Pictured: Isaiah Mucius (middle)
Source: Chris Richards

Preview: Wake Forest at Duke

One of the ACC’s worst teams takes on one of its best as Wake Forest visits Duke on Tuesday evening in the penultimate regular-season game for both. The Demon Deacons are coming off a lopsided home loss to Syracuse, while the No. 4 Blue Devils improved their record to 2-1 without Zion Williamson following a blowout win over Miami on Saturday.

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Wake Forest was within five points early in the second half before going without a basket for over 13 minutes as the Orange ran away with it 79-54. “It’s tough playing against the Syracuse 2-3 (zone),” Wake Forest freshman forward Isaiah Mucius told reporters after the loss. “They’re super athletic. … We tried as best we could. They just played great defense and we had a tough time scoring the ball.” Duke bounced back following last Tuesday’s loss at Virginia Tech with a resounding 87-57 home win over Miami on Saturday where everyone contributed, much to the delight of its head coach. “Our guys played really well today. They responded to the practice we finally had. We had two really good days of practice. Especially our defense; our defense was outstanding. I’m proud of them. Everyone helped us today,” coach Mike Krzyzewski told the media afterward.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN

ABOUT WAKE FOREST (11-17, 4-12 ACC): Sophomore guard Chaundee Brown led the Demon Deacons in scoring against the Orange with 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting, while Mucius added 10 points in 19 minutes off the bench. Leading scorer Brandon Childress (14.6 points) had an off-day with just five points on 1-of-8 shooting, including 1-of-7 behind the arc. Wake Forest shot just 32.7 percent from the field while getting outscored 44-10 in the paint and turned the ball over 23 times against Syracuse.

ABOUT DUKE (25-4, 13-3): Freshman RJ Barrett, the ACC’s leading scorer at 23.1 points per game, scored 19 points on 8-of-18 shooting against Miami, while Cameron Reddish matched him for game-high scoring honors on 7-of-14 from the field. Even Jack White, who hadn’t made a 3-pointer in his last 28 attempts, got in on the action as the junior forward scored nine on 3-for-3 shooting from 3-point range. The Blue Devils completely overwhelmed the Hurricanes, shooting 57.1 percent from the floor and winning the rebounding battle 45-29.

TIP-INS

1. Duke leads the all-time series 172-78 and has won nine straight over Wake Forest, including an 87-65 win earlier this season.

2. Barrett needs 25 points to break the Blue Devils’ all-time scoring record for a freshman. The current record was set last season by Marvin Bagley III (694 points).

3. The Blue Devils lead the ACC in offensive rebounding (13.7 per game) and offensive rebounding percentage (36.1).

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Pictured: R.J. Barrett
Source: Justin K. Aller / Getty Images North America

Williamson out as No. 3 Duke plays at No. 20 Virginia Tech

Duke figured out how to cope without freshman star Zion Williamson for one game.

It will have to do it again Tuesday night when the third-ranked Blue Devils play at No. 20 Virginia Tech in an ACC game in Blacksburg, Va.

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Coach Mike Krzyzewski told reporters Monday that Williamson is making progress from a Grade 1 knee sprain suffered last Wednesday, but he added that the program will be cautious about the forward’s return.

“There’s no timetable,” Krzyzewski said. “We don’t want to put the pressure of time on him.”

Williamson went out with a sprained knee Wednesday night in the opening minute of a loss to North Carolina. He didn’t play Saturday night at Syracuse, but the Blue Devils found other sources to get it done in a 75-65 victory.

Most notably, RJ Barrett scored 30 points and sophomore guard Alex O’Connell added a career-best 20 points.

“We practiced a couple of days without Zion so we got a feel for our team without him,” O’Connell said. “As great of a player as he is, we have a lot of other talented guys on the team. It just shows once he gets back we will be an even stronger team.”

Duke (24-3, 12-2 ACC) shares first place in the conference with Virginia and North Carolina, while the Hokies (21-6, 10-5) sit in fourth place.

Virginia Tech is also dealing with the absence of a top player, having gone a few weeks without standout guard Justin Robinson, who has a foot injury. The Hokies are 4-3 since he went out, and coach Buzz Williams is keeping a timetable for his potential return under wraps.

“As our roster has changed, we categorize guys in one or two ways in rebounding — they’re either go-gets or get-backs guys,” Williams said. “One way we try to gain possessions is through offensive rebounding, which has never been a forte of ours.”

