Syracuse (12-7, 2-4) at Duke (14-4, 3-2)
When: Monday, January 18th 2016
Where: Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, NC
Time: 7:00 ET | TV: ESPN
The Duke Blue Devils will host the Syracuse Orange Monday night on ESPN in what will be the 400th consecutive sell-out at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Blue Devils have hit a bump in the road as they look for another ACC regular season title. They lost both games last week – a 68-63 loss at Clemson and 95-91 home loss to Notre Dame on Saturday. Duke is now two games behind North Carolina with four teams ahead of them in the standings. While Grayson Allen (20.2 points) continues to be the most consistent Blue Devils player, Saturday’s loss to Notre Dame featured strong performances from both of Duke’s freshman stars. Luke Kennard scored a season-high 30 points and has hit at least 50 percent of his shots in four of the last five games, while Brandon Ingram pitched in 25 points for his 11th straight game with at least 14 points. The Blue Devils have four players that shoot at least 40 percent from 3-point range, led by Matt Jones at 42.1%. Duke’s youth and lack of depth are starting to show with the starters each logging over 30 minutes a game and only two players off the bench. Duke will hit the road for three-straight after tonight beginning with North Carolina State on Saturday.
Syracuse will bring their strong defense to Durham in hopes of moving up the ACC standings. The Orange have won back-to-back games after dropping four straight to begin conference play. The Orange are coming off an 83-55 rout at Wake Forest in which Trevor Cooney led four players in double figures. Cooney was 6-for-11 from beyond the arc en route to his 25-point performance. Michael Gbinije still leads the team in scoring (17.2), but his 3-point percentage continues to plummet as he is 8-of-44 over his last seven games. Malachi Richardson had scored at least 10 points in nine of his previous 10 games before he was limited to just five points on 1-of-8 shooting against the Demon Deacons. Tyler Roberson (9.9 points, 8.4 rebounds) has four double-doubles this season, including one in each of the last two games. Syracuse is 33rd in the country in points allowed at 64.4, while holding opponents to just 29% three-point shooting – 12th best. It won’t get any easier after tonight as the ‘Cuse will visit Virginia on Saturday then take on Notre Dame on the 28th.
I hate to lay this many points on a team that’s lost two straight, but I’m going to bite the bullet tonight. Duke needs a win bad and I think Syracuse will come back down to earth after their two blowout wins.
Pick: Duke -11.5