime.
Three days later, Duke’s playing rotation got shuffled when Cassius Stanley went down with injury early in the second half. He would miss the next game, a win at Michigan State, then play just seven minutes in the road win at Virginia Tech.
Along with that, freshman Wendell Moore has been struggling and has seen his minutes drop as a result. Making up for the loss of the two freshmen has been the increased workload for sophomore Joey Baker.
More than 40 percent of the playing time over the four games involved lineups that coach Mike Krzyzewski hadn’t used yet this season. And, of the 27 lineups that Coach K tried for the first time, 13 of them involved Baker.
The top new lineup actually used both Stanley and Moore. The combination of the two freshmen, with Tre Jones, Jack White and Baker was on the floor for almost eight minutes against Virginia Tech, outscoring the Hokies 16-3.
The group immediately becomes the third most efficient lineup Duke has used this season.
Interestingly, the other three lineups in the top four—all involving Alex O’Connell—were used in the loss to Stephen F. Austin but haven’t been used since.
The starting lineup for the Virginia Tech game is actually the least-efficient combination Duke has used this season, in large part because the Hokies outscored them 13-3 .
The most common starting lineup--Tre Jones and the freshmen--is the most played lineup, by a fairly large margin. Although the two lineups with the most playing time have both been outscored on the season.