Redshirt junior forward Kerry Blackshear Jr. has become a go-to player for the Hokies, recording double-doubles in the past two games.

“He has just become integral to literally everything we do on both ends,” Williams said.

Barrett, who leads the ACC with 23.3 points per game, drained several big shots from the perimeter at Syracuse, but he also picked up some of the interior slack for Duke.

“It was just important for me to get in there and make reads,” Barrett said.

Barrett leads the ACC with six games with 30 or more points. He has set a conference freshman record with 20 games with at least 20 points; the previous mark of 19 was set by Georgia Tech guard Kenny Anderson in 1989-90.

Duke will be playing its third game in seven days. This trip will be its final out-of-state game until the NCAA Tournament, as all eyes continue to be on the potential return of Williamson, the favorite to be the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

“The main thing is for him to get healthy and continue to improve,” Krzyzewski said via ESPN. “We’ve got some new things we saw against Syracuse (on Saturday) and maybe there’ll be more (vs. Virginia Tech).”

Virginia Tech has lost two of its past three home games, falling to Louisville and Virginia, with a victory against Georgia Tech in between.

Duke has lost in each of the past two seasons in Blacksburg.

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Pictured: Zion Williamson
Source: Justin K. Aller / Getty Image North America

Preview: Boston College at Duke

While Zion Williamson is making a mockery of the ACC with his offensive play during conference action, Tre Jones is also showing he has few peers on the defensive end. Behind the contributions of two of the country’s best rookies, No. 2 Duke sets its sights on a sixth straight victory Tuesday in its final tune-up before the most challenging part of its schedule when it hosts Boston College.

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Williamson is averaging a league-best 25.1 points while shooting 71.8 percent from the field during ACC play, dipping below 25 points only once over the last six contests while converting at least 60 percent of his field-goal attempts in every game. He scored 29 points on 13-of-17 shooting, added six rebounds and five steals in Saturday’s 91-61 rout of St. John’s, but Jones was not to be outdone. He had 13 points, a career-high seven rebounds, seven assists and three steals while holding Shamorie Ponds – the Big East’s third-leading scorer – to nearly 10 points below his season average. “If (Jones is) doing his job, then they’re going to shoot under 40 percent. … He’s as good as anybody in the country on defense,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said. Jones’ next challenge will be to lock up the ACC’s third-leading scorer in 6-1 junior guard Ky Bowman (20.8 points), who exploded for 30 points, 10 boards and nine assists in an upset of the Blue Devils last season.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPNews

ABOUT BOSTON COLLEGE (11-9, 2-6 ACC): Bowman, who also paces the Eagles with 3.5 assists and ranks second with 7.8 rebounds, has reached double figures in an ACC-best 29 consecutive games and posted his seventh double-double of the season after finishing with 25 points and 10 boards in Saturday’s loss to Notre Dame. Freshman Wynston Tabbs (13.9 points) – the team’s second-leading scorer – was spotted with crutches on the bench and missed a third straight game with a left knee injury. The Eagles owned a 15-5 edge on the offensive glass Saturday – turning it into a 17-2 advantage in second-chance points – but they allowed the Fighting Irish to become the third conference opponent to shoot over 50 percent against them.

ABOUT DUKE (19-2, 7-1): Williamson (22.3 points, 9.0 rebounds), who ranks second overall in the ACC in scoring, third in rebounding and third in the country in field-goal percentage (68.7), extended his school freshman record of 25-point games to 10 and is 43-of-54 from the field over the last four contests. RJ Barrett (ACC-best 23.1 points, 7.3 rebounds), who recorded his fourth double-double and third in the last seven games with 15 points and 14 boards versus the Red Storm, needs 15 more points to reach 10th place on the single-season Duke freshman scoring list. Fellow freshman Cam Reddish (13.0 points) tallied 16 points Saturday and is averaging 13.9 points in his last six outings, nearly double the 7.7 points per game he scored over his previous six contests.

TIP-INS

1. After BC, four of Duke’s next six opponents are ranked – including three of the next four: No. 3 Virginia, No. 17 Louisville, North Carolina State and No. 8 North Carolina.

2. Bowman has played 403 of a possible 405 minutes over the last 10 games and averages a Division I-high 39 minutes for the season.

3. Jones’ five turnovers Saturday matched the number he has committed during ACC play.

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Posted in CBB, Top Fantasy Picks

Pictured: R.J. Barrett
Source: Justin K. Aller / Getty Image North America

Preview: Duke at Notre Dame

Duke shoots for its fourth consecutive win on Monday night as it visits struggling Notre Dame in a nationally-televised game. The Fighting Irish have lost four straight and own just one victory in conference play.

