Saturday, 6 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Free NCAAB Pick: Cavs ATS
Best Line Offered:
Now that there’s no football on Saturdays, NCAA basketball takes over. And the marquee matchup this Saturday is from the ACC as No. 1 Virginia visits No. 1 Duke on ESPN – although Duke won’t be No. 1 in next Monday’s Associated Press Top 25. Virginia could be with a win as it’s already No. 1 in the Coaches Poll. So, we aren’t really cheating when saying it’s No. 1 vs. No. 1 (Duke is No. 2 in the Coaches Poll).
Looking like we won’t have a team go unbeaten this season as only two remain: Virginia and Michigan, which is No. 2 in the AP poll and No. 4 in the Coaches Poll. Sorry, but the Wahoos aren’t running the table in the ACC regular season, and neither are the Wolverines in the Big Ten. Shoot, UM could lose earlier Saturday at Wisconsin.
UVA and Duke played just once last season, with the No. 2 Cavaliers taking a 65-63 upset in Cameron of the No. 4 Blue Devils. Kyle Guy hit two free throws with 6.1 seconds left. It was Virginia’s first win at Cameron since 1995. The schools will play again this season in Charlottesville on Feb. 9. Guy is UVA’s top scorer this season.
Blue Devils Missing Leader
We saw history on Monday night when Duke lost 95-91 in overtime at home to Syracuse. It was the first time that a top-ranked Duke team ever lost at home to an unranked opponent. The Blue Devils had been 90-0. It was only the fifth time an unranked road team defeated the AP No. 1 team in the last 10 seasons. It was also Duke’s first loss at home as the No. 1 team to any school not named North Carolina.
While Zion Williamson was awesome with a Duke freshman record 35 points vs. the Orange, the loss wasn’t all that shocking considering fellow freshman star Cam Reddish missed the game with an illness and starting point guard Tre Jones left early in the first half with a separated shoulder. While Reddish should play Saturday, Jones won’t barring a Willis Reed-type miracle – although the news is relatively good on him. Jones isn’t the best player on the team, but is the quarterback and NCAA leader in assist-to-turnover ratio. Duke was +8 against Syracuse with Jones on the floor and -12 with him out.
Virginia, meanwhile, made a statement on Tuesday with an 81-59 home rout of No. 9 Virginia Tech in the first-ever Top 10 meeting in that rivalry. It was UVA’s third-largest victory against a Top-10 opponent in program history. The Cavs, not a great offensive team, shot 58 percent from the floor and 54 percent from three-point range.
Coach Tony Bennett’s club wins with its Pack Line defense per usual as it leads the country in points allowed at 51.7 per game. Just two opponents have topped 60: Maryland had 71 in a five-point loss and Marshall 64 in a 36-point defeat.
If this comes down to three-pointers, advantage Virginia. Duke hits just 31.8 percent, 280th in the country. The Blue Devils were 9-for-43 against Syracuse’s zone. The Cavs allow teams to hit a NCAA-low 25.1 percent from deep.
- Cavaliers are 13-2-1 ATS in the last 16 meetings in Duke.
- Cavaliers are 21-8 ATS in their last 29 road games.
- Blue Devils are 2-6 ATS in the last eight meetings.
Could Duke actually lose back-to-back home games? We think it’s very possible with Jones out. The dog has covered six straight in the series. Take Virginia against the spread.