Duke (12-4, 1-2) – Virginia (12-4, 3-0) Preview
Randy Dunson & Brian Horace
January 13, 2014
Virginia (12-4, 3-0) completes its two-game ACC road trip at Duke (12-4, 1-2) on Monday, January 13. Although currently unranked, Virginia has impressive stat rankings in two categories, #22 RPI and #14 SOS. The Cavaliers aim for its fourth consecutive win and first 4-0 ACC start since 1994-95, when its fourth win was a 91-88 double overtime win vs. Duke on January 14, 1995, marking its last win at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Cavaliers look to snap their 15-game losing streak at Duke. As of January 12, Virginia (UVa) is tied for first in the ACC with a 3-0 record, while Duke is tied for seventh at 1-2. Virginia is 0-2 vs. ranked opponents this season and 7-15 against ranked foes under head coach Tony Bennett. The Cavaliers rank third in the nation in scoring defense at 55.2 points per game. Virginia aims for its first three-game ACC road-winning streak since 2006-07 (January 24-February 6 – NC State, Clemson, and Maryland).
Duke is ranked No. 16 in the Associated Press and No. 13 in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll. The Blue Devils are 11-10 all-time when ranked No. 16 in the AP Poll. The No. 16 ranking is Duke’s lowest since Duke was ranked No. 21 on March 8, 2007. The Blue Devils are 1-2 in ACC play for the first time since the 2006-07 season. Both of Duke’s ACC losses have come on the road at Notre Dame and at Clemson. Duke has held six of its past eight opponents under 70 points, including three of the past five under 60 points. Duke has won 25 consecutive games in Cameron Indoor Stadium, tied for the second longest active streak in the nation. Duke is averaging 88.7 points per game at home this season compared to 75.0 in neutral site and road games.
Team Seasons Thus Far
The Cavaliers defeated NC State 78-45 on January 11, marking their largest margin of victory (31 points) against the Wolfpack in Raleigh in series history. Mike Tobey and Joe Harris led UVa with 16 points each, while Malcolm Brogdon added 13 points and Akil Mitchell had a game-high 12 rebounds. London Perrantes added a game-high five assists and no turnovers. Virginia limited the nation’s fifth-leading scorer, State’s T.J. Warren (23. 4 PPG) to just four points. The Cavaliers shot a season-best 83.3 percent (15-of-18) from the charity stripe. The Cavaliers had seven turnovers, their second lowest total this season (6 at Florida State). UVa held NC State to 28.9 percent (13-of-45) from the floor and out-rebounded the Wolfpack, 40-28. The 31-point loss was NC State’s most lopsided loss at home since 1993. The 31-point road win was the second highest for UVa under Tony Bennett (32 at Georgia Tech, Jan. 19, 2012).
Virginia has three consecutive games after losing by 35 points at Tennessee on Dec. 30. The Cavaliers re-established their identity with wins over Florida State (62-50), Wake Forest (74-51), and NC State (76-45) to begin ACC play. The Cavaliers’ success has been highlighted by its third-ranked defense, rebounding and balanced scoring. The Cavaliers are yielding 55.2 points per game and grabbing 55.7 percent of the rebounds, ruling the glass in 13 of 16 games and enjoying a +8.6 average rebound margin per game. UVa also ranks eighth in the nation in field goal percentage defense at 36.9 percent. Virginia is averaging 65.9 points per game, marking their highest total under head coach Tony Bennett. Virginia is averaging 25.9 bench points and has scored 43.3 percent of its points in the paint.
UVa sports a balanced scoring attack, led by All-ACC performer senior guard Joe Harris at 10.7 points per game. Harris suffered a concussion at Florida State, but returned to action against Wake Forest. Versatile sophomore guard Justin Anderson, who has led Virginia in scoring in four of the last six games, has recorded 9.6 points and 4.4 RPG. Sophomore guard Malcolm Brogdon is second on the team in scoring (10.1 PPG) and rebounding (5.3 RPG) and has added a team-leading 1.2 SPG. Sophomore forward Anthony Gill, who has led the team in scoring in four games, has registered 8.2 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. Sophomore forward/center Mike Tobey has chipped in 7.1 points and 4.7 rebounds per game, while senior forward Akil Mitchell has added 6.6 points and a team-best 6.4 rebounds per game. Freshman point guard London Perrantes leads the Cavaliers with 3.4 assists per game.
