The No. 7 Duke Blue Devils (25-3, 13-4) travel north to face the Virginia Cavaliers (20-7, 12-5 ACC) in an Atlantic Coast Conference showdown on Saturday in Charlottesville, Va. A win for the Cavaliers would move them into a tie for third in the ACC standings with one week to play.
Both schools have clinched a double-bye in the ACC Tournament. This will be the first and only time these two conference rivals meet up this season. The Blue Devils are a 3.5-point favorite in the contest.
What to Know – Duke
Duke comes into Saturday evening looking to bounce back from a double-overtime loss (113-101) at Wake Forest. It was the Blue Devils’ second loss in three games after suffering a 22-point blowout loss to North Carolina State the previous week. This will be the final road test of the regular season for Duke, who are 7-3 on the road this year.
Four Blue Devils average in double figures, led by freshman center Vernon Carey Jr. (17.6 ppg). Duke’s second-leading scorer, sophomore guard Tre Jones (16.1 ppg), poured in 24 points in Wednesday’s loss to the Demon Deacons. Freshman forward Wendell Moore Jr. had his best game of the season, netting a season-high 25 points on 62.5% shooting from the floor.
The Blue Devils feature the nation’s second-highest scoring offense, averaging 83.3 points per game. Over the last four games, the Blue Devils have totaled 94, 88, 88, and 101 points to raise their season average. On the defensive end, Duke is holding its opponents to 68.2 points per game.
Duke has a current three-game winning streak in Charlottesville and swept both games against the host last season.
What to Know – Virginia
The Virginia Cavaliers head into Saturday’s tilt riding a five-game winning streak. After losing three consecutive conference games in early January, Virginia has rallied to win eight of its last 10 games. The Cavaliers are 12-3 this season inside John Paul Jones Arena.
The win Wednesday night at Virginia Tech marked the ninth consecutive season that the Cavs have notched 20 or more wins.
Although the Cavaliers have the conference’s lowest-scoring offense, three players average in double figures for the host. Leading the Cavs is redshirt senior forward Mamadi Diakite (13.6 ppg). Sophomore guard Kihei Clark (10.8 ppg) and senior guard Braxton Key (10.0 ppg) add scoring options out of the Cavaliers backcourt.
Virginia features the nation’s top-scoring defense, allowing opponents an average of 52.7 points per game. The Cavaliers have one of college’s slowest tempos on offense, scoring just 57.6 ppg. The Cavs are 2-2 against ranked opponents in 2019-20.
The Pick is In
Duke has the more talented team, but the Blue Devils have had their struggles on the road this season. Virginia has won five in a row by an average of 4.4 points. Elite defense wins out here, and the Cavaliers have it. We like the Cavaliers +3.5 at home to keep it close and possibly win outright.