Preview: Duke (14-1) v. Clemson (14-3)

Previewing the Blue Devils and Tigers who tip off in Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The game will be nationally broadcast on ESPN beginning at 6:00 PM.


Duke (14-1, 2-0) vs Clemson (14-3, 2-1)
Durham, N.C. - Cameron Indoor Stadium
TV: ESPN / Tip: 6:00 PM EST

Program Vitals
Conference: Atlantic Coast
Nickname: Tigers
Colors: Orange & White
Head Coach: Oliver Purnell (5th year)
Career Record at Clemson: 84-61 (340-252 Overall)

Projected Starters:
 2 Demontez Stitt (6-2, 170, Fr.) – 8.4 ppg, 3.2 apg
25 Cliff Hammonds (6-3, 200, Sr.) – 10.5 ppg, 3.9 apg
35 Trevor Booker (6-7, 240, So.) – 12.5 ppg, 9.1 rpg
 1 K.C. Rivers (6-5, 215, Jr.) – 15.6 ppg, 7.1 rpg
40 James Mays (6-9, 230, Sr.) – 11.7 ppg, 7.0 rpg

Key Reserves:
22 Terrence Oglesby (6-2, 185, Sr.) – 11.9 ppg, 2.1 rpg
15 David Potter (6-6, 205, So.) – 5.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg
12 Raymond Sykes (6-9, 220, Jr.) – 5.2 ppg, 2.8 rpg
45 Jerai Grant (6-8, 215, Fr.) - 2.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg

Storylines:

How They Got Here:
Duke enters Saturday's game riding a two game conference winning streak after blowing out Virginia at home and then pulling away from Florida State, 70-57, in Tallahassee on Wednesday evening.

Clemson, which is ranked 23rd in the country, enters the game on the heels of a convincing 70-54 win over North Carolina State at home. Prior to the win over the Wolfpack, the Tigers beat Florida State in double-overtime by 12. The two game win streak is a nice rebound after losing to North Carolina and then Charlotte in the previous two contests.

Series History:
The Blue Devils and Blue Devils have met 126 times before with Duke holding a 99-27 series advantage, and a 53-4 series lead in games played at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke has won 21 straight over the Tigers. Clemson's last victory came on January 7, 1997 in overtime by a score of 86-82.

Injury Report:
Duke center Brian Zoubek is listed as questionable for the game against Clemson.

Stamina Not A Problem For Clemson:
Clemson played overtime games in each of its first two conference games. The Tigers lost to UnC on Jan. 6 in one overtime by a 90-88 score, then defeated Florida state in double overtime on Jan.12 by a 97-85 score. It marked the first time in ACC history that a team played overtime games in each of its first two conference games.

Booker A Big Timer:
Though the offense has focused heavily on the perimeter players, big man Trevor Booker recently put together a three game offensive streak that is certainly notable. The 6'7, 240lbs sophomore compiled 74 points (24.7 PPG) against Charlotte, Florida State, and North Carolina State. During that time he's shooting 26-of-36 from the field and 5-of-8 from the perimeter. He also has 12 blocks and 38 rebounds over the last four games.

Clemson Among ACC Leaders:
Several Tigers enter the game at the top of various ACC statistical categories. Terrence Oglesby leads the ACC in three-pointers made (2.63). Oglesby is second in the league, 3pt shooting 43.4%. Meanwhile Cliff Hammonds leads the ACC in assist to turnover ratio at 2.86-to-1. Meanwhile Brooker is the ACC leader in defensive rebounds - averaging 6.3 per game. James Mays would rank second in the ACC in steals per game if he had played enough to games to qualify. A hip injury kept Mays out of five games, and you must play 75% of your team's games to qualify for stats leaders. Mays is averaging 2.54 per contest.

Freshman Guard Handling The Pressure
Demontez Stitt left the Florida State game with a sprained knee, but returned against NC State to score six points and hand out four assists with no turnovers in 26 minutes of action. For the season the freshman is averaging 8.4 points and 3.2 assists per game. Coupled with Cliff Hammonds, the Tigers can put two ball handlers and distributors on the court at the same time.

Close Games Still An Issue For Clemson:
The Tigers would certainly be ranked much higher and would likely have a win over top ranked North Carolina on their resume if the free throw shooting was better. A season ago the Tigers shot 57.8 percent from the free throw line - the worst such mark in ACC history. A year later, Clemson is still the worst in the conference - shooting 64.8% from the line - and shot just 50% from the free throw line against NC State.

Coach K continues assault on wins list
Duke's victory over Florida State was Krzyzewski's 789th, good enough for sixth on the all-time list. Eddie Sutton is fifth overall and second among active coaches with 798 win while first overall is Coach K's college coach, Bob Knight, with 900 wins. Coach K now has 716 wins at Duke, eighth all-time for most wins at one school and third among active coaches. Don Haskins from UTEP ranks seventh with 719 wins. With 789 career wins in his first 33 seasons, Coach K is currently second on the NCAA's list of most victories in a coaches' first 33 season. He trails Dean Smith, who had 802 wins through 33 seasons.

Prediction:

Duke 85
Clemson 79


Blue Devil Digest Top Stories