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Game Preview: Duke Blue Devils vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

By February 3, 2015April 20th, 2015No Comments

Game Preview

Duke Blue Devils (18-3, 5-3] vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (10-11, 1-8]

Wednesday, February 4, 2015 • 7:01 PM • ESPN2 • Durham, NC • Cameron Indoor Stadium

By Randy Dunson

1. Snapshot


Duke (18-3, 5-3) hosts Georgia Tech (10-11, 1-8) Wednesday, February 4 at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Tipoff is set for 7:01 p.m. with Bob Wischusen (play-by-play) and Dick Vitale (analyst) calling the action for ESPN2. The Blue Devils enter the game ranked No. 4 in the AP Poll and No. 5 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. Duke is 67-15 when ranked No. 4 in the AP Poll. Georgia Tech is unranked in both polls. Duke is the only team in the NCAA to rank in the top 5 of the AP Poll (No. 4), USA Today Coaches Poll (No. 5), Ratings Percentage Index (No. 5) and Strength of Schedule (No. 5). Mike Krzyzewski is one ACC win shy of passing Dean Smith for most conference wins in league history. Krzyzewski is 422-169 at Duke against ACC opponents.

Georgia Tech

Once again looking for a rebound after a heart-breaking loss, Georgia Tech goes back on the road to face a nationally ranked team when it visits No. 4 Duke Wednesday at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Tech, in its fourth season under head coach Brian Gregory, slipped to 10-11 overall and 1-8 at the halfway point of the Atlantic Coast Conference schedule after falling to NC State on Saturday. The Yellow Jackets, who had captured a 70-50 win at No. 23 Miami last Wednesday, have lost seven ACC games by a total of 26 points. This is the only meeting between Tech and Duke during the 2014-15 regular season.


Duke is the fifth game for Georgia Tech against a top-25 team in the last month, and its second against a top-5 team on the road. Tech has two wins against top-10 teams and one against a top-25 team on the road under Brian Gregory. Tech’s strength of schedule is ranked No. 27 in CBS’ RPI rankings. Tech’s future strength of schedule ranks No. 46 in Virginia defeated Tech by 29 points, but the Yellow Jackets’ other seven conference defeats have come by a total of 26 points (3.7 points per game), two of those in overtime. Tech’s other seven ACC losses have come by seven, one, seven, three, five, two and one points. The seven-point loss at Notre Dame was a double-overtime defeat. • Tech has a minus-0.42 “Luck” rating,’s measure of a team’s number of close games and its success in them. The Jackets rank No. 273 in that category, or to look at it another way, the 78th unluckiest team in the country. Tech ranks eighth in the nation in rebound margin (+8.8) and 10th in offensive rebounds per game (14.4).
2. Last Time Out


In its last outing, Duke scored on 14 of its last 15 possessions to overcome an 11-point second half deficit en route to a 69-63 win at previously undefeated and second-ranked Virginia Saturday. Tyus Jones scored a game-high 17 points, including a game-clinching three-point field goal with 10.4 seconds remaining. He also had four rebounds and four assists in the win. Justise Winslow posted his first career double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds, while Quinn Cook went 3-of-4 from three-point range en route to a 15-point night. Jahlil Okafor added 10 points, nine rebounds (six offensive rebounds), three assists and two steals against the Cavaliers. Duke missed its first nine three-point field goal attempts before going 6-of-8 from long distance over the final six minutes of play.


Game Notes

  • Duke started 18-3 during the 2011, 2006, 2004, and 1999 seasons (since 1996).
  • Duke beat the spread by 11.5 points. That makes the 11th time this season the Blue Devils have beaten the spread.
  • Prior to this game, Duke played 48 Top 25 opponents in the last five seasons with a record of 32-16.
  • Duke has won every game this season (10-0) when its field goal percentage has been 50.9 percent or better.
  • Duke has won every game this season (4-0) after committing eight or fewer turnovers.
  • The Blue Devils have won 92 percent of the time this season (12-1) after recording four or more blocks.
  • Duke has won every game this season (10-0) when opponents record eight or fewer free throws made.
  • Duke has won every game this season (8-0) after holding an opponent to under 23.1 percent three-point percentage.
  • This season Duke has won 86 percent of the time (18-3) when Jahlil Okafor has 10 points or more, 73 percent of the time (8-3) when Quinn Cook plays 36 minutes or more, and 86 percent of the time (6-1) when Tyus Jones has five field goals made or more.
  • Duke set a season low for steals (4).
  • The top two scorers (Tyus Jones and Justise Winslow) accounted for 46.3 percent of the points.
  • Justise Winslow accounted for 32.3 percent of the team’s rebounds.
  • Tyus Jones has led the team in scoring in five out of 21 games this season.
  • Justise Winslow has led the team in rebounding in three out of 21 games this season.
  • Tyus Jones has five straight double-digit point games.
  • Quinn Cook has four straight double-digit point games.
  • Jahlil Okafor has 21 straight double-digit point games.
  • Justise Winslow recorded the first double-digit rebound game of his career.
  • Justise Winslow recorded a double-double. It was the first of his career.


