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No. 16 Duke looks to get back on track Monday vs. Virginia
By: Robert Livingston - StatFox
Published: 1/13/2014  at  4:39:00 AM
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VIRGINIA CAVALIERS (12-4)

at DUKE BLUE DEVILS (12-4)

Cameron Indoor Stadium - Durham, NC
Tip-off: Monday, 7:00 p.m. ET
Line: Duke -6.5, Total: 133

Having lost two of its past three games to unranked conference opponents, No. 16 Duke aims to snap out of its recent funk when it hosts Virginia on Monday night.

The Blue Devils slipped to 12-4 SU on the season and 1-2 in ACC play with losses to Clemson and Notre Dame on the road, but they return to Cameron Indoor Stadium on Monday where they are 9-0 SU and 6-3 ATS on the season, scoring 88.7 PPG on 51.7% FG in Durham. Duke is 9-7 ATS overall on the season, and over the past two seasons, Duke is 14-3 ATS after failing to cover in two of its previous three games. Virginia is a perfect 3-0 (SU and ATS) in conference play with two of those wins coming on the road, beating Florida State and N.C. State. The Cavaliers are 6-6 ATS this season and 4-3 ATS in non-home games. Not only are they brimming with confidence after crushing the Wolfpack by 31 points on Saturday, but they are also 8-1 ATS when playing with one day of rest or less over the past three seasons. Virginia upset Duke in the only meeting between the two programs last season, winning 73-68 as one-point favorites at home, but before that, the Blue Devils had won eight consecutive matchups (5-3 ATS) and were 17-1 SU (7-10-1 ATS) versus the Cavaliers since 2003.

Can Duke get back on the winning track Monday night? For the latest college basketball picks, check out The Platinum Sheet for all the StatFox Experts selections every week throughout the entire 2013-14 season. The StatFox Experts have been rolling in college basketball Best Bets this season with a 62% ATS (149-93-5) mark, including a stellar 67% ATS (117-59) record since Nov. 23. StatFox Zach is leading the way at 65% ATS (31-17-1) on Best Bets this season, including 71% ATS (25-10) since Nov. 22, while StatFox Brian is 63% ATS (31-18-1) for the season and 69% ATS (24-11) since Nov. 26. StatFox Scott is 62% ATS (29-18) for the season and 68% ATS (21-10) since Dec. 2, while StatFox Dave is 60% ATS (28-19-1) for the season and 73% ATS (11-4) since Dec. 18. StatFox Gary is 58% ATS (28-20-2) for the season and 67% ATS (20-10) since Dec. 3.

Virginia again has one of the stingiest defenses in the nation, giving up only 55.2 PPG (2nd-best in nation) on 36.9% FG (6th in Div. I), while the club is outrebounding their opponents by +8.7 RPG. Offensively, the Cavaliers score just 65.9 PPG on 44% FG, but they have increased that to 70.1 PPG with 37% threes in non-home games. They are led by senior SG Joe Harris (10.7 PPG, 3.3 RPG), whose scoring numbers are way down from a year ago when he had 16.3 PPG, but his FG Pct. has risen slightly to 49%, and Harris has kept his long-range shooting high too (41% threes). He was the key in last yearís win against Duke, scoring 36 points on 12-of-20 shooting with seven rebounds. Also key that day was PF Akil Mitchell (6.6 PPG, 6.4 RPG), who scored 19 points and grabbed 12 boards. Head coach Tony Bennettís only other double-digit scorer this season is sophomore SG Malcolm Brogdon (10.1 PPG, 5.3 RPG), who is 12-for-18 from the field in his past two games. The other key in the backcourt is freshman PG London Perrantes (4.6 PPG, 3.4 APG), who leads the team in passing and carries a strong 2.7 Ast/TO ratio, but has struggled as a scorer, making only 30% of his FG tries.

Duke, despite its struggles recently, has been one of the most efficient offensive teams in the nation, scoring 82.7 PPG (21st in Div. I) on 48.4% FG (27th in nation). But the Blue Devils have struggled on the boards, getting outrebounded by an average of 13.5 RPG in the two most recent losses to Clemson and Notre Dame. They have also allowed conference foes to score 69.3 PPG on a hefty 49.7% FG clip. Freshman PF Jabari Parker (19.5 PPG, 7.6 RPG) leads the team in scoring and rebounding, though he has struggled in the teamís past four contests, averaging just 11.5 PPG on 33% FG, well below his 50% FG clip for the season. While he has struggled, sophomore transfer SF Rodney Hood (18.6 PPG, 52% FG, 4.7 RPG) has picked up the slack, with three consecutive 20-point efforts in ACC play, where he's averaged 24.7 PPG on 13-of-22 threes (59%). Those two get help up front from C Amile Jefferson (6.3 PPG, 6.3 RPG) who puts up good totals in only 18.1 MPG thanks to a 64.1% FG rate. Junior PG Quinn Cook (13.6 PPG, 6.1 APG) leads the backcourt with an impressive 3.3 Ast/TO ratio. Last year against the Cavaliers, he tallied 22 points on 8-of-17 shooting (4-of-9 threes), though he notched only two assists in his 34 minutes. He plays a grueling 35.6 MPG this season, and has struggled in the past two contests, averaging just 10.5 points on 33% shooting in the two contests.

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