College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for Duke vs. Clemson (Thursday, February 10)
Grant Halverson/Getty Images. Pictured: Mike Krzyzewski.
Duke vs. Clemson Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Virginia stunned the college basketball world on Monday night with its last-second win at Duke in Cameron Indoor, with Reece Beekman's 3-pointer capped off the +550 underdog upset.
Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said that Virginia was the hungrier team in the game and hinted that his Blue Devils were flat following their dominant win over North Carolina just two days prior.
Well, now Duke has a chance to get right on the road at Clemson after the Blue Devils barely survived a late scare by the Tigers on Jan. 25. Duke won that game 71-69 at home but struggled to guard the perimeter and never led by more than seven points, actually trailing at one point in the final four minutes of the game.
The Blue Devils should be more focused for this game, but is Duke's perimeter defense prepared to cover the Tigers the second time around?
Clemson melted away an early 11-point lead against North Carolina in its last game and is now shorthanded without Hunter Tyson. Can the Tigers stay competitive at home despite being shorthanded?
It comes down to the shooters, again.
Duke has a ton of perimeter shooting coming, as has been the case for most of ACC play. Almost no one has made unguarded 3s against them, or 3s at all, despite the Blue Devils having a mediocre perimeter defense.
According to ShotQuality, the Blue Devils are 173rd in catch-and-shoot 3-point defense and 268th in off the dribble 3s. Even against Virginia — a bad 3-point shooting team — the Cavaliers only made 2-of-11 from deep, but more than half of their looks from beyond the arc were unguarded and wide open.
Duke's interior defense showed some weakness against the Cavaliers, but I'd expect that to tighten up with a more focused effort on the road Thursday night. The Blue Devils also don't need to worry about Tyson, who is excellent on the glass and can score effectively at the rim and from deep.
The Blue Devils really failed to keep the Tigers off of the offensive glass in the first meeting and struggled to guard the perimeter. Clemson managed 14 offensive rebounds and shot 11-of-26 from beyond the arc. The Tigers can stretch this perimeter defense and finally punish this unsustainable 27.5% that Duke's defense has allowed from beyond the 3-point line in conference play.
Clemson's offense runs primarily out of two places, the post-up and the 3-point arc. The Tigers are top 50 in both post-up and catch-and-shoot 3-point frequency, per ShotQuality. Clemson has a few paths to success on offense and it requires getting Mark Williams into foul trouble, using ball fakes effectively as Virginia did on Monday and then making the open looks it will inevitably get.
The Tigers are 40th in ShotQuality on those 3-pointers and make 3s at the 14th best rate in the nation. Playing in their home gym and off of two straight losses, you'd expect an all-in effort. Especially given the name of the school on the opponent's jersey.
Throw in the controversial ending that saw Duke get some favorable calls and the Tigers should be very much in this game if they're knocking down shots from the perimeter.
Clemson isn't quite Virginia, but they're pretty good at making teams play in the half-court on offense. If you turn it over and let Duke run, you lose and probably badly. But the Tigers rank 258th in defensive transition frequency and are top 50 offensively in turnover rate.
They should be able to avoid turnovers and make the Blue Devils execute in the half-court.
Duke vs. Clemson Betting Pick
The blueprint to beating Duke is making the offense execute in the open court, make anyone but AJ Griffin beat you from the perimeter and hit the open 3s that the Duke defense will present to you. The Tigers can certainly avoid turnovers and hit open shots and thus have a path to success in this matchup.
I'm willing to buck the Duke bounce back spot here, especially because the Tigers have revenge on their minds. Throw in that Clemson has no real at-large path and this game becomes the most important game left on the Tigers regular season schedule.
Tyson has been out for two games now so there's been some time for the Tigers to adjust to playing without him. If Clemson can manage to compete on the glass with Carolina over the weekend without Tyson, I think they can compete with Duke on the boards as well.
The Tigers rank top 40 in defensive rebounding rate and holding Duke to one shot on enough possessions will keep them inside the number. I'd play Clemson at +7 or better.