(4) Duke Blue Devils at (2) Virginia Cavaliers (-6, 132.5 o/u)
One of the best games of the college basketball season, to date, goes tonight in Charlottesville as the No. 2 Virginia Cavaliers (19-0, 7-0 ACC) put their undefeated record on the line against the No. 4 Duke Blue Devils (17-3, 4-3 ACC).
Despite their perfect record, the Cavaliers struggle to score at times, averaging just 68.3 points per game. But they have the best defense in the nation (statistically speaking), surrendering just under 50 points on average. Tonight’s game will be a contrast in styles, as Duke leans heavily on its 11th-ranked offense (81.2 PPG).
It will also be a contrast in experience. Virginia is led by a trio of juniors (Justin Anderson, Malcolm Brogdon, and Anthony Gill), while three of Duke’s top-four scorers are true freshman (Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow, and Tyus Jones).
Mike Krzyzewski’s team got even younger recently when it dismissed junior guard Rasheed Sulaimon. The exact reasons for Sulaimon’s dismissal have not been disclosed, though Krzyzewski did say in a press release that the junior had “been unable to consistently live up to the standards required to be a member of our program”. Sulaimon had been averaging 7.5 points per game in 19.3 minutes.
Duke is sitting at just 4-3 in ACC play at the moment, and are in an uncomfortable sixth-place in the conference. You can bank on Coach K having his team ready to play tonight against the ACC’s top dogs, knowing that a fourth loss at this stage of the year could all but end their hopes of a regular season title.
Virginia will likely be motivated to keep its perfect record intact, but no one expects the low-scoring Cavaliers to finish with a zero in the loss column. With the Cavaliers laying six points, take the motivated Blue Devils to cover.
(Photo credit: Luis Blanco (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode]. Photo has been cropped.)
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