FEB. 29 | JOHN PAUL JONES ARENA | CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA | 6 PM
Overall: 173rd meeting; Duke leads, 121-51
In Durham: Duke leads, 58-10
In Charlottesville: Duke leads, 42-34 (6-3 at JPJ Arena)
At neutral sites: Duke leads, 21-6
Current streak: Duke, W2
Coach K vs. Virginia: 57-19 (57-18 at Duke)
The Blue Devils are in desperate need of a win heading into John Paul Jones Arena. Duke has lost 2 of their last 3 games, both by double digits and both to unranked squads. Both loses came with first place in the ACC on the line and both were on the road. Duke has been plagued by a lack of energy in foreign arenas which they've compounded by making mental mistakes and unforced errors.
Duke vs Virginia
Duke leads the all-time series, 121-51, and has won two straight and five of the last six. The Blue Devils lead the series, 42-34, in Charlottesville (6-3 at JPJ Arena). Duke and Virginia are meeting for the second time in series history with each team having 20+ wins in the regular season. The first such meeting was last year in Charlottesville -- an 81-71 Duke win. The last 10 games in the series (Duke, 7-3) have each been decided by 10 points or fewer with the average margin of victory just 5.2 points.
Virginia has won five straight and eight of the last nine to climb into within two games of first place in the ACC. The 2019 National Champions, Virginia is paced offensively by Mamadi Diakite at 13.5 points, while Braxton Key averages 10.0 points and 7.3 rebounds. Kihei Clark averages 10.0 points and 6.0 assists. The nation’s best scoring defense team, the Cavaliers have not allowed more than 73 points in a game all season, and are yielding just 52.7 per game. Opponents shoot just .372 against UVa, which leads the ACC and is second nationally. Virginia and Duke are second and fourth, respectively, in the ACC in three-point defense.
Duke remains No. 6 in the NET (as of Feb. 27), which is the primary evaluation tool used by the NCAA Men’s Basketball Selection Committee, for which Duke Director of Athletics Kevin White is the chairman. Two of Duke’s losses this season came in back-to-back games without freshman Wendell Moore Jr. (broken hand), while its early-season loss was to Stephen F. Austin on a buzzer-beater in overtime. SFA is 25-3 overall and leads the Southland Conference at 16-1. Neither Moore nor Joey Baker (ankle) played in Duke’s loss at Clemson on Jan. 14. The Blue Devils’ overall strength of schedule is No. 34, while its non-conference strength of schedule is No. 7.
Duke is holding opponents to a .301 mark from three-point range to rank fourth in the ACC and 47th nationally. The Blue Devils are allowing opponents to make an average of just 4.9 threes per game -- the eighth fewest yielded nationally (third fewest among power conference teams). Since January 1, Duke has allowed just 75 made three-pointers -- the second fewest by power conference teams. Fourteen times this season opponents have shot less than .300 from three-point range.
Duke is fifth in the NCAA and leads the ACC in blocked shots per game (6.0). Twenty times this season, Duke has blocked five or more shots, including in eight of the last 11 games. Duke is second in the ACC and 23rd nationally in steals per game (8.4).
Duke is second nationally in scoring offense (83.3) and fourth in scoring margin (+15.0), joining Gonzaga as the only teams in the top five in both categories. Duke is also ranked 18th in field goal percentage (.477), and leads the ACC in all three stats above. Duke is 13-1 this season when scoring 85+ points. Eight of Duke’s 22 wins are by 30+ points, including five ACC wins by 30+, which is a new program record. The program’s previous record for most 30-point wins in ACC play was set in 1997-98, 1998-99 and 2000-01. 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.
Vernon Carey Jr. leads the Blue Devils in both scoring and rebounding, nearly averaging a double-double with 17.6 points per game and 8.8 rebounds. Carey also leads the team in blocks at 2 per game. Tre Jones leads the Blue Devils in assists at 6.5 per game, he also averages 16.1 points and a team leading 2 steals per game. Cassius Stanley and Matthew Hurt round out the double figure scorers for the Blue Devils with 12.4 and 10.5 points per game respectively.
The Blue Devils have not faced a defense quite like the Cavaliers and if they continue to turn the ball over on the road and not play a smart brand of basketball this could end up being another double-digit defeat. The recipie for the Blue Devils is clear - there is a very small margin for error and they must take care of the basketball and be aggressive offensively. UVA will come out with energy and are looking for a signature win to improve their resume. Duke must match that intensity if they have any hope of leaving Virginia with a win.
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 - Kihei Clark - 5’9, 163lbs
Guard - Thomas Woldentensae - 6’5, 196lbs
Guard - -Braxton Key - 6’8, 230lbs
Forward - Jay Huff - 7’1, 243lbs
Forward - Mamadi Diakite - 6’9, 224lbs