Preview: Duke v. Clemson

Previewing the Blue Devils and Tigers who tip-off in South Carolina tonight

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski is hoping his team doesn't suffer a letdown following a hard-fought win.

Facing an inconsistent Clemson squad may help.

The eighth-ranked Blue Devils will try to stay unbeaten in the ACC by adding to their recent dominance over the Tigers on Sunday.

After losing to Temple earlier this month, Duke has bounced back with a pair of victories to open conference play, and the latest one was easily the more impressive. The Blue Devils (14-2, 2-0) fended off a late surge from No. 16 Virginia during a 61-58 home victory Thursday.

Despite being held to a season low in points, Duke held the Cavaliers to 39.3 percent shooting and a 3-of-16 performance from 3-point range. Mason Plumlee led four players in double figures with 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds.

"We just have to make sure we're mature enough to have the same resolve after we've won a big game," Krzyzewski said. "That's what our Duke teams have done over the years. They've not won one game but multiple games after they won a big game.

"Hopefully, we can teach this group to do that. If we're able to knock off Clemson, the experience of doing that will be great."

The Blue Devils have beaten the Tigers by an average of 15.0 points over the past three meetings, with two of those games coming when Clemson was ranked.

Clemson (9-7, 1-1) wouldn't appear to be as tough of an opponent in this game, but the Tigers have won four in a row at Littlejohn Coliseum after a 2-3 start there. They also posted an impressive win in their only ACC game there this season, 79-59 over Florida State on Jan. 7.

Clemson though, followed that up with a 59-57 loss Thursday to a Boston College team that was 5-10. The Tigers didn't make a field goal in the final 5:53 and were 3 of 8 from the line over the final five minutes, including two misses by Devin Booker in the final second.

Leading scorer Andre Young (13.1 ppg) had a team-best 12 points and was one of two Clemson players in double figures along with T.J. Sapp (11 points). The Tigers had just seven bench points, all from freshman guard Rod Hall.

Another such performance likely won't help against the Blue Devils, who have won 25 of the past 27 matchups - including 10 of 11 at Clemson.

Duke won 60-47 in its most recent game there Jan. 23, 2010, and beat Clemson 70-59 at home March 2 as Seth Curry scored 18 points. Curry will next try to help the Blue Devils to their first 3-0 start in the ACC since winning its first five games in 2008-09.

"To come out on top against a really good Virginia team is a huge step. We're becoming more and more of a team, trusting each other on the defensive end and trusting each other to knock down shots," forward Ryan Kelly said. "More and more guys are stepping up. We believe in each other and we're becoming a team."

Duke leads the series 103-29, and Krzyzewski is seeking his 50th win in 61 games against the Tigers.


Blue Devil Digest Top Stories