Duke at Georgia Tech Spread, Odds, Trends & Matchup Print
Written by Anthony Rome   
Tuesday, 13 January 2009 22:06

Balanced Offense

Atlanta, GA - Duke's early success this season can be credited to a simple formula - balanced scoring on offense combined with suffocating defense.

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This could spell trouble for Georgia Tech, which has struggled to find its rhythm on offensive lately.

Oddsmakers from Online Sportsbook Sportsbook.com have made the Duke –11.5 point spread favorites for Wednesday’s game against the Georgia Tech. Current College Basketball Public Betting Information shows that 51% of more than 135 bets for this game have been placed on the Duke –11.5.

The third-ranked Blue Devils look for another strong defensive performance as they try to win their seventh straight game on Wednesday when they visit the Yellow Jackets, who try to avoid starting 0-3 in ACC play for the second consecutive season.

After limiting Virgina Tech to just 13 second-half points in winning its ACC opener 69-44, Duke (14-1, 2-0) nearly duplicated that defensive performance in its second conference game.

In Saturday's 66-58 victory at Florida State, the Blue Devils led 19-14 at the break. Duke held Florida State to just 7-of-34 shooting in the first half and 31.0 percent shooting in the game.

"We struggled all night against their pressure,'' Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton said.

Florida State isn't the only team that's had trouble scoring against the Blue Devils.

Duke's defense has been its strength all season, as it leads the ACC in scoring defense (60.5 points per game) and is fifth in field goal defense (38.7 percent).

The Blue Devils, who have won six straight games since an 81-73 loss at Michigan on Dec. 6, have been at their best lately. They've held their last four opponents to an average of 55.0 points on 35.5 percent shooting, including 18.6 percent from 3-point range.

Georgia Tech (9-6, 0-2), meanwhile, has not had much luck lately on the offensive end.

The Yellow Jackets shot just 39.1 percent in their last two games, and turned the ball over 28 times in Saturday's 68-61 loss at Maryland.

Georgia Tech was in position to beat the Terrapins, leading 50-40 with 9:44 left, but went 4-for-13 from the field with five turnovers the rest of the way.

"We really didn't give ourselves a chance to win," Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt said.

The Blue Devils have won three straight games over the Yellow Jackets since a 74-63 loss on Jan. 10, 2007 - their last trip to Georgia Tech. That win snapped the Yellow Jackets' 10-game home losing streak to Duke, which has won 23 of the last 25 meetings overall.

Duke's Gerald Henderson had 27 points on 11-of-19 shooting in two games against Georgia Tech last season, and finished with a career-high 25 points on 9-of-14 shooting against Florida State.

Henderson helped carry the offense on Saturday, as the rest of the team combined to go 9-for-28 (32.1 percent). Jon Scheyer finished with nine points on 1-for-7 shooting after averaging 17.0 points on 55.6 percent shooting in his previous four.

"Henderson was the star for us," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "I thought his physicality, his athletic ability to create some shots was huge."

Forward Kyle Singler, who is averaging a team-high 16.7 points, finished with 15 on Saturday. He had 18 points and nine rebounds in the two games against the Yellow Jackets last season as a freshman.

Georgia Tech, picked to finish eighth in the ACC, lost to Virginia 88-84 in overtime in its conference opener before falling short against Maryland.

"That's who we are," Hewitt said. "Right now we're not good enough to win those type of games."

The Yellow Jackets are led by Gani Lawal, who is averaging team highs of 16.8 points and 10.0 rebounds.

Lawal finished with 14 points and 10 boards for his ninth double-double of the season on Saturday, but also turned the ball over five times.

Georgia Tech has yet to face a ranked opponent this season after going 1-7 against Top 25 teams in 2007-08. The Yellow Jackets have lost seven straight games against Top 5 opponents since a 78-75 win over then-No. 2 North Carolina on March 12, 2005.

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Posted: 1/13/09 3:06AM ET


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