Duke Blue Devils vs. Clemson Tigers Preview and Pick

No. 4 Duke Blue Devils (19-2) -3.5, 146 O/U at No. 10 Clemson Tigers (18-2)
Little John Coliseum, Clemson, S.C., 9:00PM Eastern, Wednesday

By Jay Horne of Predictem.com

The Duke Blue Devils were among the top ranked team in America only one week ago, but got knocked off the top spot with after a nail biting loss to Wake Forest 70-68. However, the Blue Devils still sit in the number 1 spot a top the ACC standings and they will have to defend the top ranking against another highly talented Top 10 opponent in the Clemson Tigers. Clemson got off this season to a superb 16-0 start before losing to the ACC powerhouses Wake Forest and North Carolina back to back. The Tigers will try to get back in the win column against the best in the ACC this Wednesday night and silence all the critics who claim they can not win the big games. Clemson is tied with North Carolina and Wake Forest with 2 conference losses and if they could get the big win at home the race for the ACC would be wide open.

The No. 10 Clemson Tigers have won two straight since those disappointing two losses nearly two weeks ago including an 86-82 victory over Virginia Tech last Wednesday. The Tigers have had some time off the court and they should be fresh out of the gates when they get the Blue Devils inside Little John Coliseum. However, the Tigers have not faired to well against Duke in the history between these two schools. Clemson captured a big win over the Blue Devils in the ACC Tournament before losing to North Carolina in the championship game. The win over Duke was the first win against the Blue Devils in 21 straight games dating back to January of 1997. Clemson will once again attempt to rewrite the history trend the Wednesday night as they have a solid chance to get what would be their biggest win this season.

The No. 4 Duke Blue Devils got back on track after the loss to Wake Forest last Sunday in a big way as they crushed the Virginia Cavaliers 79-54 inside Cameron Indoor. The Blue Devils look to continue their dominance over the ACC, but they face another difficult task on the road where wins are hard to come by in one of the premier basketball conferences in America. Both of Dukes two losses this season have come on the road and they will definitely try to avoid a 3rd road loss as the race for the ACC is picking up. One thing the Blue Devils do well that will help them on the road is the solid play of their defense. Duke leads the ACC in defensive scoring holding opponents to 59 points per game and that plays a vital role when a team is on the road in hostile environments. The Blue Devils will attempt to shut down a dangerous scoring team in Clemson in hopes to stay in the lead of the ACC.

Most bookies have opened the betting line with this being a close match-up. The No. 4 Duke Blue Devils are favored a slight 3.5 points in this game. The over/under for the game has been posted at the 146 mark which is rather low considering how well these two teams put the ball in the hoop. However, take into consideration the Blue Devils have held two ACC schools to 44 points this season and the game could definitely stay low if they continue the stellar defense.

Trevor Booker leads the Clemson scoring attack with 14.6 points per game. The junior standout has also averaged a strong 9.1 rebounds per game which ranks 2nd in the conference. The Tigers also sport a pair of talented guards in Terrence Oglesby and K.C Rivers. Oglesby was held to a season-low 5 points last week against Virginia Tech, but has proved on multiple occasions this season that he can get very hot from the floor. K.C Rivers on the other hand is coming off one of his best nights of the season as he posted a stout 29 points against the Hokies and has really been playing well over the last few games. The outside shooting from Oglesby and Rivers will likely be the significant factor that runs parallel to Clemsons chance to win. If they do not knock down the open looks from the outside, then it may not fair well for the Tigers. However, if they shoot the ball like they are capable of doing then their may be another upset in store for the 2nd straight year.

The Blue Devils have found an emerging superstar by the name of Gerald Henderson. Despite being the 2nd leading scorer on the team behind Kyle Singler, Henderson has been the biggest threat on offense over the last 3 weeks of play. In the previous 7 outings, Henderson is averaging slightly over 20 points per game and has been giving opposing teams a very difficult time. Henderson will need to give the Blue Devils another big performance against the Tigers. Duke will have the edge in this game in the rebounding category considering they are averaging 40 boards per game while the Tigers rank 11th out of the 12 schools in the ACC in terms of rebounding. The Blue Devils could really take control of the game if their talented shooters get some second looks when the initial shots do not fall and that would be devastating to the Clemson Tigers.

Betting Trends
The Blue Devils own a 6-4 record against the spread over the Tigers in the last 10 meetings while reaching the over in 6 of the last 9 meetings. The Blue Devils have won 21 of their last 22 against the Tigers SU.

Jay’s Pick – History repeats itself. Duke does not lose games this close together and they will win convincingly.