Clemson vs #8 Duke: Prediction & Poll

January 14th, 2012




NO. 8 DUKE (14-2, 2-0 ACC)


CLEMSON (9-7, 1-1 ACC)


Time/TV: 6 p.m./ESPNU


Location: Littlejohn Coliseum





RPI Ratings: Duke 2 (No. 1 ACC); Clemson 163 (No. 11 ACC).


Duke Players to Watch: F Mason Plumlee, 6-10 Jr. (11.7 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 63% FG); G Seth Curry, 6-2 Jr. (12.8 ppg, 2.8 apg, 41.4% 3s); G Quinn Cook, 6-0 Fr. (5.3 ppg, 2.3 apg, 44.8% FG). Cook, who had 10 points and five assists in Duke’s 81-74 victory over Georgia Tech, may be the Blue Devils’ best passer and has supplanted Tyler Thornton in the starting lineup.


Clemson Players to Watch: F Devin Booker, 6-8 Jr. (10.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 48.9% FG); G Andre Young, 5-9 Sr. (13.1 ppg, 3.4 apg, 1.8 spg); G Tanner Smith, 6-5 Sr. (10.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 4.1 apg). Young went over 1,000 points for his career with 18 points in the Tigers’ 20-point win over Florida State. He has 201 career 3-pointers, making him the sixth Clemson player to go over 200 for his career. Young is also shooting over 90 percent from the charity stripe.


Storylines: With ACC wins over Georgia Tech and Virginia, Duke is tied with rival North Carolina atop the league standings at 2-0. Clemson opened ACC play with a 79-59 trouncing of Florida State before a bad 59-57 road loss at Boston College on Thursday.


What You Should Know: Duke has struggled on the road with a recent loss to Temple and a sluggish win over Georgia Tech. One slight advantage Clemson may have is its perimeter defense. The Tigers average 7.2 steals per game and force 14.8 turnovers and the Blue Devils have been prone to turnovers at times this season. Duke should dominate on the inside with Plumlee, his brother Miles Plumlee and Ryan Kelly. If Duke is shooting well, this game will be over early. If not, Clemson could stick around for a while.


The Bottom Line: It will take a stellar performance – one like it had against Florida State – for the Tigers to knock off the No. 8 Blue Devils.


The Pick: Duke 85, Clemson 70.