Game Preview: Duke Blue Devils vs Pittsburgh Panthers

Brian HoraceGame PreviewsLeave a Comment

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Duke (13-1, 1-1)

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Pittsburgh (8-8, 0-3)

When: Jan. 10 | 7:00 PM (ET)
Where: Peterson Event Center - Pittsburgh, PA

Watch Live: ESPN2

Duke enters Wednesdays game having fallen to 1 - 2 in the ACC and still in need of a strong defensive showing on the road. Duke was systematically picked apart by NC State who despite being a smaller team out rebounded the Devils 34 to 32. Duke allowed the struggling Wolfpack to shoot over 50% for the game.

Duke has another opportunity to show it can win on the road in the Peterson Event Center, where another struggling ACC team will look to make their mark and take down a highly ranked Duke team. Coach K alluded to the fact that he hasn't been able to figure out this team, he has not been able to properly motivate his youngest team ever at Duke to play with the same intensity as their opponent. More troubling than a group of freshmen not handling the situation is the fact that Duke's lone senior Grayson Allen still has not been the consistent leader that Duke has needed. Allen looked listless and unengaged against NC State and that is a huge problem if it isn't remedied. Last year injuries toppled what should have been the most talented team in the country, could chemistry issues do the same this year?

Pitt comes in winless in the ACC and hungry. Led, in scoring by Jared Wilson-Frame, who is averaging 12.9 points a game - coming off the bench since their loss to Miami in their ACC opener. The leading rebounder for Pitt was Ryan Luther who has been injured since mid-December with a stress fracture in his right foot. He was averaging double digit rebounds per game. The starting lineup for the Panthers now consists of 5 freshmen. With Jared Wilson-Frame being the 6th man off of the bench.

Duke, 1 - 2 in the ACC, is led in scoring by freshman Marvin Bagley III, Bagley is also averaging a team high 11.5 rebounds. Grayson Allen, who has been struggling as of late to find his way is averaging 16.8 points and 4.3 assists per game. Each of the 5 Duke starters averages is double figures and each starter is averaging at least 30 minutes a game sans Wendell Carter Jr who comes in at 24.8. Duke is getting very little bench production and against Pitt they will be without key reserves Marques Bolden and Javin DeLaurier, both averaging double figure minutes.

The keys to a Duke victory have been etched in stone all year long:

Shot selection is important
- Establish the inside game
- Control the boards
- DEFEND, DEFEND, DEFEND - Especially the pick and roll, and the perimeter. Duke has struggled in every facet of defense including transition.

Look for Pitt to go after Duke, especially on the inside, if their bigs cam manage to get Wendell Carter Jr or Marvin Bagley in early foul trouble Duke will struggle. With only Jack White and Antonio Vrankovic as reserve bigs Duke has to defend the paint without fouling. Everyone who called for Duke to go to a zone may very well be rewarded in this game, especially if foul trouble occurs. For Duke, they need to develop some consistency and cohesion on offense. The offense currently is go in to Marving Bagley, rinse, repeat. That tactic is all well and good but I feel it leaves Duke's rhythm shooters out of sync. There generally is not much movement around the perimeter when Duke goes iso so shooters like Gary Trent Jr and Grayson Allen are left standing around watching. I believe Duke has to go inside out but shooters need to relocate after feeding the post, continuing to move and make the defense make decisions. The more decisions a defense makes the more of an opportunity for a mistake.

Projected Starting Lineups:

Duke:

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

 

Pittsburgh:

F Terrell Brown
G Shamiel Stevenson
G Parker Stewart
G Marcus Carr
G Khameron Davis

Duke FG Percentage
51.3%
Pittsburgh FG Percentage
43.9%
Duke 3pt Percentage
35.7%
Pittsburgh 3pt Percentage
33.9%
Duke FT Percentage
70%
Pittsburgh FT Percentage
70%
Duke Scoring Average
93.9
Pittsburgh Scoring Average
67.5
  • No. 7 Duke continues its early ACC road stretch with a 7 p.m. match-up Wednesday night at Pitt. Of the Blue Devils’ first six conference games, four are away from Cameron.

  • Duke will be without key reserves Marques Bolden (injured knee) & Javin DeLaurier (injured hamstring).

  • Head coach Mike Krzyzewski is looking for his 500th win away from Cameron Indoor Stadium. Coach K’s road/neutral record while at Duke is 499-210 (.704).

  • The Blue Devils are the only team ranked among the NCAA’s top 10 in scoring (93.9; 2nd), rebounds (44.4; 1st) and assists (20.0; 2nd). The Blue Devils are also second nationally in rebound margin (+12.1) and sixth in field goal pct. (.513).

  • Marvin Bagley III leads the ACC in scoring (22.5) and rebounding (11.5) and is tied for second in the ACC in double-doubles (12). Trevon Duval leads the ACC in assists (6.47), while Grayson Allen leads the league in threes per game (2.80).

  • Pitt comes into the contest with an 8-8 record. The Panthers are on a three-game losing slide, all coming against ACC foes.

  • The Panthers are one of the youngest teams in the country. Pitt’s seven scholarship freshmen are tied with Duke, Mount St. Mary’s and Kentucky for the most in the country.

  • Jared Wilson-Frame leads Pitt in scoring with an average of 12.9 points per game. Just behind him in scoring is Ryan Luther who scores 12.7 per game. Luther also leads the Panthers in rebounding (10.1).

  • Duke is 9-7 all-time versus Pitt, which includes a 3-1 mark since the Panthers entered the ACC in the 2013-14 season.

  • Last season, Duke beat Pittsburgh 72-64 in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Allen led the Blue Devils with 21 points in the victory. Allen and Marques Bolden are the only two active Duke players to have seen time versus Pitt.

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