Game of the Week: No. 4 Virginia vs. No. 1 Duke
Over the last few years, No. 4 Virginia (16-0, 4-0) and No. 1 Duke (14-2, 3-1) have always been a top of the ACC. On Saturday, these two power houses of college basketball will collide at Cameron Indoor Stadium at 6 p.m. for an all-important early conference matchup.
The Duke Blue Devils are coming off their second loss of the season after the Syracuse Orange came into town and upset in overtime, 95-91.
Duke was without freshman stars Cam Reddish, who was sick with the flu, and ultimately Tre Jones for most of the game. Earlier in the first half, Jones separated his AC joint in his shoulder after diving for a loose ball and will now be a key loss for the Blue Devils moving forward.
The good news for the Blue Devils is that they still have some of the top freshman in the country. Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett are a matchup problem for anybody. Look for them to be a vital part of the Blue Devils offense moving forward with Jones now out. Also, Duke should get a healthy Reddish back after missing the game vs. Syracuse.
In the loss vs. the Orange on Monday, Duke shot 43 3-pointers and only made nine of them. That won’t cut it at all if they want to knock off the best team in the country on Saturday. Forward Jack White, also, has to step up for Duke to have a chance, seeing he went 0-10 from the three in the previous game.
The Virginia Cavaliers look like a team on a mission after the heartbreaking defeat in the NCAA tournament against University of Maryland-Baltimore County in the first-round of last year’s contest.
In Virginia’s last game against its in-state rival No. 9 Virginia Tech, the Cavaliers continued to show why they are the best team in the country. They won the game in convincing fashion, 81-59, behind the play of De’Andre Hunter and Kyle Guy.
Saturday, however, has to be the Cavaliers toughest game to date because it’s on the road and in a very hostile environment.
Virginia is known for their defense and they will be challenged by the explosive Duke Players. If the Cavaliers can slow down Williamson, and make the other guys on Duke work harder to beat them they will be successful. The country saw what this team is made of on defense when they held Virginia Tech to only 59 points, so expect them to keep up that kind of intensity.
This game could go either way, but the loss of Jones for Duke is the deciding factor. Virginia on the road will get up early in this game behind Guy and Hunter, and will be able strong enough to hold off a Duke comeback in the end. The Cavaliers make great adjustments on defense and it will baffle the Duke offense into ill-advised shots down the stretch.
Final Score: Virginia 74, Duke 71
Matthew McClure is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact, email email@example.com.
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