Game Preview: Duke Blue Devils vs Clemson Tigers

The Blue Devils head back out on the road to face the Clemson Tigers

In Game Previews by Brian HoraceLeave a Comment


Series Info

Overall: 143rd meeting; Duke leads 111-31
In Durham: Duke leads 63-4 (60-4 at Cameron Indoor)
In Clemson: Duke leads 38-23
At neutral sites: Duke leads 10-4
Current streak: Duke, W4
Coach K vs. Clemson: Duke leads 57-13

Media Info

TV: ESPN (Dan Shulman/Jon Crispin/Brooke Weisbrod)
Radio: Blue Devil Sports Network (David Shumate/John Roth)
Duke Radio Affiliates
National Radio: n/a
Sirius/XM: 84 / 84 (Duke broadcast)

The Opponent
Next up for the Blue Devils are the Clemson Tigers. The Tigers are on a 2 game winning streak, 2-3 in the ACC so far this season and 8-7 overall. Clemson should enter Tuesday night with a tank full of gas and confidence, fresh off off beating North Carolina in Chapel Hill for the first time in 60 tries. The Tigers forced overtime against the Tar Heels when Aamir Simms hit a three-pointer with 3.5 second. The rest is history, literally, as the Tigers ended the streak that seemingly would never be broken. With the football iteration of the Tigers playing in the National Championship Monday night - a win against Duke and completion of the Blue Blood Sweep could earn the basketball Tigers a share of the spotlight and the headlines. Clemson is in need of a signature win against a ranked team to boost them into a possible tournament bid and Duke is a golden opportunity to enhance their resume which includes a tough non-conference schedule but not the requisite wins to show for it.

Clemson is currently 5th in the conference in defensive rebounding, 3rd in 3-point attempts, 4th in makes but only 10th in 3-point percentage.

Junior forward Aamir Simms leads the Tigers in scoring and in rebounding at 13.9 and 7.5 per game. Simms also averages 2.5 assists. Senior Tevin Mack is also a double-figure scorer for the Tigers at 11.5 per game to go along with his 5.1 rebounds. Two other players average just under 10 a game including John Newman III who comes in at 9.9 and Al-Amir Dawes at 9.1 per game.

Duke vs Clemson
Duke and Clemson are meeting for the 143rd time in a series that dates to the 1925-26 season, with the Blue Devils leading 111-31. Duke has won four straight, six of the last seven, and 11 of the last 13 versus the Tigers. At Clemson, Duke leads 38-23 (25-18 at Littlejohn Coliseum). Duke’s last visit to Littlejohn was a 66-57 victory on Feb. 18, 2018 behind 19 points from Grayson Allen in a matchup of teams ranked 11th (Clemson) and 12th (Duke) in the AP poll.

The Blue Devils will be without freshman starter Wendell Moore Jr. who underwent successful surgery on Monday to repair a broken fourth metacarpal in his right hand. He is out indefinitely, but expected to return this season. Moore, who sustained the injury late in the game at Miami on Saturday January 4th, had played in all 14 games, with five starts. The Charlotte, N.C., native was averaging 7.4 points and 3.9 rebounds in 22.2 minutes per game.

Duke enters the game at Clemson on a 9 game winning streak. The Blue Devils come in at 15-1 and 5 & 0 in the ACC. The Blue Devils have relied heavily on their defense so far this season and are 5th in the nation in blocked shots, 22nd in steals and 67th in total rebounding but 24th in offensive rebounding.

  • Duke enters the Clemson game leading the nation with a scoring margin of +21.5, including wins in its last six games by an average of 27.7 points.
  • Six of Duke’s 15 wins are by 30+ points, including three ACC wins by 30+.
  • The 39-point margin in the BC win (88-49) was Duke’s largest in an ACC game since beating Georgia Tech, 110-57, on Jan. 3, 2017 and marked the 23rd time in history Duke won an ACC game by 39+ points.
  • Duke has held seven consecutive opponents to less than 65 points -- the second longest streak in the Coach K era. Only an eight-game streak in 2003-04 is longer.
  • The Blue Devils are allowing just 61.0 points over their nine-game winning streak, and for the season, Duke’s 62.3 points allowed ranked 45th nationally.
  • Duke is ranked No. 4 in KenPom’s defensive efficiency, with top-20 ranks in both defensive steal percentage (12.7; 15th) and blocked shots percentage (15.7; 10th) -- one of two teams nationally in the top 15 for both (Florida State).
  • Duke’s 75-50 win over Brown and the 88-49 BC win marked the first time since the 2010-11 season that consecutive Duke foes scored 50 or less -- 83-48 vs. Bradley (Dec. 8) and 84-47 vs. Saint Louis (Dec. 11).

Vernon Carey Jr. leads the Blue Devils in both scoring and rebounding, nearly averaging a double-double with 17.4 points per game and 8.6 rebounds. Carey also leads the team in blocks at 2 per game. Tre Jones leads the Blue Devils in assists at 7 per game, he also averages 14.9 points and a team leading 2.3 steals per game. Cassius Stanley and Matthew Hurt round out the double figure scorers for the Blue Devils with 11.5 and 11.2 points per game respectively. The Blue Devils are 27th in the nation in assists.

Clemson is going to be very amped up for this game, I could easily see them outplaying the Blue Devils in the early minutes, wanting to prove their win against UNC was not based on the Tar Heels having a down year so far. Duke will need to weather the storm and limit turnovers. If Duke can block out the noise and approach the game methodically and do waht they do they should have no problem with the Tigers. 

Best case scenario is Duke jumps on the Tigers early as they did against Wake and not have to look back.

Probable Starting Lineups


Guard - Tre Jones - 6'3, 185lbs
Guard - Jordan Goldwire - 6'2, 185lbs
Guard - Cassius Stanley - 6'6, 193lbs
Forward - Matthew Hurt - 6'9, 214lbs
Center - Vernon Carey - 6'10, 270lbs


Guard - John Newman III - 6'5, 197lbs
Guard - Clyde Trapp - 6'4, 194lbs
Guard - Al-Amir Dawes - 6'2, 175lbs
Forward - Tevin Mack - 6'6, 227lbs
Forward - Aamir Simms - 6'8, 240lbs

Stats Comparison

Duke FG%
Clemson FG%
Clemson 3PT FG%
Clemson FT%
Clemson PPG

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