Georgia Tech

In its last outing, junior forward Marcus Georges-Hunt scored 23 points for Georgia Tech, but the Yellow Jackets fell to NC State 81-80 in overtime on Saturday. Trevor Lacey scored 19 points and hit a straightaway 3-pointer at the overtime buzzer to clinch the win for NC State. Sophomore forward Quinton Stephens missed two free throws with 4.7 seconds remaining that would’ve given Georgia Tech a four-point lead, but Cody Martin grabbed a defensive rebound and passed up court to a racing Lacey, who stopped short of 3-point line to hit the winner. Junior forward Charles Mitchell had 18 points and freshman guard Travis Jorgenson 14 for Georgia Tech (10-11, 1-8). The Yellow Jackets led by four with 19 seconds remaining, but Lacey hit a layup to make it 80-78 and then closed with flurry. Georgia Tech, which was coming off a 20-point win at Miami, trailed by 14 points five times in the first half, taking their first lead when Georges-Hunt’s three-point play made it 51-49 with 10:35 left in regulation. In the closing seconds of regulation, Georges-Hunt had two chances to win it but missed a runner with 4.7 seconds remaining and was called for charging. Lacey’s desperation 3 from just inside the half-court line bounced off the rim as the buzzer sounded. The Yellow Jackets outrebounded NC State 49-31, but they forced just eight turnovers.


Game Notes

  • Georgia Tech started 10-11 during the 2010, 2008, and 1999 seasons (since 1996).
  • Georgia Tech has played in two overtime games this season. Over the last five seasons, the Yellow Jackets have played in nine overtime games with a record of 1-8.
  • The Yellow Jackets have been unlucky eight times this season in games decided by five or fewer points. Since 2009, Georgia Tech is 22-35 in close games.
  • The Yellow Jackets have lost 78 percent of the time this season (2-7) after having a field goal percentage of 39.7 percent or worse.
  • When the opposition shoots a field goal percentage of 48.4 percent or better this season, Georgia Tech has lost 100 percent of the time (0-3).
  • When the opposition records 10 or more three-pointers this season, Georgia Tech has lost 100 percent of the time (0-3).
  • When the opposition shoots a three-point percentage of 45.5 percent or better this season, Georgia Tech has lost 100 percent of the time (0-3).
  • The Yellow Jackets set season highs for rebounds (49) and total points (80).
  • Georgia Tech has recorded fewer three-pointers than their opponents for the past four games.
  • This is the 11th game at home this season–GT has a 3.9 average scoring margin against opponents at home.
  • The top two scorers (Marcus Georges-Hunt and Charles Mitchell) accounted for 51.2 percent of the points.
  • The top two rebounders (Charles Mitchell and Demarco Cox) accounted for 42.8 percent of the rebounds.
  • Marcus Georges-Hunt has led the team in scoring in 10 out of 21 games this season.
  • Charles Mitchell has led the team in rebounding in 10 out of 21 games this season.
  • This marks the eighth 20-point game of Marcus Georges-Hunt’s career.
  • Marcus Georges-Hunt has three straight 20+ point games.
  • Demarco Cox recorded the fourth double-digit rebound game of his career.
  • Demarco Cox recorded a double-double. It was his first this season and fourth of his career.
  • Demarco Cox had a career high with eight offensive rebounds.
  • Charles Mitchell recorded the 18th double-digit rebound game of his career.
  • Charles Mitchell recorded a double-double. It was his sixth this season and 11th of his career.