Duke Blue Devils
Duke fell 72-59 at Clemson last Saturday in Littlejohn Coliseum. Clemson outscored Duke 41-22 in the second half and ended the game on an 18-5 run over the final 7:35. Rodney Hood logged his third straight 20-point game for Duke, finishing with a team-high 20 points on 7-of-16 shooting from the field and 3-of-5 from three-point range. Jabari Parker added 15 points, seven rebounds, and two blocks, while Quinn Cook logged eight points and seven assists with just one turnover. Clemson overcame Hood and Parker’s production with three players recording a double-double, as Jaron Blossongame (14 points, 14 rebounds), K.J. McDaniels (24 points, 10 rebounds) and Landry Nnoko (10 points, 13 rebounds) all contributed to Clemson out-rebounding Duke 48-30. Duke shot a season-low .339 (20-of-59) from the field and hit just 8-of-32 (.250) field goals in the second half.
Duke is looking to improve to 10-0 on the season at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Blue Devils have won at least 10 home games in 18 straight seasons and 30 times overall under Mike Krzyzewski. Duke has won 23 straight home games against unranked opponents, dating back to a 78-74 overtime loss to Miami on February 5, 2012. Duke has lost back-to-back games just once since the 2009-10 season and is 22-1 following a loss during that span. Duke is 3-0 following a loss this season with an average margin of victory of 21.7 points. Duke continues to lead the ACC in scoring (82.7 PPG) and FG% (.484). The Blue Devils have scored 80 or more points 10 times, while shooting 50 percent or better from the field on six occasions. Duke averages 21.4 points per game from its bench this season, compared to 10.5 per game in 2012-13. When not in a starting role, leaders off the bench continue to be Rasheed Sulaimon (8.9 PPG), Andre Dawkins (8.2 PPG), and Amile Jefferson (6.3 PPG & RPG). They complement Duke’s scoring trio of Rodney Hood, Jabari Parker, and Quinn Cook. Hood has scored 20 or more points in each of the last three contests, including a pair of 27-point efforts. He is averaging 24.7 points per game in that span, while shooting .511 (23-of-45) from the field, .591 (13-of-22) from three-point range and .882 (15-of-17) from the free throw line. Parker has a team-high 10 20-point games and is tied with Gene Banks (1977-78) who holds the school freshman record with 11 games of 20 or more points scored. Cook, who ranks among the ACC’s top 10 in assists (6.1, 2nd), FT% (.870, 3rd), minutes (35.6, 4th), A/TR (3.3, 5th) and SPG (1.8, t-6th). He also ranks tied for 18th with 13.6 PPG.
Virginia meets Duke for the 165th time. Virginia is 49-115 all-time vs. Duke, including a 10-55 mark in Durham, in the series that dates back to 1910-11. The Cavaliers are 2-8 in their last 10 games vs. Duke and 3-17 in their last 20. Virginia defeated Duke 73-68 last season in Charlottesville behind Joe Harris’ career-high 36 points.
Analyzing the differences between the teams, Duke has an edge in one important area, scoring, where the Blue Devils have the upper hand over the Cavaliers, 82.7 points per game to 65.9 points per game. Areas of strength for Duke include TO% at 14.1 and eFG% at 56.2. Areas of strength for the Cavaliers include an OR% of 35.8 and shooting free throws (FT Rate 45.4%). Virginia also does a better job contesting shots (37.4 percent allowed vs. 44.9 percent allowed) than Duke this season.
Duke will face a tough task on both ends of the floor against Virginia, recent troubles aside. Joe Harris is a monster and if Duke does not lock him up this could be a disaster for the Devils. Justin Anderson is a beast of a guard and one that could give Duke guards trouble in terms of rebounding, at 227 lbs and 6’6” he may be the X-factor for UVA. Duke already has monumental issues with boxing out opponents and although UVA is not a big team they are a team with a defensive mindset and we expect a low scoring affair unless Duke can get out of its defensive funk. Virginia is a good offensive rebounding team and that does spell trouble for Duke if it does not clean the glass. The key stats for Duke never seem to change because they have yet to address them game after game. Rebounding and defense are the key stats and will be so until Duke is able to correct their issues with them.
We will give Duke the edge simply because of the home-court advantage. Duke has not played well much no matter the venue but has escaped a home loss so far. Tony Bennett will not allow his team to be rattled by the atmosphere so Duke will have to tough this game out, and tough is the operative word. This game is not about numbers, it is about what those numbers mean…maximum effort on every rebound because they are all important and getting position when shots are taken…they are imperative. Keeping your man in front of you, and not missing defensive assignments. Seems like a lot but when you break it down, but it is just about playing good, fundamental basketball as they have done all their lives. It would nice to see Duke play it with the fervor and intensity that was a hallmark of past Duke teams.