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Miami Fla

vs.

Duke

College Basketball Pick

1/21/17

Duke already has three losses in the ACC, but all of those have come on the road. The Blue Devils had a full week off ahead of this game and get to play Miami at Cameron Indoor. There's still a long way to go, but this is still one of the best teams in the country, no matter what people are saying.

As for the Hurricanes, things are a bit more unknown for them, losing at home to Notre Dame one night then winning huge at Pittsburgh the next. With the tournament not a guarantee for this team, they'll need at least one win over a top team, although doing that on the road is unlikely.

The best way to attack Duke in the last couple games has been down low, as Amile Jefferson is still questionable to play having not practiced early in the week. Without Jefferson, the Blue Devils struggle in all areas in the paint from rebounding to post defense. Unfortunately for the 'Canes, most of their production comes from guards with Ja'Quan Newton, Davon Reed and Bruce Brown the only players averaging more than 7.0 points per game on the team.

Miami won last year's meeting by 11 points, but now on the road and without a lot of those players, it will be extremely difficult to upset Duke in this one. In addition, Miami was in Wake Forest on Wednesday, so Duke will be extra rested in that regard. The Hurricanes probably won't change their style up much, but Kamari Murphy and Anthony Lawrence should see an uptick in touches down low. The problem is that neither one of those guys is that tall with Murphy at 6-8 and neither have much of an offensive game. So while some teams have been able to capitalize on Jefferson's absence against Duke, it's hard to see that being the case for Miami. To win this game, or come close, the Hurricances will need all three of their guards to hit shots and not turn it over, something that is never a certainty.

On the other side, Miami actually has the best defense in the ACC according to effective field goal percentage, but that's probably because of the teams they've played. While Jefferson isn't there for the Blue Devils, Miami doesn't have the tools to stop Luke Kennard, Grayson Allen and Matt Jones on the perimeter. Miami has a good backcourt, but keeping pace with those guys while also limiting looks for Jayson Tatum will be difficult. The way for Miami to compete is for Murphy and Lawrence to control the paint and stop Tatum from getting any good looks.

Tatum struggled against Louisville last game and if that's the case again, the Hurricanes will have a route to success. The problem will be trying to stop guys like Kennard and Allen from drawing fouls and hitting shots. This is the type of game that Kennard could have one of his 30-point efforts in.

Miami isn't a bad team, but playing on the road against a Duke team that is rested and in need of a win, it's not a good combination for success for Miami or any team coming into Durham.

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