3. Head-to-Head

Georgia Tech and Duke played twice last season for the first time since the 2009-10 season, when the teams also played each other in the ACC Tournament. The Blue Devils swept the regular season series with a 79-57 win in Durham and a 68-51 win in Atlanta. Duke has won 31 of the last 34 games in the

series and the last seven in a row. The Blue Devils won 11 of the last 13 meetings at Alexander Memorial Coliseum and posted a 21-13 lead over Tech in games played on the Jackets’ former home court, as well as a 25-16 mark in games played in Atlanta. Duke’s win on February 18 was its first game at McCamish Pavilion. Duke leads the overall series 68-23, and is 55-19 against Tech since the Jackets joined the ACC. Tech’s best stretch of the series occurred between 1982 and 1989, with 10 wins in 17 meetings. Tech has never won more than two in a row. Tech is 19-57 against Duke teams coached by Mike Krzyzewski, 12-19 in games played in Atlanta. Tech has won just five of 38 games played at Cameron Indoor Stadium, the first four coming in (1959, 1984, 1987 and 1996). Tech’s most recent win occurred on Mar. 3, 2004 in a 76-68 victory, which snapped a 41-game home court winning streak for the Blue Devils. Tech is 3-7 against the Blue Devils in ACC Tournament encounters. Tech defeated Duke on the way to each of its three tournament titles, including semifinal victories in 1985 and 1990 and a first-round triumph in 1993. The Blue Devils have defeated Tech three times in championship games (1986, 2005, 2010).

In terms of a few key offensive and defensive statistical parameters, Although Duke’s stats continue to decrease/increase (where appropriate) since beginning ACC play, they still have a significant edge over Georgia Tech in all categories except rebound margin where Tech ranks ninth in the country. Overall, this gives the Blue Devils a significant statistical edge head-to-head.


Duke 2014-15 Regular Season Key Stats Comparison Georgia Tech
80.6 (+16.0) PPG (Scoring Margin) 64.6 (+0.8)
64.5 Opponents PPG 63.8
56.3 Effective FG% 44.8
49.7 FG% 41.3
42.6 Opponent FG% 43.2
37.6 3PT FG% 25.7
29.7 Opponent 3PT FG% 31.2
37.9 (+6.9) RPG (Rebound Margin) 38.7 (+8.8)
31.0 Opponent RPG 30.0
15.3 APG 11.5
7.3 SPG 5.6
11.2 (+1.4) Turnovers Per Game (Margin) 12.7 (-1.2)
12.6 Opponent TOPG 11.5
3.6 BPG 3.4


4. Four Factors to Winning

[If you wish to learn more about how the four factors are calculated and implemented, a description can always be found here,]

Duke-GA Tech 4Fs


Duke has the edge in three of the four factors. When it comes to shooting the ball more efficiently, the edge is 56.3% vs. 44.8%. The edge in handling the ball is 16.6% vs. 19.6%, and finally when it comes to getting to the free throw line, Duke is at 42.4% vs. 32.7%. Georgia Tech has the edge in offensive rebounding (39.8% vs. 37.1%).

5. Key Points to Consider

First, a few points regarding both team’s overall profile at this point:



  • Makes the most of its possessions
  • Hard to score against
  • Commits few fouls

Georgia Tech

  • Crashes the glass hard


Now, a few key points to consider (refer to the Endgame). These may often carry over to future games but keys specific to a current opponent will always be mentioned.