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The Blue Devils did not look like the No. 2 team in the country for 20-plus minutes on Saturday afternoon, but something clicked after a timeout early in the second half as they were able to pull away for the 66-53 win over Georgia Tech. “Our guys were just different [after that timeout], which says a lot about them,” coach Mike Krzyzewski told reporters after the game. “This is a game you lose if you’re thinking about being a winner. It’s a game that winners win, when you can turn it around with 18 minutes to go and just really not playing well, and then playing great.” A challenging start to the ACC schedule gets even tougher for Notre Dame as it faces a second top-three team in three days after getting blown out at home by No. 3 Virginia on Saturday. “I can’t say enough how impressed I am with [the Cavaliers],” Irish coach Mike Brey told the media after the 82-55 loss. “They could win the national championship. They are men who have won together and are polished, and we are the exact opposite right now. We’re searching and trying to build it.”

TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN

ABOUT DUKE (17-2, 6-1 ACC): ACC scoring-leader RJ Barrett (23.9) recorded a game-high 24 points on 8-of-16 from the floor and 7-of-8 from the free-throw line while adding 11 rebounds against Georgia Tech. Zion Williamson, second in ACC scoring (21.7), added 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting and chipped in with seven rebounds and three blocks. Point guard Tre Jones made his return to the lineup after missing two games with an injury and had six points, four rebounds and four assists in 35 minutes.

ABOUT NOTRE DAME (11-9, 1-6): Brey was not impressed with his squad after Saturday’s loss and scheduled an 8 a.m. workout for the team on Sunday as a punishment. The Irish missed their first nine shots en route to 36.1 percent shooting from the floor and made just 8-of-29 from 3-point range while being outrebounded 45-33. John Mooney was a lone bright spot for Notre Dame, scoring 15 points and adding 10 rebounds for his ACC-leading 12th double-double of the season.

TIP-INS

1. Duke leads the all-time series 24-7, including wins at home and in the ACC tournament last season.

2. The Blue Devils are second in the ACC and fourth in the nation in points per game (87.4).

3. Mooney leads the ACC in rebounding at 10.8 per game.

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Posted in CBB, Top Fantasy Picks

Pictured: R.J. Barrett
Source: yahoo.com

Preview: Duke at Pittsburgh

First-year Pittsburgh coach Jeff Capel has quickly shown the ability to not only attract high-level freshmen to his program but also coax the best out of them, just like close friend and Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. At least a handful of the best rookies in the ACC will take the floor Tuesday when the Panthers host the second-ranked Blue Devils in the first-ever meeting between Capel and his former mentor Krzyzewski.

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Duke’s vaunted freshmen class boasts the top two scorers in the conference and likely top-five 2019 NBA Draft picks in RJ Barrett (ACC-best 23.8 points) and Zion Williamson (21.5), and along with fellow rookie Cam Reddish, proved to be too much for previously undefeated Virginia on Saturday, accounting for 66 points in a 72-70 victory. “They’re mentally tough. … They came here mentally tough, especially those two kids, Zion and RJ. They play at a high, high level of scrutiny,” Krzyzewski said. Capel has his own impressive collection of first-year players, as Xavier Johnson (17.1 points) ranks ninth in the ACC in scoring, Trey McGowens (13.9) has two 30-point games over the last four outings and Au’Diese Toney (9.8) leads the team with 6.2 rebounds. The trio wasn’t able to get the job done Saturday, however, as the Panthers shot 33.8 percent and committed 17 turnovers in a 74-63 setback at Syracuse.

TV: 9 p.m. ET, ESPN

ABOUT DUKE (15-2, 4-1 ACC): Barrett (30 points on 11-of-19 from the field), Williamson (27 points, 10-of-16) and Reddish (nine points, 3-of-12) all played at least 37 minutes and combined to take 47 of Duke’s 51 shots in the Blue Devils’ first full game without point guard Tre Jones (shoulder) on Saturday. Barrett’s performance was particularly notable, as he rebounded from an 8-for-30 shooting effort in Monday’s overtime loss at Syracuse to post his fourth 30-point game, tying him for the second most by a freshman in school history. Williamson, who is the only player in the country scoring at least 20 points per game and shooting at least 60 percent from the floor, is averaging 25.6 points and 9.4 rebounds in ACC action.

