#7 Virginia (20-4, 9-3) at Duke (18-6, 7-4)
When: Saturday, February 13th 2016
Where: Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, NC
Time: 4:30 ET | TV: ESPN
The Virginia Cavaliers’ stingy defense will go up against the high-scoring Duke Blue Devils Saturday afternoon in Durham. Virginia’s 2-3 conference start is a thing of the past as last year’s top-ranked scoring defense has clamped down to help the Cavs win their last eight games. Three of those victories have come on the road including wins at Louisville and Pittsburgh. Virginia has held its last three opponents to 50 points or fewer and are now ranked third in the country allowing just 59.6 points a game. The Cavaliers recorded a fourth consecutive double-digit victory Tuesday, defeating Virginia Tech 67-49 to remain one-half game behind conference-leading North Carolina. However, the back-to-back regular-season league champions haven’t defeated the Blue Devils during the regular season since 2012-13. In those last four games, Virginia has trailed for a total of 1 minute, 19 seconds. Malcolm Brogdon (team-high 17.7 points), who has connected on 26 straight free throws, has scored in double figures in 23 straight games. Isaiah Wilkins (4.6 points) countered with a career-high 14 points against the Hokies, falling one point shy of matching his output over the last five games combined.
The Blue Devils are eighth in the country and tops in the ACC in scoring at 84.3 points a game. Duke ended January on a 1-4 skid, but have rebounded to win their first three February games. Monday’s 72-65 home win over Louisville marked the first of four games in which they will face the top three teams in the ACC in a 12 day span. Duke still remains just two games behind North Carolina in the conference race and they will face the Tar Heels on Wednesday. Grayson Allen, who has nailed his last 19 free throws and is 15-of-23 from three-point land in the last four games, has scored at least 27 points in three of his last five games. Brandon Ingram (16.9 points, 6.8 rebounds) has recorded four double-doubles in the last six games and leads all ACC freshman in double-doubles (six) and rebounding while ranking second among league rookies in scoring and blocks (1.6). Duke leads the all-time series 117-50 and has won the last 16 meetings at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
This Duke team is gaining confidence as the season wears on, but I worry a little about their lack of depth. They use just a six-man rotation and Virginia’s defense can wear you down. Still, I think they have enough at home today to take down the Cavs.
Pick: Duke -1.5