Bracket Show Host Explains How To Beat Duke

It won't be easy, but it can be done

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
March 20, 2019 - 8:55 am
Zion Williamson R.J. Barrett

USA Today Images

Categories: 

Zion Williamson is one of the most unstoppable forces that college basketball has ever seen, and he’s the main reason why Duke (29-5) is the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.

So, how do you stop him? Or at least slow him down?

“You try to do everything,” That Bracket Show host Leigh Klein said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “Make him go to his right, keep him (from) being able to spin to his left, which he does so well, putting a body on him on the glass every single time – running interference is what you have to do there. You really have to get back in transition because him in transition – from what he does defensively and stealing the ball and just how electric he is – makes it so tough.”

If there’s an Achilles’ heel for Duke, however, it’s outside shooting. The Blue Devils’ top four players – Williamson, R.J. Barrett, Cam Reddish, and Tre Jones – all shoot under 33 percent from three. Jones, in fact, shoots just 24.7 percent.

“The X-factor is really the outside shooting,” Klein said. “When they’re hitting threes – and it starts probably with Cam Reddish – now you have these driving lanes for Zion. Now you can’t really pack it in. R.J. Barrett loves to be able to drive it to the rim as well. So if Duke can extend the defense with having success behind the arc, that’s what makes them so much more difficult. So I think you’ve got to make it as difficult as possible for Zion and you’ve got to force Tre Jones into being a shooter. You got to pick your poison.”

While Duke is a favorite to reach the Final Four, Klein believes another ACC team – Virginia – will be there as well.

“I think Virginia’s got a great chance to be in the Final Four,” he said. “They’re not going to come in overlooking anyone, that’s for sure. They’re a unique team that’s a top-five team in shooting the three and defending it. So they’ve got versatility in scoring. They’ve got the ability to do a great job defensively. Virginia, to me, is a team that is Final Four-bound.”