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Duke vs. Clemson

NCAA Mens Basketball Picks

2/4/09


It has been an up and down season for Coach Kís Duke Blue Devils, one second they are the top team in the country, then Wake Forest comes around and knocks them off their pedestal making way for UConn to be the number one team in the country.

Although they are no longer the top team in college basketball, they are still as good as it gets in college basketball and are comfortably sitting at #4.

The loss to Wake Forest was big, not only in the countryís ranking, but also in the ACC conference. Next in line for the Duke Blue Devils after they destroyed Virginia 79-54 on Sunday will be the #10 Clemson Tigers who are just behind Duke and #3 North Carolina in the ACC standings.

Not only will the game have ACC conference standing implications, but if the Blue Devils can come out on top in this match up it will be great momentum going into the always competitive head to head ACC battle between Coach Kís boys and Roy Williams North Carolina next week where Duke will play host to Tyler Hansbrough and company.

Even though the game against the Tar Heels will be the most important of the season, Duke still has to get past Clemson who have only lost two games this season to UNC and Wake Forest.

Last season the Tigers got the best of the Blue Devils beating Duke by four points with a huge 48 point second half lead by Trevor Bookerís 18 points. Dukeís Greg Paulus countered Bookerís point production with 17 of his own, but it wasnít enough to hold of a motivated Clemson Tigers squad.

The Tigers are coming off a win by barely beating Virginia Tech, the same team that beat Wake Forest for the first time this season. Clemson got hammered in the first half with 53 points, but changed their game plan in the second half holding Tech to just 29 points while dropping in 42 of their own which resulted in the 86-82 victory.

The key to this match up for Duke is containing the player that torched them last season in Trevor Booker who is leading his team in both points (14.8) and rebounds (9.0). If the Blue Devils figure out how to lockdown Booker in the first half Duke should have their way with the Tigers.

Clemson on the other hand will be extremely motivated coming into this ACC match up as they know that beating Duke will drastically improve their standing in the conference and in the country. They also come in with the advantage of getting the best of the Blue Devils last season and will be looking to repeat their performance from a year ago.

Duke will be favored by 5 or 6, but donít be surprised to see an upset here with Duke having everything to lose and Clemson trying to improve position in the ACC. Despite people saying this might be an easy victory for Duke, I think this could turn out to be a great game!

 

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