ABOUT PITTSBURGH (12-6, 2-3): Johnson committed six turnovers – he has at least four in every conference game and nine of his last 12 – but was otherwise unfazed by the Orange’s 2-3 zone, finishing 6-for-11 from the field and 3-of-5 beyond the arc en route to 17 points to extend the Pitt freshmen record for most consecutive double-figure games to 18. Jared Wilson-Frame (11.2 points) bounced back from a scoreless 10-minute showing Monday against Florida State with a team-high 19 points and eight boards over 26 minutes Saturday. McGowens shot 2-for-13 and scored seven points in 31 minutes while dealing with foul trouble and an injury near his right eye in the first half.

TIP-INS

1. Blue Devils junior F Javin DeLaurier is one field goal shy of tying the ACC record for consecutive shots made (20), set by Duke’s Alaa Abdelnaby in 1988-89.

2. Pittsburgh tied a season low with eight free throws Saturday after a 38-for-46 performance from the foul line in its upset of the Seminoles.

3. Five of the seven freshmen that rank among the top 21 scorers in the conference play for either the Blue Devils or Panthers.

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Photo: Jarrett Culver
Source: Getty Image North America

Preview: Texas Tech vs. Duke

No. 11 Texas Tech is one of nine remaining undefeated teams in the country, and if it still is among that group after Thursday, it will have earned it. The Red Raiders attempt to maintain their untarnished record when they face second-ranked Duke in a marquee matchup at Madison Square Garden.

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The Red Raiders are off to their best start since going 12-0 to begin the 1929-30 season, but they’ve played one of the weakest schedules in the nation heading into Thursday’s matchup. “We don’t shy away from this,” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard told reporters. “It’s a great opportunity on national television, historic Duke, sellout, Madison Square Garden, future NBA players. We don’t shy away from that. … This is a great opportunity for our program.” The Blue Devils have had a much more challenging slate – this will be their fourth game against a ranked opponent – and their only loss was a two-point setback against Gonzaga. Duke has won its last five games by an average of 39.8 points, including a 101-50 rout of Princeton on Tuesday.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2

ABOUT TEXAS TECH (10-0): The Red Raiders top the nation in field-goal defense (32.2 percent) and are tied for the lead in scoring defense (51.2 points per game). Reigning Big 12 Player of the Week Jarrett Culver (19.1 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.5 assists), who poured in 30 points in Saturday’s 82-48 win over Abilene Christian, leads the way at the offensive end. Matt Mooney (11 points) is the only other double-digit scorer, but the Red Raiders have six players who average at least 7.4 points.

ABOUT DUKE (10-1): The Blue Devils lean on the most dynamic freshman duo in the nation in RJ Barrett (24.5 points, 7.1 rebounds) and Zion Williamson (20.1, 9.1, two blocks) – and that’s only half of their outstanding first-year group. Classmates Cam Reddish (14 points) and Tre Jones (8.3, 5.6 assists) also are playing big roles for the team, which averages 93.6 points and is shooting better than 50 percent. Duke defends the perimeter well, holding opponents to 28.1 percent from 3-point range, and forces 16.9 turnovers per game.

TIP-INS

1. Duke is 34-18 all-time at Madison Square Garden, including a 29-11 record under coach Mike Krzyzewski.

2. Texas Tech ranks second in the Big 12 with 11.5 turnovers per contest.

3. The Blue Devils lead the nation with an average of 8.1 blocked shots.

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Preview: Duke at Clemson

With another hurdle cleared on its way to the College Football Playoff and another ACC Atlantic Division crown secured, second-ranked Clemson turns its attention to visiting Duke on Saturday. The Tigers have won four straight meetings with the Blue Devils, but the teams have not met since 2012.

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Clemson posted a dominant 56-20 victory in the most recent matchup, but coach David Cutcliffe has built the Blue Devils into a respectable program in the interim. “They have four road wins, including at Northwestern, and Northwestern won their division and will play for a conference championship,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney told reporters. “Duke went to Northwestern and won, and that gives you some insight into what they’re capable of doing.” In fact, Duke has won 20 of its last 32 road games. The Blue Devils have recorded back-to-back overall triumphs, including a 20-12 road victory over a Miami team that was just a week removed from being ranked in the top 25.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Clemson -28.5

ABOUT DUKE (7-3, 3-3 ACC): The Blue Devils have a dynamic and balanced offense led by quarterback Daniel Jones, who racked up a school-record 547 yards of total offense in last week’s 42-35 win over North Carolina – passing for 361 and three touchdowns while rushing for 186 and a score. Running back Deon Jackson also has been on a tear, totaling 646 all-purpose yards over his last three games – including 353 on 41 carries. The secondary also is excellent, holding opponents under 200 passing yards per game, but the defense is susceptible to the run.

