College Basketball: Duke at Virginia - Duke Favored
Duke may have looked vulnerable at the beginning of conference play, but its struggles were short-lived.
The eighth-ranked Blue Devils look to continue their rise in the ACC standings when they visit Virginia on Thursday.
Oddsmakers have made Duke -1.5 point spread favorites (College Basketball Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at
136 total points (View College Basketball Sports Books).
After opening its ACC schedule with back-to-back losses, Duke has won five straight conference games by an average of 16.6 points.
The Blue Devils (18-3, 5-2) are coming off a 75-61 win over Boston College on Sunday. Duke, which holds opponents to an ACC-low 56.0 points per game, held Boston College to 34.5 percent shooting - the Eagles' worst mark in conference play this season.
Josh McRoberts had 16 points and 12 rebounds for his second consecutive double-double, and DeMarcus Nelson added 17 points and eight rebounds for the Blue Devils.
"We knew their physicality and their rebounding and the way they play," said Nelson, who scored six straight points to give Duke a 40-32 halftime lead. "The kind of grinding style they play was their strength and we had to match that. We showed that we're capable of doing that."
The young Duke team, which started two freshmen and two sophomores on Sunday, has grown up fast since its 0-2 start in the ACC. Now, the Blue Devils face a surprising Virginia squad that is 2-1 against ranked opponents this season.
"There's not an easy game in our league," coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "Our kids are playing really hard. They're trying and every game is a whole new thing."
Like Duke, Virginia (13-6, 5-2) got off to a slow start in ACC play, losing two of its first three contests. The Cavaliers, though, have rebounded to win four straight, including a 64-63 win at then-No. 19 Clemson on Sunday.
Virginia finished the game with a 15-0 run that was capped with Jason Cain's tip-in with 15.5 seconds left. Cain's putback, his only basket of the game, gave the Cavaliers their first lead since the first half and they stopped Clemson on its next possession to seal the win.
"I told our guys, I'm not sure if I have ever seen a game like that before," Virginia coach Dave Leitao said. "Our team showed tremendous resiliency throughout the game."
J.R. Reynolds led the Cavaliers with 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting, and Sean Singletary and Adrian Joseph each added 11.
"We didn't quit," said Singletary, the ACC's leading scorer. "The look on everybody's face. It's not unbelievable, but I haven't seen that in the first years I've been here."
After winning their last two games on the road, the Cavaliers will be glad to get back to John Paul Jones Arena, where they are 10-1 this season. Their only home loss was a 76-75 defeat on Jan. 7 to Stanford, which is now the No. 23 team in the nation.
Duke has won the last nine games in this series since an 87-84 loss at Virginia on Feb. 28, 2002, and has taken 22 of the last 24 matchups between the teams.
by: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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