No. 1. Duke Blue Devils (18-1) -1 at No. 4 Wake Forest Demon Deacons (16-1) +1 Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Wednesday, 7:00PM Eastern
By Jay Horne of Predictem.com
The former top ranked Wake Forest Demon Deacons will host the number 1 ranked Duke Blue Devils on Wednesday night in a showdown between Top 5 opponents. The game marks a battle for ACC supremacy between the Blue Devils who are 5-0 in the conference and the Demon Deacons who are 3-1 in the conference. Duke is fresh off another dominating performance where they blew out Maryland by a score of 85-44. Wake Forest was a perfect 16-0 before suffering a shocking upset loss to Virginia Tech exactly one week ago last Wednesday night. Wake Forest will have the chance to make their climb back towards the top of the ACC in a great match-up between two of countrys best.
Duke is perhaps the best team in America overall on both ends of the floor. The Blue Devils rank in the top 20 in both scoring offense and defense. Scoring 80.3 points per game and holding opponents to an equally strong 59.5 points per game. Duke presents a ton of difficult looks for opponents on offense and they will need to do the same against a high scoring Wake Forest team. Duke usually has the advantage on the glass considering they pull down an impressive 40 boards per game. However, Wake Forest ranks 2nd in the nation in rebounding with 43 rebounds per game. It will be very interesting to see which team gets the second chance opportunities and if they can capitalize. The Blue Devils historically have not played well on the road at Wake Forest losing 4 of their previous 6 games. However, Duke has controlled all ACC opponents this season and they will definitely be trying to do the same on Wednesday night.
Wake Forest seemingly had the ACC in a strangle hold a little over a week ago. However since their upset from Virginia Tech, the Demon Deacons are staring two straight losses in the face with their match-up with Duke. Wake Forest however will not be expecting any loss as they have one of the most talented teams in the nation in all aspects of the game. Wake Forest leads the ACC in field goal percentage on both offense (50.5%) and defense (36.9%). The Demon Deacons also are the only team in the country to rank in the top 6 in rebounding, field goal percentage, and scoring. Many people around the nation suggested the Demon Deacons may have been prematurely accepted as the best team in nation after their 16-0 stint due to the fact the schedule had not been very tough despite beating North Carolina. However, the Demon Deacons will have the chance to put those theories to rest if they can bounce back by knocking off the top ranked Blue Devils.
Online Bookies have opened the initial betting line favoring the number 1 Duke Blue Devils by a single point at Wake Forest. The online sports gambling websites have the over/under total listed at 152.5 despite being released yet by most Vegas shops.
The Blue Devils have found a playmaker from the emergence of junior Gerald Henderson. Henderson is averaging 14.5 points, but has knocked down over 20 points average the last 5 games and is shooting 52% from the floor this season. Henderson gives the Blue Devils the X factor they have been desperately in search of for quite a while and that gives Duke a huge boost to an already extremely talented group. Sophomore Kyle Singler leads the team in scoring with 16.5 points per game and also averages 8 boards per game as well. Keep an eye on these two playmakers and the deep Blue Devil bench as they try and capture a tough win on the road.
Wake Forest has one of the best guards in college basketball in the 62 frame of sophomore Jeff Teague. Teague has been outstanding this season and is a big reason Wake Forest has had the big year exceeding expectations. Teague ranks 2nd in the ACC in scoring with 21.2 points per game and is playing better as the season progresses. The standout guard is shooting over 50% from the floor and behind the arc making him a lethal threat inside and outside. The Wake Forest big men Chas McFarland, James Johnson, and Al-Faroug Aminu lead the rebounding game averaging 25 rebounds per game between the 3 alone. If the Demon Deacons can control the game against the glass it will give them a great opportunity to get the much needed victory.
Duke is only 2-3-1 ATS in their last 6 games, but have reached the under total in 5 of their last 5 games. Wake Forest is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games, but only 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games playing Duke.
Jay’s Pick - Duke’s defense is the difference in this game. Take Duke -1.