Preview: Duke Blue Devils vs the Virginia Cavaliers

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January 19, 6:00PM
Cameron Indoor Stadium
ESPN

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JUNIOR FORWARD JAVIN DeLAURIER
On Virginia’s experience

“They are a very good team and one of the best teams in the country, but our outlook on it is the same. Go win the game and come ready to fight and defend Cameron [Indoor Stadium]. Obviously not having Tre hurts a little bit but guys have to step up and we are excited for the opportunity.”

On playing Virginia at home from last year’s defeat

“We haven’t really looked at it like that. Last year they came in here and beat us and it was a tough game, but it’s a new year and a new team with an entirely different group so it’s kind of hard bringing back old feelings of losing to them when it is a whole new group. For us, it is just a game we have to win and we know that they are one of the last two undefeated teams in the country so hopefully on Saturday we will be able to change that.”

Biggest challenge they present

“Best thing about them is that they work so well without the ball. They can confuse defenses and they move defenses a lot and if you don’t talk and miss an assignment they will make you pay for it. They also do a great job controlling the pace of the game. So, for us is it is crucial that we value the ball and when we get it, we can’t give it right back to them after working our butts off on defense.”

Playing against players he knows (being from Virginia)

“It is where I am from. I went to high school (Saint Anne's-Belfield) two minutes away from the John Paul Jones Arena. It is an important game and I know a lot of good guys that I played with from high school so it will be fun.”

Preparing the younger guys for this game

“We don’t even have to tell them. They see it, they see the film and they know they are really good. For the guys that were here last year we know how bad it felt so we told them this is an ACC game that we desperately need to win. We really don’t want to drop two in a row at home and getting a win against a really good team will be great for us.”

JUNIOR FORWARD JACK WHITE
On facing the Cavaliers

“You’ve got to be poised and strong and trust Coach. Coach has the game plan for us and we are looking forward to the challenge as they are a great team, one of the best in the country and obviously undefeated so it is going to be a big game for us and a big game for us to prove ourselves and prove our maturity. But we just have to be us and at the end of the day we can’t shy away from who we are. We have to stick to our strengths and trust in one another and believe in coach and go out there and play hard.”

On defense throughout the season

“Defense has been an emphasis for us since the Canada Tour and I think it is a big part of our team identity now. We feel like our athleticism, length, and our ability to get guys on the same page makes us one of if not the best defensive team in the country. It takes focus on each play and with Tre out he is one of if not the best defenders in the conference and the country with what he does. He played five minutes and had four steals [against Syracuse] so he is a great point guard and he is unbelievable on that end. But guys like Jordan Goldwire, RJ (Barrett) and all these guys are stepping up in that guard position that can fill that hole that he leaves if he doesn’t play and we have confidence in everyone to step up and lock it down on that end. I think a good thing about our team is that we like to play defense and everyone takes pride in locking up and they know the effect it can have on our team. It gives us energy, it gives the Cameron Crazies energy and is a big part of our game that creates easy offense and we just have to keep going with it.”

Stopping Virginia’s offense

“It is going to be a fight on both ends of the floor and they are a great defensive team. They got guys on the offensive end that can do a lot of things and they have seven of their eight guys that can stretch the floor and hit threes and we have to be ready for that and locked in. But it is going to be a play by play fight and two great teams going up against one another and we just have to be ready to compete and fight every play and not get discouraged if things don’t go our way and if they do we can’t let that get us to high, we just have to stay ahead and fight.”


Virginia is led by junior Kyle Guy who averages 15.3 points per game, Guy is shooting 46.7% from beyond the archer the Hoos. Ty Jerome leads the Cavaliers in assists with 4.9 assists per game and 13.2 points. Braxton Key, off the bench, leads the UVA in rebounding with 5.6 per game, Key also averages 7.4 points in his first season at UVA as a transfer. The Wahoos are 7th in the nation in 3 point percentage, 8th in free throw percentage and first in turnovers.

