Duke Blue Devils Desperately Need A Victory Over Virginia Cavaliers

By Gregory Philson
Rodney Hood
Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

Duke started the season with extremely high expectations because of the arrival of star freshman Jabari Parker, the activation of Rodney Hood into the lineup after transferring and having what looked to be the most talented roster in the ACC.

Well, things have not gone to plan and after losing convincingly to Clemson this past weekend, the Blue Devils should being playing desperate against a confident Virginia Cavaliers team at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Monday.

Duke struggled against Clemson because the Tigers were able to contain the Blue Devils offense, allowing only two free throws in the last 6:27 of the game. Duke was unable to get Parker going for basically the entire game. Parker scored 15 points, but was held to only five points in the second half. Parker has had some problems lately, was benched recently and does not have the confidence he displayed earlier this season. The Blue Devils have suffered because of it and now have just one victory in conference play.

Virginia is probably not a team Duke would like to be playing in this situation. The Cavaliers stress defense, slow down the game on offense and are playing much better as of late. The Cavaliers are coming off an explosive offensive and defensive outing against North Carolina State.

Many different angles can be scrutinized in that victory, but what may stand out the most is how limited State’s leading scorer T.J. Warren was. Warren was held to only four points on 1-of-9 shooting. It seemed like he was not even on the court for much of the game.

This kind of defensive effort has to scare Mike Krzyzewski. Parker has not scored more than 15 points in his last four games and has not shot better than 50 percent since Dec. 19 against UCLA. Virginia coach Tony Bennett definitely has something up his sleeve to make sure Parker does not find his offense against the Cavaliers.

Duke definitely needs a victory tonight and even though the game is in Durham, there is no guarantee of anything with the way the Blue Devils have been playing so far in conference play.

Gregory T. Philson is an ACC college basketball writer at RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @GTPhilson, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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