Breaking down Duke v. Virginia

Complete positional match-ups, statistics, and more info surrounding the Cavaliers and Blue Devils .


Duke vs. Virginia
Mar. 16 at 1 pm
TV: ESPN
Greensboro Coliseum

DUKE

VIRGINIA
Overall Record 26-7 (.788) 19-12 (.818)
Location Record 5-2 (.714) on neutral 5-0 (1.000) on neutral
Scoring/G: PF&PA(Rank) 79.1 (21) 66.9 (281) 65.2 (181) 55.1 (1)
Rebound Margin/G: RM(Rank) 2.0 (128) 6.3 (15)
Steals/G:
S(Rank)
7.0 (68) 5.4 (245)
Assists/G: A(Rank)
14.6 (46) 13.2 (140)
Field-Goal Percentage: FG%(Rank) 46.6 (65) 45.3 (126)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 3FG%(Rank) 39.1 (20) 36.3 (73)
Field-Goal Percentage Against: FG%(Rank) 45.4 (247) 38.5 (9)
Ranking: Coaches' Poll #6 #8
Ranking:
AP Poll
#7 #6

BPI

8 (86.0) 6 (86.5)
Point Guard

ADVANTAGE: DUKE
PG: Quinn Cook (6-2, 180, Jr.) vs. London Perrantes (6-2, 190, Fr.)

While Cook may not start, he will likely play more than half the game at the point for Duke after helping the Blue Devils battle past NC State in what was his best performance in several weeks. Against the Wolfpack Cook shot 80 percent from the floor and 75 percent from the free throw line to finish with 14 points and three assists in 22 minutes. If Duke is going to attempt to control the pace (as they did in Cameron for much of the game), then it'll be up to Cook to run the show. Of course, Cook will split time with likely starter Tyler Thornton, who won't score (aside from an occasional wide open three ball), but is the heart and soul of a team that sometimes struggles to generate its own energy. On the flip side, Virginia freshman Perrantes, like Thornton, isn't a big stats guy. He's averaging just over 5 points per game along with 3.8 assists. Those numbers are far from impressive, but a look behind the box score shows a player who understands tempo and who can control the flow of the game. Over his last five games the freshman has recorded 22 assists against just six turnovers. In the first match-up the Cameron setting didn't really bother Perrantes in terms of valuing the ball, and there's no reason to think he'll be forced into bad decisions this time around either. If Cook plays as he did against NC State and Clemson, Duke has the advantage here..

Shooting Guard

ADVANTAGE: VIRGINIA
SG: Rasheed Sulaimon (6-4, 190, So.) vs. Ralston Turner (6-5, 217, So.)

Brogdon can score, defend, and do pretty much everything in between. He struggled against Florida State in the ACC Quarterfinal round (6 points on 2-of-10 shooting), but that game marked the first time he hadn't hit double figures since the start of 2014. In the first matchup he was Virginia's best offensive weapon, hitting 6-of-13 shots to finish with 17 points and five rebounds. Of course that wasn't enough to overcome Sulaimon's 21 point performance, and the Duke sophomore has played well in Greensboro this week. However, Sulaimon's perimeter shot hasn't been on the mark (he's just 5-of-17) over the last four games. It hasn't really mattered as the Houston native is slashing to the basket and either finishing or drawing fouls. This matchup is truly a tossup, but we give a slight edge to Brodgon simply because he's been a tad more consistent over the course of the season.

Small Forward

ADVANTAGE: DUKE
SF: Rodney Hood (6-8, 215, So.) vs. Joe Harris (6-6, 225, Sr.)

Harris is the poster child for the Tony Bennett school of basketball. He's hard-nosed, tough, and fundamentally sound. A season ago Harris was asked to do more scoring, so he did (to the tune of 16.3 points per game). As a senior, however, Harris has been placed back into a machine that has a lot of equally dangerous and efficient cogs and his scoring average has dipped to 11.3 per game. When they need him, however, the Cavaliers know that Harris can light up a scoreboard as he did against Florida State (20 points on 7/12 shooting). On the flip side, Hood is the more naturally talented player, but he was out-played by Harris in the first game (Harris finished with 15 points and 7 rebound while Hood went for 14 points). Hood will look to generate his offense from the perimeter against the Cavalier's "pack it in" defense, but he'll need to find his range in Greensboro to do so. So far he's hit just 2-of-9 shots from long range in the tournament.

Power Forward

ADVANTAGE: DUKE
PF: Jabari Parker (6-8, 240, Fr.) vs. Akil Mitchell (6-8, 235, Sr.)

