An interesting matchup between a ‘Blue Blood’ team like Duke with many feeling they’re ranked a lot higher than they deserve to be this season against the surprising Virginia, who will try and win the ACC double, including breaking a 38-year drought in the conference championship.
The regular season winners in the conference met with Duke once before this season, back in January with Duke winning 69-65. Since then, the Cavaliers lost only once, in Maryland after overtime. They followed that up with wins against Florida State and Pittsburgh. Duke are carrying a three game winning streak entering the tournament final: Beating North Carolina to end the regular season, followed by barely getting by Clemson and then beating North Carolina State.
Rasheed Sulaimon was the big hero of the previous game between the two teams with something of a lucky bounce that got him a huge 3-pointer, giving Duke the win and avoiding an awful start to their conference play. However, from what we’ve seen this season from both teams (ranked #7 and #6 in the AP Poll), it’s hard to suggest Duke hold any sort of advantage going into their second clash, especially with their interior defense continuing to be a huge source of weakness, and Jabari Parker being less than impossible to contain and make look like an actual freshman.
Malcolm Brogdon is the Cavaliers top scorer this season, but this team isn’t about one player getting hot. It’s about trying to keep this game below the 120 total points and making Duke sweat for every possession and shot they take. It’s going to be a team trying to run and space the floor against Virginia, who don’t mind to see both teams shooting at below 30% from the field, but as long as they make it about long possessions and trying to take the talent factor out of it, hopefully for them denying Duke’s 20th conference tournament title.