Tony Bennett has always managed to create imposing defensive teams in his time in Charlottesville. Say what you will about the pace in which Virginia plays but they are about choking the life out of opposing offensive and they have been able to impose their will consistently - making good teams look and function below average. Bennet has done a masterful job of creating and recruiting players that can both thrive in his defensive philosophy but also can light it up on the offensive end. UVA is not the old UVA that has any trouble on the offensive end. This team can run if the situation calls for it and can put the ball in the basket. There have been no discernible weaknesses in this Virginia team as of yet.

Overview of the Pack Line Defense:

The ‘Pack Line’ defense is a variation of man-to-man defense. The biggest difference between the two is that instead of the off-ball defenders being out pressuring their player and denying the pass, everyone except the player guarding the ball must be inside an imaginary line 16 feet from the rim. This 16ft line is know as the pack line.

At all times there must be one defender pressuring the player with the basketball, and four defenders in gap/help positions. The only exception is if the offensive player picks up the dribble and it becomes a ‘dead ball’, then all players can go out and deny looking for the steal. What could be a saving grace for Duke is the Devils boast ball handlers at evert position but the 5 and Duke is an excellent passing team.

R.J. Barrett leads Duke in scoring at 23.4 per game to go along with 4.1 assists and 6.3 rebounds. Zion Williamson leads the Blue Devils in rebounding at 9.4 per game and scores at a 21.2 a game clip. Tre Jones is the assist leader for the Blue Devils with 5.7 a game although Jones's status for Saturday is still uncertain.

The Blue Devils, against Syracuse, shot 9-for-43 from beyond the arc, even for a Duke team this is an inordinate amount of 3 point shots. It's hard to really use this game as a measure of the Blue Devils being down two starters. It does underscore a point that without the benefit of Tre Jones (whose status currently is unclear) Duke becomes a different animal. Jones is not only the best pure defender but he is the trigger offensively. Jones is the leading assist man in the ACC and his decisions on the break as well as in the half court allow his teammates to be who they are. Without Jones, everything shifts, roles change - and not for the better. With Jones UVA would be the tallest task this Duke team will face in the regular season, without Duke, the effort becomes herculean.

The Blue Devils will have to execute from beyond the arc to have a chance in this game. Duke will not be able to depend on fast break opportunities against UVA who leads the country in NOT turning the ball over.

The Series So Far:

Overall: 171st meeting; Duke leads, 119-51
In Durham: Duke leads, 57-10 (52-9 at Cameron Indoor)
In Charlottesville: Duke leads, 41-34
At neutral sites: Duke leads, 21-6
Current streak: Virginia, W1
Coach K vs. Virginia: 55-19 (55-18 at Duke)

Media Info:

TV: ESPN (Dan Shulman/Jay Bilas/Maria Taylor)
WatchESPN: Internet
Radio: Blue Devil IMG Sports Network (David Shumate/John Roth)
National Radio: n/a
Sirius/XM: 94 / 193 (Duke broadcast)

DUKE 3PT SHOOTING PERCENTAGE
31.8%
UVA 3PT SHOOTING PERCENTAGE
40.9%
DUKE SHOOTING PERCENTAGE
48.8%
UVA SHOOTING PERCENTAGE
48.1%
DUKE FREE THROW PERCENTAGE
67.7%
UVA FREE THROW PERCENTAGE
77.7%
Duke PPG
90.3
UVA PPG
74.3

Duke Probable Starters

  • G Tre Jones 6'2, 183lbs*
  • F R.J. Barrett 6'7, 202lbs
  • F Cam Reddish 6'8, 218lbs
  • F Zion Williamson 6'7, 285lbs
  • C Javin DeLaurier 6'10, 234lbs

Virginia Probable Starters

  • G Ty Jerome 6'5, 195lbs
  • G Deandre Hunter 6'7, 225lbs
  • G Kyle Guy 6'2, 175lbs
  • F Mamadi Diakite 6'9, 228lbs
  • C Jack Salt 6'10, 250lbs
*Tre Jones status is currently unknown

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