Game preview: Duke at Pittsburgh

Posted by Laura Keeley on January 27, 2014 

The Blue Devils have quite the task, a road underdog at Pittsburgh

CHUCK LIDDY

No. 17 Duke at No. 18 Pittsburgh

When: 7 p.m.

Where: Petersen Events Center, Pittsburgh

TV/Radio: ESPN, WKIX-102.9 FM

A few pregame links:

***Our featured Sunday story was my look at Jabari Parker and what he’s like off the court—as told by his mother, his best friend, his Mormon bishop, a professor, his roommate (Matt Jones) and a few others.

Parker said it best, when talking about basketball: “That is what I do, but that’s not who I am.”

***And if you’re curious, I talked to Parker, his mother and his bishop about the possibility of him going on a mission.

*** A look at Marshall Plumlee’s development ran in today’s paper.

Projected starting lineup:

No. 17 Duke (16-4, 5-2 ACC)

G Quinn Cook, Jr., 12.6 ppg, 5.5 apg

G Matt Jones, So., 2.6 ppg, 0.9 rpg

F Rodney Hood, R-So., 17.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg

F Jabari Parker, Fr., 18.7 ppg, 8.0 rpg

F Amile Jefferson, So., 6.5 ppg, 6.8 rpg

No. 18 Pittsburgh (18-2, 6-1)

F Lamar Patterson, Sr., 17.9 ppg, 5.1 apg

G Cameron Wright, Jr., 10.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg

G James Robinson, So. 8.3ppg , 2.7 rpg

F Michael Young, Fr., 5.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg

C Talib Zanna, Sr., 13.6 ppg, 7.8 rpg

Player to watch:

Lamar Patterson, point forward, Pitt

Patterson, 6-foot-5, leads Pitt in scoring and assists, in addition to averaging 4.8 rebounds. He’s the current ACC Player of the Week (for the third time this season), as he averaged 20.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists in wins over Clemson and Maryland last week.

Observations:

***This is just the second time (in 20 games) that Duke has been the underdog. Pitt is a four-point, home favorite—earlier this year, Arizona was favored by three (and won by six) in a neutral site game at Madison Square Garden.

***The Panthers are Ken Pomeroy darlings, as they are the fifth-best team in the country, according to his rankings. Pitt ranks ninth in adjusted offensive efficiency (scoring 118.6 points per 100 possessions against the average D-I defense) and 11th in adjusted defensive efficiency (yielding 92.6 points per possession to the average D-I offense).

Duke ranks ninth nationally, second in adjusted offensive efficiency (123.0) and 63rd in adjusted defensive efficiency (97.9). For what it’s worth, Pomeroy’s ratings system gives the Panthers a 70 percent chance of winning (the system did predict a loss at Clemson, too).

*** Luke DeCock is preemptively telling you not to overreact to Duke’s tough week, playing here and at Syracuse.

***While Patterson leads Pitt on offense, keep an eye out on center Talib Zanna, who stands 6-foot-9. How (and if) Duke limits his effectiveness could be the key to the game.

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