All of a sudden, the Duke Blue Devils are looking up at both North Carolina and Virginia in the Atlantic Coast Conference standings. Duke has dropped two of their last three games but will try to get back on track with a home game against Miami on Saturday. The Hurricanes come into Cameron Indoor Stadium with some issues of their own, sitting in 11th place in the ACC. This is the first and only meeting between Duke and Miami this season.
Duke looked like the best team in the country for much of the season, but injuries and shooting woes have taken a toll on the Blue Devils. Duke is still 24-4 overall on the season, but will likely fall out of the top-five in the rankings. Miami was supposed to be an NCAA Tournament team this season, but things haven’t gone well for the Hurricanes. Miami is just 4-11 in conference play and is 12-15 on the season. Duke is a whopping 16.0 point favorite in this matchup against the Hurricanes.
All Eyes on Zion’s Knee
Duke freshman forward Zion Williamson is the consensus best player in the country this season, but he is currently out with a knee injury. Williamson has missed the last three games for Duke, and the Blue Devils have struggled on both ends of the floor without him. The freshman phenom was averaging 21.6 points and 8.8 rebounds this season, but he is also the rim protector for the Duke defense. If Zion is forced to miss his fourth straight game against Miami, Coach K is going to have to find players to step up.
Even without Zion Williamson, the Blue Devils still have a pair of NBA lottery picks on their roster. RJ Barrett is capable of putting up 30 points nearly every time out and is leading the Blue Devils with 23.3 points this season. Forward Cam Reddish is capable of making a ton of shots in this game and is averaging 14.1 points per game. Losing Zion Williamson is a big deal, but Duke still has plenty of talent left to get back on track in this game.
Miami Struggling on Both Ends
The Miami Hurricanes have a ton of talent on their roster as well, but they haven’t figured out how to play well on either end of the court. Miami is averaging just 72.6 points per game on offense, and have really struggled to score against the top teams in the conference. The Hurricanes haven’t been able to get stops on defense either, allowing 70.3 points per game. Taking on the Duke Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium likely won’t help Miami solve these issues.
One of the biggest problems with the Miami team this season has been their lack of depth. The Hurricanes have five different players averaging double-figures this season, but the starters do almost all of the scoring. Guard Chris Lykes is averaging 16.9 points per game, and center Ebuka Izundu has chipped in with 10.7 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. Miami might be able to keep up with Duke for a while, but their lack of depth will likely hurt them at some point.
Duke Wins With or Without Star Player
Even though Duke has looked beatable in recent games, they still have a ton of talent that can put up points in a hurry. The Blue Devils have looked much better at home this season, and there is no way they are losing this game. Miami has struggled to score all season long, and their lack of depth will hurt them on Saturday. Even if Zion Williamson doesn’t play, bet the Duke Blue Devils -16.0 over the Miami Hurricanes in this game.