A preview Duke’s basketball match with UVA, Injury updates, players to watch, predictions and what to expect from the Blue Devils

Following a big road win against BC on Wednesday, Virginia Basketball now travels to Cameroon Indoor to face 10th-ranked Duke.

No. 9 Blue Devils Host Virginia Monday Night at Cameron - Duke University

The Blue Devils are 22-6 (13-4) and sit one game ahead of Virginia in the ACC rankings. They are coming off a comfortable victory against Louisville.

Game time: Saturday, March 2, 6PM Eastern

Three Players To Watch

Kyle Filipowski

On Wednesday, BC’s Quinten Post scored 24 points and grabbed 20 rebounds against Virginia. However, he was only 6-14 from the field. His 11-11 performance from the free throw line was impressive, but Virginia made him work extremely hard for those points.

That will be the strategy versus Filipowski, a comparable player with similar abilities.

At seven feet tall, you’d expect him to score in the paint. He can also shoot the three.

He’s also a good passer, a tremendous rebounder, and a strong defender. There’s a reason he’s predicted as a lottery pick in the 2017 NBA draft.

Virginia has done well against similar players this year, but Filipowski outperforms them.

Jeremy Roach

Jeremy Roach had a strong game in last year’s ACC Tournament final, propelling Duke to victory. He scored 23 points on just 12 FGA.

This was the game’s first possession. Roach is reported at 6’2″ 180, while Kihei Clark is listed (generously) at 5’10” 167. Roach was able to use his size to harass Clark and shoot over him. Roach got 16 points and 12 free throws in Virginia’s regular-season triumph.

As you may have observed, Kihei Clark is no longer with us. For this game, Reece will place primary burden on Roach. That’s a much better matchup for the Hoos just because of Beekman’s size and strength.

Jared McCain

As usual, Duke was able to pull in a strong recruiting class this season. McCain was the highest-ranked of the four top-100 men. McCain has the most noticeable and constant impact on the team.

The Blue Devils’ large number of returnees this year played a significant role in this. They have ranked 26th nationwide in minute continuity since last season (thanks, KenPom). This is by far the highest since KenPom started tracking. It’s the first time in nearly a decade that they’ve been in the top 200 nationally. Filipowski and Roach led the squad in scoring last year, and they are doing it again this season. That is not typical for a Duke team.

McCain is a deadeye shooter who can score on all three levels. He took approximately 55% of his shots from downtown and made 42% of them. He had 35 points in a road win over FSU, shooting 8-11 from downtown.

Given Virginia’s success with their large lineup, expect to see plenty of it against Duke. The size is required to compete with Duke’s bigs, and the big lineup allows the Wahoos to get more shots on the court. It also puts Ryan Dunn in a position to physically dominate another opponent.

That is almost effortless from Dunn. Outside, teams do not guard Dunn. BC gives him plenty of space, daring him to do anything. Dunn’s athleticism makes that shot unstoppable. If teams disregard him so much, he must make them pay.

Two Key Matchups

The Paint

Duke has a lot of size inside, with Filipowski, 6’9″ Mark Mitchell, and 6’10” Ryan Young. They can guard tightly on the perimeter knowing there is so much size beneath. And, given their size, they perform admirably on defensive glass.

Virginia does not have much interior scoring. Their points in the paint are virtually entirely from drives. Reece Beekman is responsible for nearly all of this.

This is a straightforward pick-and-roll from UNC, with Bacot setting a screen and rolling to the rim. Filipowski does not commit to either the roll or the drive, giving UNC an easy bucket in the paint. Reece has repeatedly performed similar plays. Here is one.

This is similar to the BC game, with Minor establishing a screen and then accidently getting in Beekman’s way. You can also see Ryan Dunn was in position for an offensive rebound and putback. That’s because the defense crumbles around Beekman.

The Three Point Line

The difference in the BC game was Virginia’s basketball shooting ability. It is not even necessary to make shots, though 38% is sufficient. But even just trying the shots.

McKneely struggled with jumpers off screens or curls early this season, as have Joe Harris, Malcolm Brogdon, Kyle Guy, and others in the past. IMac is the latest addition to Virginia’s roster of outstanding shooters. It’s quite exhilarating to see him hit those two big threes late in the game, both after pin-downs. More of this please.

One Prediction

This season has been the most Jekyll and Hyde-like in some time. Virginia has easily defeated some good teams. They have suffered crushing defeats to inferior teams. They’ve had close wins against both good and bad teams. So far, winning on the road at Duke appears to be consistent with the rest of this wacky season.

Unfortunately, Virginia hasn’t looked fantastic on the road. The Hoosiers struggled to make stops in the second half against BC, as the Eagles missed numerous open three-pointers. Duke will not miss.

Prediction: Duke 64, Virginia 55.



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