DUKE BLUE DEVILS (16-1)
at MIAMI HURRICANES (13-3)
BankUnited Center Ė Coral Gables, FL
Tip-off: Wednesday, 7:00 p.m. ET
Line: Duke -2.5, Total: 130.5
Back at No. 1 again, Duke is still in search of its first true road win of the season and will travel to No. 25 Miami for ACC action on Wednesday night.
Last season, the Hurricanes upset Duke in overtime at Cameron Indoor Stadium 78-74 and this year, they are off to an undefeated start in ACC play at 4-0 (3-1 ATS). But both teams are dealing with significant injuries. Duke is missing senior F Ryan Kelly (foot), who was integral both on the defensive end (5.4 RPG, 1.7 BPG) and to opening up the offense (13.4 PPG, 52% threes). The Hurricanes are without big man Reggie Johnson (broken thumb), whose burly presence in the paint (12.6 PPG, 10.1 RPG) would be critical against this Duke frontcourt.
Can Miami beat Duke for the second straight season? For the answer, connect to College Basketball Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. StatFox Gary has a sparkling 56.4% ATS (57-44) record for the season for college basketball Best Bets, while StatFox Dave is 53.4% ATS (93-81-3) on the year. Dave is 7-3-1 ATS (70%) since Nov. 24 when he mentions the word "hammer" in his analysis, including 5-3 ATS (63%) when he uses the term "Hammertime." StatFox Brian is 10-8 ATS (56%) since Jan. 12, with 8 non-losing days out of these 11 days. StatFox Scott is 2-1 ATS in the past three days.
National Player of the Year candidate Mason Plumlee (17.4 PPG, 11.5 RPG) leads the team in scoring and rebounding, but he hasnít been the same since Kelly got injured. In the past three games, Plumlee has made just 17-of-39 shots (43.6%), dropping his season FG rate to 59.1%. Heíll benefit most from the absence of Johnson, getting held to just six points on 2-of-7 FG in last yearís matchup. Plumlee was a beast on the boards in that loss though with 13 rebounds, including seven on the offensive end. SG Seth Curry (16.9 PPG), who carried the team with 22 points in last yearís loss to Miami, is coming off two consecutive 20-point efforts, draining 11-of-17 threes in that span. PG Quinn Cook (11.5 PPG, 6.1 APG) runs the Duke offense very well (2.67 Ast/TO rate) and has stepped up as a scorer in Kellyís absence, putting up 17.0 PPG in the teamís past three games. The key offensively for Duke though, may be freshman G Rasheed Sulaimon (11.0 PPG), who broke out of a funk in the last game against Georgia Tech with a 15-point effort on 5-of-8 shooting. This was a nice bounce-back game after his 0-for-10 FG, zero rebounds and zero assists in 27 minutes in the loss at NC State on Jan. 12. Sulaimon is one of the few Blue Devils on this Mike Krzyzewski squad with the ability to create his own shot.
Johnson may be gone, but his frontcourt mate C/F Kenny Kadji (12.6 PPG, 7.3 RPG) was instrumental to torching Duke last year, hitting 4-of-5 three-pointers en route to a 15-point, eight-rebound performance before fouling out. Heís been cold from deep this year though, hitting just 33.3% of his three-point tries. Miami's leading scorer, SG Durand Scott (13.8 PPG, 4.5 RPG), has also been missing from long distance, going 3-of-20 from three-point land in the past six games. Scott is more of a workhorse than anything, grinding out 35 MPG for head coach Jim Larranaga. Although he posted a solid 11 points and six rebounds in last year's upset in Durham, he made just 3-of-12 FG in that game. Sophomore PG Shane Larkin (12.2 PPG, 3.9 APG) is an effective point guard (1.82 Ast/TO ratio), though matching up against Cook is a difficult proposition. The guy to watch may be C Julian Gamble (6.6 PPG, 4.6 RPG) who has stepped up in Johnsonís absence, scoring 9.3 PPG (58% FG) with 6.7 RPG in his past three games.