#17 Clemson (18-2, 4-2 ACC) @ #10 Duke (16-3, 3-2 ACC), Thursday, January 25th, 7 PM, ESPN, ESPNHD, XM Satellite Radio ch 191.
The Line: Duke -7
Edge goes to:
Defense: Duke (Hard to argue cause Duke is 2nd in the nation on D)
Special Teams: Cle... wait, sorry, forgot this isn't a football preview.
Intangibles: Duke - They've beat 3 teams in a row by 20 or more points and they're playing at home in front of 9,314 screaming fans.
Chili: I think it's fair to say that most Clemson fans feel very confident about Thursday's game versus Duke. Many are predicting a hard-fought victory in Durham, and claiming an easy victory in their next match up with Duke in Littlejohn. The last time Clemson beat Duke anywhere was 19 games ago, over 10 years ago, and it was in Littlejohn. I was there that fateful day and watched as Duke, up by 2 with seconds left, lobbed a pass down the court to the wide open Greg Newton under the basket. The ball went through his legs, out of bounds, Clemson tied it up and won in overtime, 86-82. Though Duke was down that year it still was a sweet moment for Clemson fans everywhere.
Clemson is hoping to bring back some of that joy and toss it into the bubbling basketball bouillabaisse that is the 2006-2007 Clemson Tigers basketball squad. Clemson is having its best season since the Rick Barnes era, a time period and coach greatly overrated by most Clemson loyalists, in my opinion. Coach Oliver Purnell has finally installed the right caliber of players into his system to operate his furious defensive style.Winner: Duke by 4
I'll keep it short and sweet. The game comes down to three things.
1) Clemson must have a good free throw day. If it is once again a sh*t day from the freebie line, count it as a loss.
2) Clemson's wanting and wilingness to rebound the ball. We desperately need to pick it up in this department. The Tigers have seemed kind of iffy and indifferent about going up and getting the ball. The entire team needs to show wanton disregard for human life and lay it all on the line at every opportunity to get a rebound.
3) Clemson can apply the full court pressure, they just can't let Duke run right through it and past it like GT, Maryland, and UNC did. They also need to concentrate on positioning and hustling back.
All around, Clemson needs to have their "A" game for sure. They need to keep it out of overtime and demoralize Duke immediately. Get the fans out of it and keep a good 5+ point lead throughout. I just don't know if they can though after having seen them flop in person vs. UNC.
Winner: Duke by 3 or less.