ABOUT CLEMSON (10-0, 7-0): The Tigers passed their toughest test in more than a month with a 27-7 win at Boston College last week in which they recorded a 424-113 advantage in total yards. Clemson’s defense, which ranks among the top 10 in the nation in every major category, continued its dominant play by holding the Eagles to a single-digit total in rushing yards. Freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence was solid while playing in nasty weather on the road, going 29-of-40 for 295 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Clemson leads the ACC in red-zone defense, allowing points on 73.9 percent of opponents’ trips inside the 20, while Duke (74.1 percent) is second.

2. Duke WR T.J. Rahming has caught three or more passes in 17 consecutive games while Clemson WR Hunter Renfrow has at least one reception in 38 straight contests, which ties him with Artavis Scott for the school record.

3. Clemson has matched a school record by scoring at least 27 points in 10 straight games.

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Posted in CFB, Top Fantasy Picks

NCAA College Fantasy Basketball

North Carolina VS Duke

# 8 North Carolina Tar Heels will be visiting the Cameron Indoor Stadium Saturday to battle the Duke Blue Devils in their last game of regular season and hope to clinch its 1st ACC title since the 2011-12 season. FanPicks is proud to bring you this NCAA College Fantasy Basketball matchup preview. Come enjoy daily NCAA Fantasy Basketball at Fanpicks ahead of this upcoming March Madness 2016.

NCAA College Fantasy Basketball

Both teams will be looking forward to this electrifying classic game in which the Tar Heels will try to seek their revenge from their heartbreaking defeat mid February by 1 point, a game in which they actually controlled and dominated but Duke stole it in the end.

 

Duke, currently ranked 5th in the ACC and 21st in the nation, will enter this game having lost 2 on the road of their last 4 games since their nailbiter against the Tar Heels last month. Their latest victory against Wake Forest on Tuesday may give them a boost of confidence with a dominant performance once more by their sophomore star Grayson Allen, netting 30 pts. Allen has scored in double digits each game since the holiday break. With most of the pressure on Grayson Allen and Brandon Ingram, Luke Kennard will most likely step up and make those shots from beyond the arc. Marshall Plumlee should play his typical double-double game but if he gets in foul trouble, Duke may be in trouble. The Blue Devils have won the last 4 contests against their biggest ACC rivals.

 

The Tar Heels are stepping into their last game of this brilliant season not only avenge last month’s final seconds loss to the Blue Devils but to outright clinch their first ACC title in 4 years. Since their last matchup, North Carolina has won 3 of their last 4 contests. With seniors’ night over, the Tar Heels will hope that Marcus Paige step up and have a big game. He’s been struggling lately, shooting barely 28% over the last 5 games but their other senior, Brice Johnson has been enormous, shooting 50% from floor in his last 7 games and recently added got his 18th double-double of the season in Tuesday’s win against Syracuse. They will need to step up their 3-point range shooting to top the Blue Devils as they went 1 of 13 in their first matchup.

 

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College Fantasy Basketball Duke VS Pittbsburgh

NCAA COLLEGE FANTASY BASKETBALL DUKE VS PITTSBURGH PREVIEW

18th ranked Duke Blue Devils will travel to north to face the Pittsburgh Panthers as they march towards the ACC title. On another note, the Panthers are still on the grind to insure their place in the NCAA Tournament next month. This college fantasy basketball preview is brought you by FanPicks.

 

The Blue devils are not only currently on a hot streak and but have also won the past 2 matchups against PITT since the Panthers are in the ACC. They recently beat the Seminoles in a comfortable win 80-65. Their go-to player, Grayson Allen scored 18 pts and shot below is usual average of 48% from the field. Allen, who’s averaging 20.9 pts per game and has scored more than 15 in every contests since the holiday break.

 

The Panthers on their hand need to get their players’ focus on point since the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee will have to make their decision soon on their participation. Unfortunately for them this year, they haven’t won a single game against a ranked team. Even though they’re playing great basketball and currently ranking 7th nationwide in assists, they’re seriously struggling in the turnover and long shooting range departments. They will need some help from their top player Michael Young, who averages 16.1 pts per game but has only put up 18 pts in his last 2 games in total.

Posted in CBB