El-Amin: UCF Shows "Blueprint" For Beating Duke

Even in defeat, UCF showed the rest of the country how to guard Zion Williamson and Duke

Taz and the Moose
March 26, 2019 - 10:33 am
Zion Williamson Duke UCF NCAA Tournament

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No. 1 Duke narrowly escaped No. 9 UCF on Sunday, winning by one point after several late blunders by the Knights.

What does this mean for Duke going forward? After seeing the Blue Devils get pushed to the brink, should we have more or less faith in them?

“I think it goes both ways,” NCAA champion and CBS Sports college basketball analyst Khalid El-Amin said on Taz & The Moose. “I think for Duke, they understand that they escaped against Central Florida, and I think their confidence does go up. When you escape with a one-point victory, I think your confidence does nothing but shoot through the roof. That allows you to settle back in and get into your groove and understand the things that you’ve done well and try to get better on the things you didn’t so well in that game.

“But at the same time, Central Florida really showed us something with their defense,” El-Amin continued. “It’s kind of a blueprint, so to speak, on how to guard Duke now. I think Virginia Tech looks at that game and they make some adjustments and they play soft on the guards and allow them to shoot.”

Virginia Tech (26-8) beat Duke, 77-72, at home on Feb. 26. It was the Blue Devils’ second full game without Zion Williamson.

Duke has shot well from the perimeter in the NCAA Tournament – 40.9 percent, this after shooting just 30.2 percent from deep in the regular season.

“I think you have to play those odds, and you have to attack those weaknesses,” El-Amin said. “If you just play them straight up and you’re going to guard the guards like they can shoot, you’re going to give them dribble penetration to get into the lane, break the defense down and get it to Zion – and we already know what that does.”