  • Can Georgia Tech ContainOkafor?
    • Charles Mitchell and Demarco Cox for Georgia Tech are big men that should be able to move Okafor off of the spots he wants to get to because of their size and strength.
    • Just the same way you saw Connecticut make catches and movement on the interior difficult for Okafor, Georgia Tech will need to be able to make a similar effort.
    • Defensively, when Tech does double up on Okafor, the Jackets are going to have to do a good job of cutting off passing lanes to shooters while keeping an eye on possible cutters to the rim .
  • Is This a Potential Trap Game?
    • So why could this be a trap for Duke? Because the Blue Devils come off a very physically and emotionally draining win at No. 2 and unbeaten Virginia on Saturday.
    • Then after this game, Duke hosts No. 10 Notre Dame, which just beat the Blue Devils in a come-from-behind victory on January 28 in South Bend.
    • So it might be easy for Duke to somewhat overlook a bad Georgia Tech team.
    • There’s no sense dwelling on what happened last. No matter what you did in the last game you’ve got to put that behind you.
  • Avoid Tech Shutting Down the Drive
    • Georgia Tech is not a good shooting team. The Yellow Jackets only shoot 41.3% from the field and 25.7% from behind the arc. If Georgia Tech has any hopes of beating the Blue Devils on the road, they’re going to have to step up their interior defense by shutting down drives and stopping Jahlil Okafor from getting the ball on the blocks.
    • It makes more sense to force Duke into taking three-point shots. Duke will hit many of them, but at least Okafor won’t be dominating in the paint and Duke’s guards won’t be setting up three-point plays with layups.
  • Quinn Cook,Tyus Jones, and Justice Winslow Need to be Involved
    • Because Jahlil Okafor is the best player in college basketball, the Devils to want to get him going early.
    • However, the Blue Devils best performance of the year was this past Saturday when they beat Virginia 69 to 63 on the road as a +5.5 underdog. These were the performance lines for Jones, Cook and Winslow:
      • Tyus Jones – 17 points, 4 assist, 4 boards
      • Quinn Cook – 15 points, 1 assist, 3 boards
      • Justise Winslow – 15 points, 2 assists, 11 boards
    • When the other Duke players are involved, scoring points, dishing assists and grabbing boards, the Blue Devils are going to be hard to beat.

6. Endgame

The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets dropped to 10-11 (1-8 ACC) on the season after losing 81-80 in overtime to the NC State Wolfpack this past Saturday. Georgia Tech allowed NC State to shoot 48.4% from the field and 45.5% (10-22) from beyond the arc in the loss. Leading the way for the Yellow Jackets was Marcus Georges-Hunt who had 23 points, seven rebounds, and three assists. Georgia Tech is ranked 93rd in the RPI Standings and has played the 19th ranked SOS. On the season, the Yellow Jackets have been led by Marcus Georges-Hunt (14.0 PPG, 5.6 RPG, and 1.7 APG) and Charles Mitchell (10.0 PPG, 7.3 RPG).

Offensively, Georgia Tech is averaging 64.6 PPG (ranked 245th) on 41.3% shooting (ranked 269th). The Yellow Jackets average just 4.1 three-pointers per game (ranked 334th) on 25.7% three-point shooting (ranked 343rd). Defensively, Georgia Tech is holding their opponents to an average of 63.8 PPG (ranked 109th) on 43.2% shooting (ranked 203rd). The Yellow Jackets pull down 38.71 RPG (ranked 27th) and have a rebound margin of 8.8 (ranked 9th).

The fourth ranked Duke Blue Devils improved to 18-3 (5-3 ACC) on the season after defeating the second ranked Virginia Cavaliers, 69-63, this past Saturday. Duke shot 50.9% from the field and held Virginia to just 23.1% (3-13) shooting from beyond the arc in the victory. Leading the way for the Blue Devils was Justise Winslow who had a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Duke is ranked fifth in the RPI Standings and has played the fifth ranked SOS. On the season, the Blue Devils have been led by Jahlil Okafor (18.3 PPG, 9.4 RPG, and 1.5 BPG) and Quinn Cook (14.4 PPG, 3.4 RPG, and 2.7 APG). Offensively, Duke is averaging 80.6 PPG (ranked 10th) on 49.7% shooting (ranked 7th). Duke averages 15.3 APG (ranked 34th) and has a 1.37 assist/turnover ratio (ranked 23rd). Defensively, Duke is allowing their opponents to average 64.5 PPG (ranked 136th) on 42.6% shooting (ranked 175th). The Blue Devils is holding their opponents to 29.7% shooting from beyond the arc (ranked 27th) and pull down 37.86 total RPG (ranked 40th).

Duke hit some big three-pointers towards the end of the game to get a huge victory over the previously undefeated Virginia Cavaliers. Georgia Tech used a big second half to force their game into OT and lost in heart breaking fashion do to a last second three-pointer by NC State. Georgia Tech has lost 8 of their last 9 games, however, they have been competitive in the majority of those games. Georgia Tech defends the three-pointer well and has some good size to battle Okafor and this could bode well for the Jackets.

My bottom line is that this will be another typical close ACC game but Duke should turn on the burners full speed ahead in the second half and  beat Tech easily.

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