Mitchell is an athletic big forward who scores around the basket, rebounds at a high level, but if you put him on the free throw line…look out (44 percent). Given Duke's trouble on the glass at times this season, it was no surpass that Mitchell recorded nine boards in 33 minutes in Cameron. Had he shot a reasonable percentage against the Blue Devils at the line, Virginia might have actually ended the Blue Devils' streak of home court victories. Still, Mitchell will make life difficult for Parker with his athleticism and strength. That was the case in Cameron where Parker was held to just eight points (3-of-11 shooting) and three rebounds in only 26 minutes of action. If Mitchell can out-play or even match Parker by either production or limiting the talented freshman, then Virginia will win on Sunday. Period. Parker is, without question, the superior player, but Mitchell isn't a great matchup for him, and has already proven capable of giving the Duke freshman all manner of trouble.

Center

ADVANTAGE: DUKE
C: Amile Jefferson (6-9, 215, So.) vs. Mike Tobey (6-11, 253, So.)

Tobey is a traditional center who makes his living by creating space for his teammates and converting opportunistic baskets. In short, he plays a very similar role to Marshall Plumlee when the Duke center gets into the game for extended minutes. Don't expect Tobey to play much more than 15 minutes, however as match ups will dictate both teams going small. Opposite Tobey will be Jefferson who recorded 10 points and 15 rebounds against the Cavaliers in the first game while shooting 100 percent from the floor (4-of-4). Much like Tobey, Jefferson doesn't really look for his offense as a first or second option, but during the tournament's first two days he's shot 67 percent from the field and averaged six points and 10 rebounds per game. Jefferson will be a matchup problem for Tobey until Virginia elects to go smaller.

Bench

ADVANTAGE: VIRGINIA
Bench: Virginia has, without question, the best bench player of the two teams in 6-foot-6, 230 pound guard/forward Justin Anderson. The sophomore doesn't really beat you with his offense, but can change the game with his defensive ability. He's the perfect system player for the Cavalier style of play, and when he rotates in it'll be to defend either Hood or Parker. In the first game he came off the bench to play 26 minutes and record 12 points and 3 rebounds. Virginia will also rely on big forward Anthony Gill, a 6'8, 230 pound sophomore who has found his scoring ability inside of late. For the year he's averaged just eight points and four rebounds per game, but over the last three contests he's gone for 13.7 points and 4.0 rebounds while shooting 54 percent from the field. When the Cavaliers go smaller and remove Tobey, it'll be Gill coming in help out and provide a much different look for Virginia. Duke, meanwhile, probably has more depth with players such as Andre Dawkins, Plumlee, and Cook/Tyler Thornton. Matt Jones has also gotten some burn when Duke needs a defensive presence on the court. The most crucial player here is likely Dawkins, who registered a DNP-Coach's Decision against NC State after starting against Clemson. If he can force Virigina to extend the defense out because of his three point shooting, it could be a defining point of the game. Duke definitely has more depth and fire power, but Virginia's pieces fit into their machine so very well and are more consistent.
Coaching

ADVANTAGE: DUKE
Coaching: Mike Krzyzewski vs. Tony Bennett

Bennett has done a fantastic job this year, taking a team most picked to finish in the upper middle of the pack and turning them into the run-away ACC Regular season winner. Certainly there is something to be said of the unequal schedule Virginia enjoyed, but the Cavaliers have beaten the teams in front of them and put together one of the most impressive performances of the season in a 20 point beat down of Syracuse in early March. For that, Bennett was rightly named the ACC Coach of the Year. He's installed a system that works and one that is a matchup nightmare for any opponent. He's turned the Cavaliers into the Wisconsin of the ACC, and that's going to lead to a lot of success over the years. Most importantly, he has his team expecting to win, and believing they are the cream of the crop in the ACC. Meanwhile, Duke has Coach K. The Blue Devil head man has worked extremely hard to find a cohesive formula for a team that is made up of very talented pieces. However, his roster is seriously flawed, and he's had to work exceptionally hard to mask those flaws. This will be a fantastic matchup, but K is the best coach of the modern era for a reason.

Outcome

ADVANTAGE: DUKE
65 59
Prediction: In the first matchup Duke was cruising along to a comfortable victory. The Blue Devils were up by 11 points with just over three and a half minutes remaining. That's when the wheels came off as Duke began to milk the clock, but didn't execute down the stretch. Duke gave up layups and then three point plays as Virginia erased a big deficit and made it a game. Fast forward to Greensboro and the final game before the NCAA Tournament what has changed for either team? Virginia is still a team that wants to play a game in the 50s and 60s. Duke wants to play a game in the 70s and 80s. Virginia will transition back defensively as well as any team Duke has seen or will see this year. But what about the Blue Devils? Is Jabari Parker the same player who struggled mightily against the Cavaliers? Has Duke learned to execute "stall ball" in a manner that allows for good shots as the clock is winding down? Also, how will the change in environment impact the game? Duke was at home for that contest and fed off a desperate home crowd. Duke also didn't get the usual brilliance from either Parker or Hood who combined to shoot 8-of-23 from the floor and 4-of-13 from the perimeter. We think both players will show up in what is likely the final ACC game for both players and Duke will be able to pull away down the stretch.

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