Duke vs Pitt Preview
TUESDAY, MARCH 1, 2022 | PETERSEN EVENTS CENTER | PITTSBURGH, PA | 8 PM ET
Overall Duke leads, 13-8
In Durham, NC Duke leads, 6-3 (6-3 at Cameron Indoor)
In Pittsburgh, PA Duke leads, 6-4 (3-2 at Petersen Events Center)
Last Meeting Pitt, 79-73 (1/19/21 @ Pitt)
Coach K vs. Pittsburgh 7-3
Last 10 Games (Streak) Duke, 7-3 (Pitt, 1)
Network ACC Network
Play-by-Play Dave O’Brien
Analyst Cory Alexander
Producer Alex Farmartino
Network Blue Devil Sports
Play-by-Play David Shumate
Analyst John Roth
Engineer John Rose
Stream GoDuke.com; Varsity app
Duke vs Pitt:
The 25-4 Blue Devils look to keep their road winning streak alive at the Petersen Events Center versus the 11-18 Pitt Panthers. A win would guarantee the Blue Devils a 1-seed heading into the ACC Tournament.
Pitt has won three of its last five, including a 76-67 victory at North Carolina on Feb. 16. The Panthers are 11-18 overall, 6-12 in the ACC. Pitt allows just 67.2 points per game, fifth in the ACC. The Panthers lead the ACC in both free throw attempts (617) and made free throws (432).
John Hugley leads the team in scoring (14.7), rebounding (8.1) and field goal percentage (.459). He has been to the free throw line more (210) and made more (151) than any player in the ACC. Mouhamadou Gueye has connected on a team-leading 40 three pointers and shooting .377 behind the arc. Pitt boasts 3 other double figure scores in Jamarius Burton at 12.7, Fem Odukale at 11.5 and Ithiel Horton at 10.9 per game. Odukale leads the team in assists at 3l5 per game.
Leading the ACC in both field goal defense (.410) and three-point defense (.300), the Blue Devils are the only power conference team leading their respective conference in each category. Duke is 30th nationally this season in defending the three-point line (.300), 55th in field goal defense (.410), 11th in blocked shots (5.6) and sixth in scoring margin (+14.8) — leads ACC in each category.
Duke’s seven-game road winning streak is the longest active by a power conference team and the fourth-longest active overall. The Blue Devils are 8-2 on the road this season — 8-1 in on the road in the ACC with a scoring margin of +12.4, which is on pace to be Duke’s largest on the road in the ACC since 2002 (+12.6). Duke has trailed for a combined 20:21 on the road in the ACC this season — never trailing at North Carolina, Louisville, Clemson and Syracuse and for just 1:45 at Notre Dame (when it was 2-0). Duke has allowed 70+ just twice on the road in regulation — Ohio State (71) and Syracuse (72). The game at FSU was tied at 67 heading to overtime.
Freshman Paolo Banchero leads the Blue Devils win scoring at 16.7 per game, he also leads the team in rebounding at 8.1. Wendell Moore Jr. is the high assist man for the Blue Devils at 4.6 per game to go along with his 13.2 points per game. Freshman AJ Griffin, who scored 10 of Duke’s 13 points in the final 3:39 at Virginia, is averaging 16.7 points and shooting 44-of-81 (.543) from the field and 24-of-42 (.571) from three-point range over Duke’s seven-game road winning streak. Griffin is the team’s second-leading scorer on the road this season (14.7) and a team-best 29-of-51 (.569) from three-point range. Duke is 16-1 this season when Griffin scores in double figures. Sophomore Mark Williams is the nation’s only player shooting better than .700 from the field and .700 at the free throw line (min. 100 FG attempts). His 74 dunks are the third most in a season at Duke. A finalist for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year, Williams leads the ACC and ranks ninth nationally in blocked shots (2.93). Williams is coming off a career-best 28-point, 12-rebound effort at Syracuse. He is 82-of-105 (.781) from the field over the last 17 games and 51-of-64 (.797) over the last nine games.
Duke vs Pitt: Keys to the Game
The biggest obstacle I see for Duke is getting in their own way. When Duke has played down to opponents it’s been in the form of not valuing the basketball. This generally happens in a number of ways the first being turnovers. Pitt is generally looking for a low possession game but will very happy to get easy transition buckets should they be gifted those opportunities. Taking bad shots is another example of not valuing the basketball. Missing shots is a part of the game but taking shots that aren’t coming in the flow of the offense are just as bad as turnovers and often lead to run-outs.
Playing at Syracuse the Blue Devils showed an impressive aptitude for sharing the basketball this game will show whether that was a one off or a trend. They’ve been good at its all season but there are certain spells and spurts when they are prone to head-shaking decisions. At this point in the season they can ill afford to have those dry spells. On the defensive end, securing the defensive exchange is another example of valuing the basketball. Duke has made the adjustment and are allowing a lot less offensive rebounds in this last part of the season. Pitt is going to be looking to play spoiler – especially on their home court, they showed how scrappy they can be against UNC, taking the Tar Heels down in their own gym. Duke will need to be dominant on the boards and limit those extra possessions. If the Blue Devils are fortunate enough to build a working margin it shouldn’t change their mindset. Up by 10, make it 15, up by 15 make it 25.
Pitt is a very adept team at getting to the free throw line. It has to be a point of emphasis for the Blue Devils to guard without fouling. Pitt is going to press the issue and try to get downhill against the Blue Devil guards. Duke has done a great job on the season with managing their fouls but this is what Pitt does so it will behoove the Blue Devils individually to not commit cheap fouls and keep the Panthers out of the bonus for as long as possible.
DUKE VS PITT
OVERALL STAT COMPARISON
DUKE VS PITT
CONFERENCE STAT COMPARISON
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS
DUKE VS PITT
Duke Blue Devils
G Trevor Keels 6’4, 221lbs – Freshman
G / F Wendell Moore 6’5, 213lbs – Junior
F AJ Griffin 6’6, 222lbs – Freshman
F Paolo Banchero 6’10, 250lbs – Freshman
C Mark Williams 7’1, 242lbs – Sophomore
G Jamarius Burton 6’4, 200lbs – Senior
G Ithiel Horton 6’5, 200lbs – Redshirt Junior
G Femi Odukale 6’5, 205lbs – Sophomore
F John Hugley 6’9, 280lbs – Sophomore
F Mouhamadou Gueye 6’10, 200lbs – Graduate Student