Clemson Tigers vs. Duke Bluedevils Preview and Pick

#23 Clemson Tigers (14-3) at #5 Duke (14-1), January 19, 6:00pm ET, Cameron Indoor Stadium, ESPN.
by Matt of

The Clemson Tigers travel to Durham to take on the Duke Blue Devils in a matchup of two top-25 ranked teams, Saturday night on ESPN. Both teams are looking for a win to stay near the top of the Atlantic Coast Conference and solidify position in the NCAA ranks.

Clemson is coming into the game 2-2 in their last 4 games, all home contests, most recently downing NC State 70-54 on Tuesday Night. The Tigers are a perfect 4-0 straight up this year on the road and at 2-1 in conference, look to move ahead of Duke with a win.

Duke has returned to typical Blue Devil form this year, after a down campaign in 06 – 07. Coach K has his kids undefeated in the conference so far at 2-0 and the only L on the season overall was a neutral site overtime loss to Pitt. Duke posted a win at Florida State this past Wednesday, 70-57, and will move to 9-0 at Cameron Indoor with a win.

Offshore and Vegas are in agreement as far as the line for the game. Duke is a 9 point favorite, and as of Friday night, the over/under total was not offered.

Clemson has posted solid numbers against the spread this year, the Tigers are 10-4 overall and bring a 4-1 road ATS mark. Clemson is streaking of late in conference, going 4-1 ATS in their last 5 against the ACC, and the road team is 6-2 ATS in the last eight in this series. Clemson has also come out against the spread winners in 4 of the last 5 at Duke.

The Blue Devils are 6-1 against the spread at home on the year, and carry an 8-6 mark ATS overall. Duke has shown strength in conference even through the struggles of last year, the Devils have gone 24-11 in their last 35 ACC tips. Duke has been getting clipped ATS lately against teams with .500+ straight up road records, they are 2-6 ATS in the last 8 against such teams.

Duke got the better of Clemson twice last year, one on each teams court, by the scores of 71-66 and 68-66.

The teams are both coming in near full strength. Clemson has a clean injury
report and Duke reports only C Brian Zoubek. Zoubek is out indefinitely
with a foot injury had contributed 4.7 points per game in 11.7 minutes played.

Clemson is averaging 81.4 points per game on 46.5% shooting. Guard K.C. Rivers leads the Tigers in scoring at 15.4 points per game in 30 minutes. Center Trevor Booker is next at 12.5 points a contest and leads the team with 8.8 rebounds per. The Tigers shoot an even 40% from behind the arc and have 4 regulars hitting on better than 40% of attempted threes. Rounding out, Clemson is 64.3% on converting free throws and average 39.3 team rebounds per game.

Duke averages 84.5 points in all games, but that number spikes to 92.6 per at Cameron. The Devils shoot 48.4% from the floor (50% at home) and convert on 39.1% from three. Duke uses incredible balance to get it done, with only 4.6 points separating high and low scorers among starters. DeMarcus Nelson leads with 13.7 points and also grabs 6.2 boards a game. Kyle Singler is shooting 51% en route to 12.8 points a game and rounds out the stat sheet with 6.1 boards. The Blue Devils are also very athletic, with Coach K often running a 4 guard lineup, creating match up issues for the opposition. Duke has shot 69.3% from the line, and grabs 35.4 rebounds as a team.

Clemson will need to play nearly mistake free to beat Duke in one of the most intimidating environments in college basketball, and Duke will need to make sure the rebounding edge doesnt swing too far in the Tigers favor and allow the second chance points to keep this game at issue throughout.

Matt’s Pick: I like Clemson +9 here.