Preview: Duke (11-1) v. Clemson (12-2)

Previewing the Blue Devils and Tigers who tip-off ACC play on Sunday night in Durham. The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports beginning at 7:45 PM EST.


Duke (11-1) vs Clemson (12-2)
Durham, N.C. - Cameron Indoor Stadium
TV: Fox Sports South / Tip: 7:45 PM EST

Program Vitals
Conference:  ACC
Nickname:  Tigers
Colors:  Orange, Purple, White 
Head Coach: Oliver Purnell (7th season)
Career Record at Clemson: 129-79 

Projected Starters:
 2 Demontez Stitt (6-2, 175, Jr.) – 10.1 ppg, 3.6 apg
 5 Tanner Smith (6-5, 220, So.) – 10.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg
31 Devin Booker (6-8, 235, Fr.) – 5.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg
15 David Potter (6-6, 215, Sr.) – 8.1 ppg, 2.9 rpg
35 Trevor Booker (6-7, 240, Sr.) - 14.8 ppg, 8.9 rpg

Key Reserves:
45 Jerai Grant (6-8, 220, Jr.) – 5.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg
 1 Noel Johnson (6-6, 190, Fr.) – 5.4 ppg, 1.8 rpg
24 Milton Jennings (6-9, 225, So.) – 4.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg

Story Lines For Clemson:

How They Got Here:
The Tigers entered the season picked as one of the top teams in the ACC. Typically Clemson opens the season with a pre-conference slate full of cupcakes. This year features a similar recipe with a handful of "name" programs tossed in among the first 14 games. The Tigers have beaten one ranked opponent so far this season - a one point victory over then No. 10 Butler. After that, the team's two most recognizable opponents are Texas A&M and Illinois - both losses by nine and two points respectively.

Meanwhile Duke has rebounded in a big way since losing to Wisconsin. In the five games since falling in Madison, the Blue Devils have beaten St. John's, Garner Webb, No. 15 Gonzaga, Long Beach State, and Pennsylvania by an average of 33.8 points per contest.

Series History:
After winning 22 straight contests against the Tigers, the Blue Devils have lost two straight including last year's 27 point humiliation at Littlejon. In that game Duke entered the game as the nation's No. 3 team while Clemson was ranked 10th. If Clemson can defeat Duke on Sunday, it would give Clemson a three-game winning streak against the Blue Devils for the first time since the 1994-95 to 1995-96 era.

Injury Report:
Both teams enter the game relatively healthy. Duke is down a man from the start of the season with the transfer of sophomore forward Olek Czyz.

Experienced Tigers Know How To Hurt Duke
In five games against Duke, Clemson senior forward Trevor Booker has proven himself a worthy opponent. In those five contests the 6'7 Booker has averaged 14.8 points per contest. That average was helped a season ago when he scored 21 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and swatted three shots whole registering 8-10 field goal shooting. In addition Booker has blocked 2.0 shots per game while registering 1.8 steals. David Potter, Jerai Grant, and Demontez Stitt have all played in three or more games against the Blue Devils and have combined to average more than 11 points, 3 assists, and 3 rebounds per game.

Common Ties of Red, White, & Blue:
Clemson coach Oliver Purnell and Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski both have experience in international basketball, specifically with the US Olympic team. Krzyzewski served as the head coach of the 2008 United States Olympic team that won the Gold Medal. He was an assistant coach for the 1992 team, the squad referred to as the "Dream Team". He also served as the head coach of the US team at the 1990 World Champion- ships and the Goodwill Games. He was the 1987 US team for the World University Games.

Purnell served as an assistant coach under Larry Brown and with Roy Williams on the 2004 United States Olympic team. He was also the head coach of the US team in the 1999 World University Games, a squad that had an 8-0 record and won the Gold Medal. Overall, Purnell served as an assistant coach or head coach on seven different USA Basketball teams and

Booker Is A Handful For Devils:
Trevor Booker has seen Duke just five times as an opponent. In those five games he's averaged 14.8 points and 6.4 rebounds. He has made 31- 49 shots from the field for a .632 percentage. That includes 17-21 made field goals in the last two games he has played against Duke. Both games were Clemson victories. He has scored 22 points and has 13 rebounds on 9-19 shooting in two games at Cameron Indoor Stadium. It's not just Duke that the 6'7, 240 pounder has terrorized over the last few years, however. He's among the ACC's active leaders in double-doubles with 28 in his career. He's added five to the total this year - most recently he had 13 points and 12 rebounds against East Carolina.

Cameron's Best Chance To Impact Clemson
If the Cameron Crazies are going to make an impact on the Tigers, this year's game may be their best chance in a while. That's because it'll be the first time in the historic stadium for a vast majority of the roster. Clemson has just four players on its roster who have played in Cameron Indoor Stadium. That includes Jerai Grant, who played just one minute two years ago in the facility. The other Tigers who have played at Duke are Trevor Booker, David Potter and Demontez Stitt. Booker has played two games at Duke. He had seven points, three rebounds and three blocks at Duke as a freshman in 2006-07. He had 15 points and 10 rebounds at Duke as a sophomore as he hit 6-of-11 from the field. Potter has played two games at Duke and scored two points in each. Stitt had one of the best games of his freshman year (2007- 08) at Duke when he had 15 points on 6-9 shooting in just 19 minutes of play. He also had five assists in that short playing time.

Fearless Prediction(s)
The Blue Devils haven't been tested thoroughly since beating St. John's on the heels of the loss to Wisconsin. Clemson will most likely provide that test with a roster of athletic players who mix blue collar work ethics with high-major athleticism. That's especially true in the paint where the Tigers may be shorter than the Blue Devils, but many analysts would argue they are much tougher. A season ago the Tigers owned the glass, out-rebounding Duke 41-30. In addition Clemson forced 16 turnovers including 12 steals while holding Duke to just 23 percent from the perimeter. Clemson also won the specialty stats of points in the paint (36-18), points off turnovers (23-10), second chance points (22-14), fast break points (13-2) and bench scoring (21-9). The Blue Devil backcourt (Jon Scheyer, Kyle Singler, and Nolan Smith), which has been so good this season, will need to continue this year's streak and not mimic last year's performance (a combined 4-of-23 from the field). If Duke can maintain a workable margin on the boards and take care of the basketball, look for the Blue Devils to overcome the talents of Booker by pulling away in the later portion of the second half.

Prediction:

Duke 84
Clemson 76


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