Georgia Tech will take on No. 9 Duke this evening at McCamish Pavilion in what will be the team’s first home game since Chris Bosh night versus Clemson back in January. The Jackets (11-13, 4-7 ACC) and Blue Devils (19-5, 7-4 ACC) will be facing off for the first and only time this season as the two teams attempt to rebound from Thursday night losses to Louisville and North Carolina, respectively.
Duke will be without star forward Marvin Bagley III for this evening’s game after he sustained a knee sprain in last week’s loss to UNC, a tremendous loss for a team as talent-deprived as Coach K’s. The Blue Devils will be forced to turn to a combination of five-star forward Wendell Carter (the fifth overall player of the 2017 class) and five-star center Marques Bolden (the sixteenth overall player of the 2016 class) to hold down the frontcourt in Bagley’s absence. Prayers up for the boys from Durham.
Rounding out the Duke starting lineup along with Carter and Bolden will be Trevon Duvall, Gary Trent Jr., and the infamous Grayson “I just tripped your player so hard he woke up in a 1990s London dance club” Allen. Allen, now a senior, is having another excellent year for the Blue Devils after foregoing the NBA Draft almost a year ago, averaging 14.3 points and 4.5 assists per game as the team’s resident veteran. Trent Jr. and Duvall, another pair of top-10 recruits from the 2017 class, have both averaged double-digit points on the season for Duke and will be a tough task for Tech’s starting backcourt of Jose Alvarado and Brandon Alston.
This Duke basketball team has no weaknesses position-wise, as head coach Mike Krzyzewski has the luxury of going 10-deep — as he did versus North Carolina — with little consequence. Expect to see close to a full 40 minutes from Grayson Allen, Gary Trent Jr., and likely either Wendell Carter or Marques Bolden depending on how the rotation shuffles without Marvin Bagley.
The Jackets, meanwhile, will be forced to roll with the usual six-man rotation headed by Jose Alvarado, Brandon Alston, Josh Okogie, A.D. Gueye, and Ben Lammers with Tadric Jackson and Tadric Jackson alone coming off the bench. That means a full 40 for Lammers and Gueye unless Josh Pastner decides to play small-ball at some point, a hardly advisable move versus a Duke team that figures to have no fewer than two 6-foot-11 players on the court at any given moment between Carter, Bolden, and reserve forward Javin DeLaurier.
Vegas favors Duke by nine at the moment, but Tech does have a shot at taking down the kings of recruiting if the sellout crowd at McCamish is Tech-heavy and still energetic despite the team’s recent 1-6 slide in ACC play. Tipoff is set for 6:00 this evening as the Jackets look to salvage some excitement from what has become a lost season in year two of the Josh Pastner era.