NCAA Basketball Preview
No. 4 Duke Blue Devils (19-2) at No. 10 Clemson Tigers (18-2)
Wednesday, 9:00PM Eastern
Bookmaker.com betting line – Duke -3.5
The no. 10 Clemson Tigers will host the No. 4 Duke Blue Devils inside Little John Coliseum on Wednesday night in a battle of top ten teams with conference implications on the line. The Blue Devils sit a top the standings in the ACC with a 5-1 record while the Tigers are a game behind at 4-2 and can not afford to fall behind anymore if they want to make a run at a possible conference title. While many believe that Clemson does not have the firepower to keep up with the North Carolina, Wake Forest, and Duke’s of the conference, the Tigers will be trying to prove everyone wrong and surprise the nation on Wednesday night. Duke on the other hand was knocked off the number 1 ranking exactly one week ago when they fell to Wake Forest in the closing seconds of the game and they will try to avoid anymore disappointing losses.
The Blue Devils scoring offense is among the best in the ACC slightly behind North Carolina and Wake Forest averaging 81 points per game. However, the Blue Devils make up that difference with their stellar defensive play that has held teams to a mere 59 points which leads the ACC. Kyle Singler leads the Blue Devils scoring attack averaging 16.2 points per game, but had a season low 5 points in Duke’s 79-54 win over Virginia on Sunday. However, emerging standout Gerald Henderson has really picked up the slack over the last month giving the Blue Devils the boost that they will need to be a national contender. In the last 7 games, Henderson is averaging 21 points per game and appears to be the biggest scoring threat on the floor for the Blue Devils at this point in the season. Still it will be the Blue Devils defensive play that likely tells the story in this match-up as they will try to shut down a strong scoring offense from the Clemson Tigers.
Clemson is trying to climb back up the ACC ladder after suffering back to back losses two weeks ago to North Carolina and Wake Forest. The Tigers have not been on the floor since last Wednesday when they got a solid win over Virginia Tech by the score of 86-82. However, Clemson has yet to knock off any of the top ACC teams this year and that has drawn scrutiny from some of the media. However, the Tigers will get a chance to change all that on their own floor where they have played extremely well over the past few seasons. Trevor Booker leads the scoring attack for the Tigers with 14.6 points and 9 boards per contest. K.C Rivers has been equally dangerous over the last few games and posted a big performance last Wednesday against Virginia Tech knocking down 29 points. The Blue Devils will also have a hard time if Tigers guard Terrence Oglesby gets hot from behind the arc. Oglesby has the ability to get very streaky from the perimeter and he could very well be a difference make on Wednesday night.
What to watch for…
Gerald Henderson for Duke seems to put the Blue Devils into an entirely different level of play when he is performing well. Henderson has been hot in recent games and the Blue Devils feed off his performance.
Pick – Duke -3.5