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Penn challenges No. 7 Duke

The seventh-ranked Duke Blue Devils will be in conference tilt.

Penn opened the season with wins in three of its first four games, but the fact that the team now owns a 6-7 overall record suggests that things have gone down hill since. The Quakers, who have yet to begin Ivy League play, are coming off a 75-70 loss to Davidson on Thursday, and they are 2-3 on the road thus far.

As for Duke, it opened the season with seven consecutive wins before getting trounced by Ohio State, one of the truly elite teams in the nation. To the credit of the Blue Devils, they have bounced back strong from that setback, as Friday's 110-70 romp over Western Michigan was the fourth straight win for the squad. Of the club's 11 victories this season, six have come at Cameron, which represents one of the most notable homecourt advantages in all of college basketball.

Duke owns a 9-6 series lead over Penn, which includes a 114-55 thrashing of the Quakers in the most recent meeting on December 31, 2009.

The Quakers have a couple of standout performers, with Zack Rosen serving as the star of the team. Rosen has started all 13 games thus far and is scoring 19.7 ppg on the strength of his 50 percent shooting from the field. More than just a scorer, Rosen is handing out 6.4 apg. Tyler Bernardini brings 15.7 ppg and 5.9 rpg to the mix, while Miles Cartwright rounds out a trio of double- digit scorers with 10.6 ppg. It is ironic that through 13 games, Penn has scored the exact same amount of points as it has surrendered (887, 68.2 ppg). In the five-point loss to Davidson a few days ago, Penn was outscored 28-17 from the foul line, the most obvious reason for the setback. Rosen struggled in that affair, finishing with 14 points on 5-of-14 shooting from the field while committing six turnovers. Bernardini paced the squad with 16 points, while Fran Dougherty and Rob Belcore netted 10 points apiece.

Austin Rivers was regarded by many as the top incoming freshman in all of college basketball, and the son of NBA head coach Doc Rivers hasn't disappointed. Rivers leads Duke with 16.0 ppg on the strength of his 42.6 percent shooting from the floor and 97.9 percent accuracy from the foul line. Fellow guard Seth Curry provides 13.1 ppg on 45.8 percent shooting from behind the arc, and he shoots well over 90 percent from the charity stripe as well. Add Mason Plumlee (12.1 ppg, 9.3 rpg) and Ryan Kelly (11.7 ppg) to the mix and Duke certainly isn't short on options at the offensive end. The Blue Devils are generating 82.7 ppg on 50.5 percent field goal efficiency while holding opponents to 69.5 ppg on 43.7 percent shooting. Curry scored 22 points to pace a balanced attack in the victory over Western Michigan last time out, and Rivers was close behind with 20 points. The Blue Devils were 14-of-27 from behind the arc, impressive to say the least, and they earned a 50-28 rebounding advantage to go along with a 28-8 edge in points from the foul line.