Game Day: Duke (26-4) vs. Georgia Tech (23-8)

A win on Wednesday night against Georgia Tech would secure yet another ACC regular season title for the Blue Devils. However for that to happen Duke will need a complete effort as the Yellow Jackets enter the game as one of the country's most dangerous teams. <I>TheDevilsDen.com</I> runs down the match up.

Game Facts:

Duke (26-4, 14-3 ACC), ranked fifth in the nation by the AP and fourth by ESPN/USA Today, will face Georgia Tech (23-8, 10-7) on March 13 in the semifinals of the 2004 ACC Tournament in Greensboro. Tipoff is set for 1:30 PM. The game will be broadcast by ESPN and Raycom/JP.

The Series:

Overall                            Duke 52-21
At Cameron Indoor Stadium          Duke 26-5
uAt Alexander Memorial Coliseum    Duke 17-11
In ACC Tournament                  Tied 3-3
Current Streak                     Georgia Tech W 1
Longest Duke Win Streak            15 (1997-2004)
Longest Georgia Tech Win Streak    2 (several times)
Biggest Duke Win                   98-54 (2/21/01)
Biggest GT Win                     83-72 (3/10/90)
                                   75-64 (3/9/85)
Duke Under Coach K                 37-16

This will mark the 74th meeting between Duke and Georgia Tech with the Blue Devils holding a 52-21 series lead. Duke had won 15 consecutive games vs. Georgia Tech, including its eighth straight victory at Alexander Memorial Coliseum earlier this season before the Yellow Jackets beat Duke 76-68 on March 3rd at Cameron.

Last Time:

On Mar. 3 in Durham, freshman Luol Deng suffered his worst performance as a Blue Devil, hitting just 1-of-14 from the field as the Blue Devils fell into a hole and couldn't recover in a 76-68 loss.

Jarrett Jack had 15 points for the Yellow Jackets (21-8, 8-7 Atlantic Coast Conference), who had lost 15 straight to Duke, a streak dating to the 1995-96 season.

Georgia Tech built a 12-point lead late in the first half and never trailed after that, answering Duke's spurts with runs of their own. Luke Schenscher scored 14 points, including several key second-half baskets.

Notable:

*- With its 84-74 victory over the Virginia Cavaliers, Duke upped its conference tournament win streak to a record 16 straight games, dating back to the 1999 season.

*- The Blue Devils have dominated the ACC in recent years, winning the past five league tournament championships, finishing no lower than second in the regular season since 1996-97, and posting 107 ACC wins the past eight seasons

*- In the Associated Press poll, Duke is one of only two teams in the nation to be ranked among the nation's top 10 all season (Connecticut is the other). The No. 4 Blue Devils have not been ranked lower than sixth all season

*- Duke's entire regular starting five — Chris Duhon, J.J. Redick, Shelden Williams, Luol Deng and Daniel Ewing — each earned some kind of All-ACC recognition this week. Duhon was first team All-ACC, Redick and Williams second team, Deng third team and Ewing an honorable mention selection.

*- Duke freshman Luol Deng, making his push for ACC and National Rookie of the Year honors, has earned the ACC Rookie of the Week award for the fourth time in five weeks on March 1. Deng averaged 19.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists in wins over Valparaiso and Florida State last week. Deng had 22 points and 10 rebounds in the first Georgia Tech game this season.

*- Duke jumped to No. 1 in the latest RPI ratings with its 70-65 victory over North Carolina on March 6. The Blue Devils' strength of schedule was ranked seventh nationally by the RPI.

*- Duke has had a total of 102 first (56) or second team (46) ACC All-Tournament honorees, including three a year ago. Of Duke's returning players, Chris Duhon (2nd team in 2002), Daniel Ewing (ACC Tournament MVP in 2003) and J.J. Redick (2nd team in 2003) are the three current Duke players who've earned ACC All-Tournament recognition in their careers.

*- Shelden Williams has blocked a team- and ACC-best 96 shots this season, while Shavlik Randolph (53) and Luol Deng (34) each have at least 34 rejections so far this year.

*- Duke has been solid from the free throw line this season. The Blue Devils' free throw percentage is .740 (490-of-662). Duke has made 490 foul shots while its opponents have attempted just 499. The .740 free throw percentage is the best for Duke since connecting on .742 of its foul shots in 1999-2000.

