Game Preview by @RandyDunson: Duke Blue Devils vs. Pittsburgh Panthers – February 28, 2016

Randy DunsonPreviews, Randy's Devils VaultLeave a Comment

Abridged Game Preview

Duke Blue Devils (21-7, 10-5 (3)] vs. Pittsburgh Panthers [19-8, 8-7 (7)]

 Saturday, February 28, 2016 • 7:00 PM • CBS • Pittsburgh, PA • Peterson Center

 By Randy Dunson [Note: Please direct comments, suggestions, etc. to @RandyDunson.]

Endgame

imagesDUKEThe Duke Blue Devils look to stay hot after winning six of their last seven games. The Duke Blue Devils are averaging 82.3 points on 47.1 percent shooting and allowing 70.8 points on 44.1 percent shooting. Grayson Allen is averaging 20.9 points and 3.6 assists while Brandon Ingram is averaging 17 points and 6.8 rebounds. Luke Kennard is dishing 1.3 assists and Marshall Plumlee is grabbing 8.6 rebounds. The Duke Blue Devils are shooting 39.1 percent from beyond the arc and 72.5 percent from the free throw line. The Blue Devils are allowing 33.9 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 37 rebounds per game. The Duke Blue Devils have split their last six road games.

The Pittsburgh Panthers need a win after losing five of their last eight games. The Pittsburgh Panthers are averaging 77.3 points on 46.3 percent shooting and allowing 68.5 points on 44.1 percent shooting. Michael Young is averaging 16.1 points and seven rebounds while Jamel Artis is averaging 15 points and three assists. James Robinson is the third double-digit scorer and Sheldon Jeter is grabbing 4.8 rebounds. The Pittsburgh Panthers are shooting 35.8 percent from beyond the arc and 75.8 percent from the free throw line. The Panthers are allowing 35.3 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 39 rebounds per game. The Pittsburgh Panthers have won seven of their last 10 home games.

Prediction

Despite both teams owning adjusted offensive efficiency ratings that rank in the top-30 in the country, I am leaning towards Duke in this ACC battle on Sunday afternoon. The Blue Devils have been less than spectacular on the road this season, but the Panthers have been so-so at home this year. Neither team really pushes the pace, so Duke comes out on top 70-65.


Game Keys

  • Key Player for Duke
    • Brandon Ingram has struggled with his shot as of late for the Blue Devils
    • He has not been driving to the basket with the confidence and demeanor that he had during the first three quarters of the season
    • Even against North Carolina, despite a 20 point performance, Ingram just was not all the way there on offense
    • On Thursday night against Florida State, he continued his streak of three straight games shooting under 36% from the field. Saturday is a perfect opportunity to get some confidence back against a good team in Pitt

 

  • Key Players for Pittsburgh
    • Jamel Artis has been playing some his best all-around basketball of the season lately, averaging 17.7 points and 9 rebounds per game over the last three
    • Artis is going to need to continue this hot streak to give Pitt their best chance to win on Saturday
    • But for the Panthers, it’s going to take more than one key player to knock off Duke
    • Michael Young has struggled to score during the last few games for Pitt and looks to turn things around with a big performance against the Blue Devils
    • If these two players can put together great games, look for the Panthers to be contending in the closing moments of the game

 

  • Teams’ Needs for the Big W
    • The Blue Devils did not shoot the ball as well as they normally do on Thursday night but they still took care of business against Florida State
    • This upcoming game against Pittsburgh will end differently if they shoot the same way on Saturday
    • Duke is going to need to get it going from three-point land if they want to have a successful afternoon
    • Boxing out one of the best rebounding teams in the ACC will also be a challenge for the Blue Devils
    • This is something that Duke has struggled with all year and they will get exposed against the Panthers if they fail to put a body on someone
    • They are going to need some help from senior, Marshall Plumlee in this area

He has been posting very strong performances as of late and another good one on Saturday would help Duke tremendously moving forward