Game preview: Duke vs. Georgia Tech

Posted by Laura Keeley on January 7, 2014 

No. 16 Duke vs. Georgia Tech

When: 7 p.m.

Where: Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham

TV/Radio: ESPNU, WKIX-102.9 FM

Line: Duke by 17

Pregame reading: The Blue Devils’ 221-week top 10 streak came to a close, plus a breakdown of what Georgia Tech brings

Projected starting lineups:

No. 16 Duke (11-3, 0-1 in the ACC)

G Quinn Cook, Jr., 14.1 ppg, 6.1 apg

G Tyler Thornton, Sr., 3.1 ppg, 2.5 rpg

F Rodney Hood, R-So., 17.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg

F Jabari Parker, Fr., 20.4 ppg, 7.7 rpg

F Josh Hairston, Sr., 2.3 ppg, 1.6 rpg

Georgia Tech (9-4, 0-1)

G Trae Golden, Sr., 12.9 ppg, 3.5 apg

G/F Marcus Georges-Hunt, So, 11.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg

G/F Jason Morris, Sr., 2.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg

F Kammeon Holsey, r-Sr., 6.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg

C Daniel Miller, r-Sr., 10.2 ppg, 7.9 rpg

Player to watch:

Jabari Parker, Duke

For the first time in his brief college career, Parker did not play well last time out at Notre Dame. His seven points on 2-of-10 shooting were a season-low, and he struggled mightily against Pat Connaughton on the defensive end. To be great, Duke needs Parker to bounce back quickly.

Observations:

Even before Notre Dame reminded us that Duke has a defense problem, there was one troubling statistic that had not fallen in line with the rest of the numbers that indicated the Blue Devils were improving: 2-point field goal percentage defense. Even before the Fighting Irish shot 53.3 percent from 2-point range (24-of-45), Duke was allowing opponents, on average, to make 50 percent of their 2-point shots.

Today, Duke ranks 223rd out of 351 Division-I teams in 2-point field goal percentage defense, allowing opponents to hit 50.3 percent of those shots. The Blue Devils’ 3-point field goal defense is great—they rank 23rd nationally there, as opponents only hit 28.8 percent of those shots—but that won’t help tonight against the Yellow Jackets, who, as the preview story points out, rarely shoots from long range.

Now Mike Krzyzewski was quick to point out after the loss to Notre Dame that the Fighting Irish played outstanding offense. Notre Dame does rank 29th in Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted offense efficiency ratings (the Irish would score 114.1 points per 100 possessions against the average D-I defense). Two other future ACC opponents rank better than that: Syracuse (7) and Pittsburgh (22). Duke plays both of them on the road in the same week, coming up at the end of the month. That will be challenging, to say the least.

But, back to tonight’s game: Georgia Tech does have size inside, but it’s not a particularly good shooting team (ranking 230th in effective field goal percentage). Duke should be able to use this game to get some confidence back and get back on track.

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