Previewing Virginia

The Blue Devils will return home to face another tough challenge in the form of the Cavaliers.


?F- 12 Joe Harris (10.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg)
?F- 25 Akil Mitchell (6.6 ppg, 6.4 rpg)
C- 10 Mike Tobey (7.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg)
G- 15 Malcolm Brogdon (10.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg)
?G- 23 London Perrantes (4.6 ppg, 2.1 rpg)

?Senior forward Joe Harris is very familiar to Duke after torching the Blue Devils last season in Charlottesville. In that game, Harris was on another level from the rest of the players, scoring 36 points and grabbing 7 rebounds as the Cavaliers held off Duke for a five point victory. Harris hasn't had anything resembling that performance this season, scoring more than 16 points just four times in 16 games. He has, however, reached double-figures in ten of 16 games.


  • Virginia has started the ACC season with three straight double-figure victories over Florida State (12 points), Wake Forest (23), and North Carolina State (31). It's a complete turnaround from an early season that saw the team lose some strange out of conference games to Wisconsin-Green Bay and a 35 point defeat at Tennessee.

  • The Cavalier roster isn't overly big with just one player standing taller than 6-foot-8, which is very similar to Duke. However, unlike the Blue Devils to date, Virginia is overcoming the size issues by playing tough defense and rebounding the basketball. On the boards, Virginia is out-rebounding opponents by a +8 margin, and the Cavaliers are holding teams to 37 percent shooting from the field and 32 percent from the perimeter.

  • Virginia has out-rebounded its opponents in 13 of 16 games. The Cavaliers rank 13th nationally in rebound percentage at 55.5 percent and are enjoying a +8.5 average rebound margin per game. Akil Mitchell (6.1), Malcolm Brogdon (5.5), Mike Tobey (4.5), Justin Anderson (4.3), Anthony Gill (3.9), Darion Atkins (3.7) and Joe Harris (3.4) are each averaging three or more rebounds per game.

  • A stat that should truly concern the Blue Devils is that UVa has outscored its opponents in the paint in 12 of 16 games and 456-326 overall. The Blue Devils have been unable to prevent teams from producing inside for much of the season, which has resulted in an inability to built sustainable leads or get crucial stops.

  • As of Jan. 9, the Cavaliers rank in the top 10 nationally in seven defensive categories: points per game (4th), rebounds per game (7th), possessions per 40 minutes (7th), points per possession (8th), field goal percentage (10th), offensive rebounding percentage (10th) and offensive rebounds per game (10th). Virginia has held 13 of its 15 opponents below 50 percent shooting from the floor and opponents are shooting 37.4 percent (10th nationally) from the floor and 32.5 percent from 3-point range overall. Virginia has limited its opponents to a combined 59 fast break points for an aver- age of 3.9 per game.

  • It may not matter when they tip off as Duke may find itself outside the top 25 for the first time in nearly 20 years, but Virginia is 7-15 against ranked opponents, including a 1-6 mark vs. top-5 foes, in the Tony Bennett era. UVa is 122-311 vs. ranked opponents, including a 24-119 mark against top-5 foes, since 1953-54. UVa is 0-2 vs. ranked opponents this season, losing 59-56 to No. 14 VCU and 48-38 to No. 8 Wisconsin.

    Virginia athletics contributed to this report.

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