Game Preview ACCT Edition: Duke Blue Devils vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Brian HoraceGame Previews, General InformationLeave a Comment

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Duke (25-6, 13-5)

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Notre Dame (20-13, 8-10)

When: March 8| 7:00 PM (ET)
Where: Barclays Center - Brooklyn, NY

Watch Live: The ACC Network

Duke will begin the ACC Tournament with a formidable Notre Dame team who knocked off both Pitt and Virginia Tech on their way to this quarterfinal matchup. This will be a completely different Notre Dame team than the one that Duke faced earlier in the year when Duke handled a Bonzie Coleman and Matt Farrell-less Irish 88-66. Since returning to action after missing 15 games Colson is averaging 16 points and 9 boards. Duke fans are well aware of what Colson brings to the table as well as Notre Dame as a team. In recent years Mike Brey has given Duke fits although the last 3 games including the last game minus Colson have belonged to the Blue Devils. The Irish have been teetering on the brink of not making the NCAA Tournament but this type of run, especially if they were to win tonight against Duke - along with the return of the pre-season ACC Player of the Year Colson may very well eek out a spot for the Irish in the field.

For Duke, obviously aside from advancing into the semifinals of the ACCT, the ability to give this young Blue Devil squad more reps. Duke is playing well of late and more floor time to work out some of the kinks offensively can only help this team as they head into the NCAA Tournament. If Duke was to somehow win this tournament a possible jump in their respective seeding could also be at stake.

For Duke, limiting Bonzie Colson's effectiveness is paramount. He is an unusual player who's skillset has led him to huge games against the Devils. Colson is a fantastic in and out player who can not only finish in the paint, grab rebounds despite being undersized but has the ability to stroke it from beyond the arc. Since Colson's return the Irish have out rebounded their opponents by an average margin of 9.

Duke getting the double-bye can be both a blessing and a curse in this game. On the positive side, this will be the 3rd game in 3 days for Colson and the Irish and they should start to feel that wear and tear, especially Colson who has just recently been re-integrated back into the lineup after missing 15 games with a broken foot. The hope is that having to comeback from 21 points down just last night will give the Blue Devils an edge in stamina. The negative is that Notre Dame will have had these games under their belt and worked out the nervous energy of playing in the tournament. Generally that first half of the first game is a rough one and an adjustment period, Duke will have to find a way to start strong as the Irish are on a roll. Duke could find themselves down and having to claw back if they come out, as they did against UNC in their last game - slowly.

Duke will continue to try to find a way to get both Grayson Allen and Marvin Bagley III firing on all cylinders at the same time. For most of the year it's been either one of the other but if Duke can find the button to have both offensive juggernauts be able to co-exist with no drop off Duke will be that much dangerous. Defensively the zone presents an interesting subplot to playing Notre Dame. Colson seems to be built for killing a zone, his ability to hit shots, his long arms and passing ability seems a perfect fit for Notre Dame to bust Duke's zone. Duke will settle for 2 point shots over 3's and if Duke is successful on its own offensive end, it may not matter what Notre Dame does.

Projected Starting Lineups:

Duke:

F Marvin Bagley III
F Wendell Carter Jr.
G Gary Trent Jr.
G Grayson Allen
G Trevon Duval

 

Notre Dame:

F Martinas Geben
F Bonzie Colson
G Rex Pflueger
G TJ Gibbs Jr.
G Matt Ferrell

Duke FG Percentage
49.4%
Notre Dame FG Percentage
41.8%
Duke 3pt Percentage
38%
Notre Dame 3pt Percentage
35.9%
Duke FT Percentage
70.5%
Notre Dame FT Percentage
74.4%
Duke Scoring Average
85.1
Notre Dame Scoring Average
70.7

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