Duke (21-5, 9-4)
Syracuse (18-10, 7-8)
When: February 24 | 6:15 PM (ET)
Where: Cameron Indoor Stadium - Durham, NC
Watch Live: ESPN
The Syracuse Orange like clockwork sit atop the NCAA bubble and are looking for a signature win to push them into the tournament. Currently sitting at 18 wins and 7-8 in the conference, they have work to do. Boeheim and company came close this past week, losing to the Tar Heels 78 - 74. Duke, in Cameron, presents another huge opportunity for Syracuse to grab a win against a top ten school.
Syracuse leans heavily on sophomore guard Tyus Battle, who averages 20.1 points a game and Franklin Howard who comes in at 15.1 points a game and 5 assists. While Battle and Howard are the statistical leaders for the Orange, the most difficult matchup for Duke may be Oshae Brissett, the freshman forward is athletic and long and with the corner 3 being a weakness in Duke's zone, Brissette has shown he can hit that shot as well as drive past a closing defender. Duke will have to either adjust or deal with Brissette having a big game.
Duke's Grayson Allen has been on a hot streak that has coincided with Marvin Bagley III being out with a knee injury. Allen in his last 4 games has averaged nearly 24 points a game and 4 assists and has been the alpha dog along with Wendell Carter Jr. If Marvin Bagley III does return for this game it will be an interesting subplot as to how the team, Allen and Carter react to the change. It's a nice problem to have, incorporating a player of the year candidate back into the lineup, if it happens against Syracuse all eyes will be on how the Blu Devils adjust .Duke has has also had a defensive resurgence going almost exclusively zone and holding 3 straight opponents to under 60 points a game.
Depending on who the Devils sit in the middle of the Syracuse zone, Duke could have a huge game from Gary Trent Jr. and Grayson Allen if they continue their hot shooting streaks from beyond the arc. With both teams utilizing the 2-3 zone, this game could very well come down to the team that wins the rebounding battle and plays good transition defense. Duke will have the advantage playing this game in Cameron where Grayson Allen tends to be able to hit from anywhere on the floor and if Duke can stretch the Syracuse defense, Wendell Carter Jr. could have a huge game in the paint. It's still unclear on the Duke side if they will have Marvin Bagley III that update should come probably mid-day from Duke Sports Information.
Projected Starting Lineups:
F Marvin Bagley III
F Wendell Carter Jr.
G Gary Trent Jr.
G Grayson Allen
G Trevon Duval
C Paschal Chukwu
F Marek Dolezaj
F Oshae Brissett
G Franklin Howard
G Tyus Battle
- Winners of four straight and five of its last six ACC games, No. 5 Duke welcomes Syracuse Saturday at Cameron Indoor.
- Duke has won three straight ACC games when allowing the opponent to score less than 60 points -- it’s the first time that’s happened at Duke since the 1964 ACC Tournament.
- The Blue Devils are allowing 65.4 points over the last 13 games, which ranks top 30 in the NCAA over that span. In ACC play, Duke is fifth in scoring defense (69.8), second in FG defense (.399), and third in three-point defense (.333).
- Senior Grayson Allen was named both the Naismith National Player of the Week and the ACC Player of the Week after averaging 22.0 points, 5.0 assists, and shooting 9-of-18 from three-point range in a pair of wins last week.
- Allen scored 28 in Wednesday’s 82-56 win over Louisville. The Oscar Robertson Award finalist is averaging 23.5 points, shooting .419 (18-of-43) from three-point range and 21-of-21 at the free throw over the four-game win streak.
- Freshman Gary Trent, Jr., leads the ACC in three-point shooting -- both overall (.450) and in ACC play (.485). His .450 percentage also leads all NCAA freshman.
- Freshman Wendell Carter, Jr. has 14 double-doubles this season. He has recorded a double-double in eight of the last 12, and has scored in double-figures in 18 straight games.
- Freshman Marvin Bagley III’s 21.2 points leads five Blue Devils averaging double figures. Duke has an effective field goal percentage of .569 (17th nationally) and is second in offensive efficiency (126.7).