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Georgia Tech vs. Duke Preview

The Yellow Jackets Welcome the Best(?) Team In The County

NCAA Basketball: Duke at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

This is really odd to say, but I think Duke is flying a little under the radar this year. Weird, I know. It seems like everyone wrote them off after the shocking home loss to Stephen F. Austin. But, this team is really good. That is their only loss and they boast a neutral site win over Kansas and a road win over Michigan State.

Kenpom has this team as comfortably the best in the country. Freshman center Vernon Carey is an absolute monster and a National Player of the Year contender (maybe favorite?). Sophomore point guard isn’t a great scorer, but he is a fantastic defender and dishes 7.2 assists per game. This team plays ten players regularly and only two of them are under 6’6” (Tre Jones at 6’3” and his backup Jordan Goldwire at 6’2”). This team is big and they play great defense.

Offensively for Duke this should be an interesting game. Their strength is inside the three point line where Georgia Tech’s defense excels. On the other hand, Duke is a phenomenal offensive rebounding team. They hoover up 39.3% of all available offensive rebounds, good for 3rd in the country. The Yellow Jackets struggle on the defensive glass when they’re playing the zone. Duke could force them out of the zone, not by shooting, but by rebounding.

One thing to note is that freshman forward Wendell Moore got hurt in the last game against Miami and will be out. The hyped recruit struggled a bit early in the year, but has started to find his groove recently. This shouldn’t hurt Duke too much. They go 10 deep and have forwards galore.

One thing that could help Tech is that this team is young. Of their top 5 played players four are freshmen and one is a sophomore (I counted Moore in this group even though he won’t be playing). They have been a great team, but that loss against Stephen F. Austin shows they can still be vulnerable.

Both Vegas and Kenpom have this one as a 12 point game in favor of the Blue Devils. Kenpom gives Duke an 87% chance to win this one. I think Duke wins this one by more than 12.

This game will be played at 9 pm at McCamish Pavilion and is being shown on the ACC Network. The game is sold out so it could be rocking although I imagine that many of the tickets went to Duke fans. This will be the first game this year I make it to. Go Jackets!