*- Duke has been very balanced offensively this season as six players — J.J. Redick (16.4), Luol Deng (14.7), Shelden Williams (12.4), Daniel Ewing (12.0), Chris Duhon (10.0) and Shavlik Randolph (7.4) — are averaging at least 7.4 points per game. Duke's high scorer in a game this season is 28 by Redick at No. 21 N.C. State on Feb. 15. In 19 of the 27 games this season, Duke has had at least four double-digit scorers, including five games with five players reaching double figures and two with six.

*- Eleven of Duke's last 22 opponents have shot .400 or less from the floor, including .318 by 11thranked Texas on Dec. 20, .400 by fifth-ranked Michigan State on Dec. 3, .353 by fourth-ranked Wake Forest on Jan. 17 and .377 by No. 14 Georgia Tech on Jan. 31.

*- Duke has a 106-40 record during the month of March under Mike Krzyzewski. The Blue Devils have won 23 of their last 29 games in March dating back to the 2001 season.

*- Daniel Ewing is closing in on 1,000 career points. Ewing has 972 career points. His teammate, J.J. Redick, is up to 943 career points.

Meet the Yellow Jackets:

Probable Starting Lineup: 
   Jarrett Jack (6-3, 198, G, So.) – 12.8 ppg, 5.9 apg, 2.0 spg
   Marvin Lewis (6-4, 205, G, Sr.) – 11.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg
   B.J. Elder (6-4, 218, G, Jr.) – 16.0 ppg, 2.9 rpg
   Anthony McHenry (6-7, 218, F, Jr.) – 2.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg
   Luke Schenscher (7-1, 255, C, Jr.) – 9.0 ppg, 6.6 rpg
Key Reserves: 
   Isma'il Muhammad (6-6, 225, F, Jr.) – 9.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg
   Will Bynum (6-0, 185, G, Jr.) – 9.7 ppg, 2.7 apg
   Clarence Moore (6-5, 215, F, Sr.) – 5.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg
   Theodis Tarver (6-9, 245, F, So.) – 1.4 ppg, 1.6 rpg
   Robert Brooks (6.8, 210, F, Sr.) – 1.5 ppg, 1.6 rpg

Heading into the season many experts believed the Jackets had an outside shot to finish in sixth place in the ACC. However, an early season blow out of then number one UConn along with impressive wins at Wake Forest among others no ACC team has been able to look past Paul Hewitt's club.

Georgia Tech enters the game with top ranked Duke coming off a victory over Clemson, which propelled the Jackets to the 20 win plateau and evened their ACC record at 7-7. Prior to the victory over the Tigers, Tech had dropped two straight to Wake Forest and NC State. Currently Hewitt has his team at 23-8 overall and 10-7 in the conference.

Much like Duke's last opponent, Florida State, Georgia Tech's offense is based primarily on the strength of the perimeter game. When they are hitting from long range, the defense has to extend, allowing super sophomore point guard Jarret Jack to drive and create off the dribble. Perhaps the most dangerous Techster on the perimeter is junior wing B.J. Elder, who is coming off a career high 36 points against Clemson.

While Elder and Jack are certainly high major players, the backcourt has recently gotten much better with the arrival of Arizona transfer Will Bynum, who can score from the perimeter or soar to the basket. Joining that trio is senior sharp shooter Marvin Lewis, who's hitting 40% of his perimeter shots while scoring 11 points per game. Lewis is certainly the player Duke doesn't want to send to the line where he's hitting 86% of his attempts.

With a loaded backcourt, the Yellow Jackets are still searching for a dominant presence in the post. Last year they had Chris Bosh and Ed Nelson banging inside, this year the cuppard isn't nearly as full with the duo of 7-foot-1 Luke Schenscher and Clarence Moore, both of whom are able to score occasionally and routinely get to rebounds. Depth in the paint is provided by a pair of 6-foot-9 forwards in Robert Brooks and Theodis Tarver.

In the past two meetings Schenscher has killed Duke inside when Shelden Williams gets into foul trouble. He benefits from Tech's ability to move the ball around and has good fundamentals.

A preview of Georgia Tech wouldn't be complete without mention of Isma'il Muhammad, who's ability to slash to the basket will remind many ACC fans of some of the better dunkers in league history.


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