No. 3 Duke heads on the road to take on a very good Virginia team desperate for a resume building win. This is the best and last chance before the ACC tournament the Cavaliers will have to make a statement and beat a top ranked team.
Virginia will have a home-court advantage tonight and one that has treated the Cavaliers nicely this season. Virginia has only lost once at home this year in 17 games and are currently riding a 15 game home winning streak. The bad news for Virgina, is that Duke has taken the last eight meetings between these two ACC foes.
Duke is a team who can flat out shoot the basketball with players like Seth Curry, Tyler Thornton, Rasheed Sulaimon, and Quinn Cook who can all shoot from the outside. They also have Mason Plumlee who is a beast in the paint and can dominated any game he is involved in.
Virginia on the other hand, is a defense oriented team who wants to keep this game as low scoring as possible. That doesn’t mean they can’t score the basketball though. Joe Harris leads the Cavaliers on offense and he is one of the best players in the conference.
Harris averages 16.6 points per game and 20.9 points per game in his last nine games. Akil Mitchell is a talented forward who does most of the glass work for Virginia while also racking up 12.6 points per game. Mitchell is going to be a big factor in a Virginia win if he can shut down Plumlee.
Both teams love to shoot the 3-ball and it could come down to who has a better shooting night. With Virginia on their home court and desperate for a big win while Duke is on the road, you have to feel the Cavaliers are going to be lights out tonight.
Also the strength of Virginia’s team is its defense and with good defense, you shut down a good offense. As long as they close out on shooters, Virginia will have a huge opportunity to win the game late.
A game in the 50′s or 60′s, Virginia will win, but if the game turns into a shoot-out and a track meet, the No. 3 team in the country will survive on the road.
Joe Harris will be key for UVA. If he is able to have a big game, he will lead his team to a much needed win.
It is all or nothing for Virginia. A win and they are in, a loss and they will have to continue to battle in order to make it into the NCAA tournament come March.