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Duke Blue Devils vs. Clemson Tigers Preview and Pick

Duke Blue Devils (15-3 SU, 11-6 ATS) vs. Clemson Tigers (15-4 SU, 9-7 ATS), 9:00 p.m. EST, Saturday, January 23, 2009, Littlejohn Coliseum, Clemson, S.C. TV: ESPN
by Ryno of

Point Spread: Duke -1/Clemson +1
Over/Under: 145

Duke and Clemson met three weeks ago at Duke, and the Blue Devils came away with an easy 74-53 victory. But this time it's at Clemson, and Duke hasn't been able to win a road game yet this season. Winning at Littlejohn Coliseum is tough, especially when the Tigers want revenge, but the Blue Devils will try to break through and avoid their second straight loss.

Both of these teams are coming off a loss. Clemson lost 66-64 in a nail-biter at Georgia Tech on Tuesday, while Duke lost a shocker at North Carolina State, 88-74, on Wednesday. Duke has also lost on the road at Georgia Tech and Wisconsin and now stands 0-3 in road games this season. Clemson is 9-1 at home with its only loss coming to Illinois, 76-74 on December 2, in a game that the Tigers had a huge lead in before allowing the Illini to come back and steal a victory.

In Clemson's loss to Georgia Tech on Tuesday, the game was tied in the final seconds before Zachery Peacock was fouled with 3.2 seconds left and hit both free throws. Trevor Booker led the Tigers with 19 points and nine rebounds. Demontez Stitt and Tanner Smith each had 10 points. The Tigers shot 37 percent from the field and held Georgia Tech to 39 percent. Clemson shot 6-of-15 from 3-point range, while the Yellow Jackets made just 3-of-17 3-point attempts. The Tigers were out-rebounded by eight and committed 17 turnovers.

In Duke's loss to NC State on Wednesday, the Wolfpack jumped on the Blue Devils early and were able to hang on to the lead for the entire second half. Duke out-rebounded the Wolfpack by 15, but the Blue Devils only forced nine turnovers, shot 39 percent from the field, and allowed NC State to shoot 58 percent from the field. Kyle Singler scored 22 points, Jon Scheyer had 21 points, and Nolan Smith scored 18. Lance Thomas had five points and 12 rebounds, and Brian Zoubek had six points and nine rebounds.

In Duke's 74-53 win over Clemon on January 3, the Blue Devils shot 50 percent from the field and held Clemson to 33 percent overall and 3-for-16 on 3-point attempts. Duke's advantages on the boards and in turnovers were both marginal, but it was the difference in shooting percentage that was the difference in the game. Scheyer and Smith each had 22 points and Singled scored 16. Stitt led Clemson with 17 points, Booker had 10, and Jerai Grant scored 11.

Duke's biggest strength is its 3-point shooting, as the Blue Devils are hitting 39 percent of their 3-point attempts while holding opponents to 29 percent. Clemson is also holding opponents to 29 percent but it shooting 35 percent. Clemson's biggest strength is forcing turnovers, but the Tigers have been way more successful doing so with their full-court trap at home than on the road. The Tigers are forcing 18.7 turnovers per game while committing 14.7 per game. Duke is committing 11.7 turnovers per game and forcing 15.2 per game.

Duke is 4-1 ATS in its last five games following an ATS loss and 5-2 ATS in its last seven games overall. The Blue Devils are 1-5 ATS in their last six games following a SU loss. Clemson is 6-0 ATS in its last six home games and 7-3 ATS in its last 10 games overall. The Tigers are 2-6 ATS in their last eight games following an ATS loss. The under is 5-1 in Clemson's last six games and 18-7-2 in its last 27 home games.

Ryno's Pick: Both of these teams are coming off a loss, so they will both be focused on bouncing back and avoiding a losing streak. Clemson has been much better at home than it has been on the road this season. The Tigers are fueled by their crowd and have much more success with their full-court trap at home than on the road for some reason. If Duke can avoid turning the ball over, the Blue Devils will get a lot of easy shots in transition and will be able to win the game, but that's easier said than done. The Tigers will be playing with revenge on their minds after their blowout loss to Duke last time. They will be motivated to play well and win this one but the final result could go either way. The value here is on the UNDER 148..

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