Duke vs. Siena Prediction, Game Preview

    Duke vs. Siena prediction and game preview for the opening game between the Blue Devils and Saints. Find out who's picked to win the regular season tipoff.

    November 13, 2015

    The No. 5-ranked Duke Blue Devils get their season started against the Siena Saints in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Below is the Duke vs. Siena prediction and game preview.

    Duke vs. Siena Game Preview

    Game Broadcast

    Date: Friday, Nov. 13
    Game Time: 7 p.m. ET
    Venue: Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, NC.
    Network: ESPNU

    Why You Need To Care

    There’s just something special about Mike Krzyzewski and his Duke Blue Devils. After sending another highly talented batch of prospects to the NBA after his fifth title, Coach K is looking to commence the journey toward his sixth championship.

    With Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow, Tyus Jones and others gone, how will the Blue Devils look? It’s safe to assume Duke will be locked and loaded once again, but this is the first look we’ll get at seeing what could be another national champion for the Blue Devils.

    Coach K is looking for his 1,019th win against the Siena Saints, who only have six appearances in the NCAA Tournament. In fact, the Saints haven’t been back to the tourney since they were bounced out in the first round in the 2009-10 season.

    Head coach Jimmy Pastos is 31-38 in two years with the Saints. He’ll have a chance to construct a successful team that only lost two seniors from last season.

    This is also the first-ever meeting between Duke and Siena, and it’s serving as part of the 2K Classic — benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project. The Wounded Warrior Project seeks to “raise awareness and elist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members,” among other things. So, if not to watch Duke get another win, you should watch because it’s a good cause.

    Why Duke Will Win

    Coach K is the best coach in college basketball. Sometimes it’s as simple as that. Not only is he the best coach, but he’s one of the best recruiting coaches in the game, too. Based on talent alone, the Blue Devils are just far superior to the Saints. Duke was No. 6 with 79.3 points per game last season and held opponents to 64.2 points per game. The Saints averaged 69.8 points per game. Do the math. Duke has won 33-straight home openers
    and is 34-1 in home debuts under Coach K.

    Why Siena Will Win

    In the rare, off-the-wall case that the Saints actually pull out a win against a monstrous program like Duke, it’ll be because Siena kept Marshall Plumlee and Chase Jeter off the boards. Pastos’ squad ranked No. 78 with 233 steals last year, so they can try and take advantage of Duke’s young guard Derryck Thornton — still not easy — and shoot the passing lanes. There’s no area in which Duke is lacking in comparison to Siena, so it’ll take some momentum-shifting plays and a high shooting percentage to quiet the Cameron Crazies.

    Players Who Matter

    Grayson Allen. Oh, do you want more? Okay, well how about the fact Duke lost four leaders from last year’s championship team. Three of those guys were freshmen. Allen had 16 points off the bench for Duke against Wisconsin in the championship game. He’s athletic. He can shoot — 34.6 percent from three last year — and he has a knack for winning on hustle plays. He and Thornton will be the two Blue Devils you need to focus on. If Allen and Thornton can get into a rhythym together, Coach K can rest easier knowing the ball will be taken care of on offense.

    As for Siena, junior guard Marquis Wright is the top returning scorer for the Saints from a year ago. He averaged 12.5 points per game on 43 percent shooting. Wright will need to carry the load offensively while Javion Ogunyemi will have to take his average of 1.5 blocks from last season and defend the paint like his life depended on it. If they can do that, the Saints, assuming the rest of the team takes care of the little things, might make it closer than it should be.

    What’s Going To Happen?

    Duke will win, and Duke will win by a lot. The Blue Devils have won a 116 consecutive non-conference home games — the most in the NCAA. Since the 2009-10 season, they’ve only lost four games at home, and Siena isn’t going to make it five. Brandon Ingram, Chase Jeter and Luke Kennard will each get a chance to show out in Cameron Indoor Stadium for the first time. While there is no real pressure going up against the Saints in arguagly the toughest place to play in college basketball, the Blue Devils will look to make a statement — especially with rival North Carolina holding the No. 1 ranking. Coach K will earn his 946th win as Duke’s head coach.

    Duke vs. Siena Prediction

    Robert Judin:
    Duke 84, Siena 59

    Jordan Cornette:
    Duke 88, Siena 72

    Line: Duke -23

    MORE: Preseason ACC Basketball Rankings


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