Duke and Miami clash for unlikely ACC Semifinal Game

#1 Duke vs. #12 Miami, 1:30 p.m.

TV: Raycom Sports – blackout on ESPN2 in all ACC markets

Regular season results –Duke 81-74 at Miami on Feb. 17

Team records – Duke 27-5 (15-3) Miami 20-12 (6-12)

Projected starters –

Duke (ACC tourney stats)

G- Jon Scheyer (15 points, 3 assists)

G- Nolan Smith (15 points, 6 rebounds)

F- Kyle Singler (18 points, 11 rebounds)

F- Lance Thomas (2 points, 2 rebounds)

C- Brian Zoubek (2 points, 7 rebounds)

Miami (ACC tourney stats)

G- Durand Scott (11.5ppg, 3 apg)

G - Malcolm Grant (9 ppg, 4.5 apg)

G- James Dews (11.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg)

F- De’Quan Jones (14 ppg, 4 rpg)

F- Reggie Johnson (13.5 ppg, 8 rpg)

Team statistical comparison




Points per game



Rebounds per game



Three-point percentage



Free throw percentage



Points allowed per game



Turnovers per game



Duke relies on Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith virtually exclusively. Neither player leaves the floor hardly ever. Scheyer is a smart offensive player who is a very good outside shooter, but has a good pull-up game against less physical defenders. Smith is arguably the most talented player on the Blue Devils’ roster. He is also a good shooter, but is at his best when he puts the ball on the floor and gets to the rim. He is very nifty around the rim and makes a lot of shots in traffic, usually getting fouled as well.

Miami freshman guard Scott broke out against Virginia Tech on Friday for 17 points, including 12 of the Hurricanes’ final 14. He is an aggressive guard who will stop at nothing to get to the rim. He is going to provide a difficult matchup for Scheyer, who is considerably less quick than Scott. Smith’s likely task will be to defend Malcolm Grant, who ironically is a less talented version of Smith. Grant is strong with the basketball; likes to penetrate but can also shoot from the outside consistently well. He tends to make poor decisions within the offense, though.

Advantage - Duke


Kyle Singler is te key to Duke’s success on any night. At 6’8’’, he has size comparable to many posts in the ACC, but is a true small forward. He handles the ball exceptionally well – he is a safe ball-handler. He tends to be very streaky; he may score 15 points in one half and only two the next.

Lance Thomas and Brian Zoubek are purely in the game for rebounding, and they do it well. Both are very active on the offensive glass, and are extremely disciplined players on defense. Zoubek will be a tough matchup for Miami’s Reggie Johnson, who at 295 lbs. makes a living off overpowering his opponent.

James Dews will have to attack Singler on offense and try to get him in foul trouble. Dews is also inconsistent, but when playing well, he is the Hurricanes’ best offensive threat.

Advantage - Duke

Bench –

Miami has played three men off the bench this week – Julian Gamble, Adrian Thomas, and Cyrus McGowan. All three are forwards, but they complete a solid eight-man rotation that is perfect for a team that plays predominantly zone. There is not a noticeable dropoff in production when any of those three are in the game. All three have started at one point this season.

Duke goes deep in the frontcourt, bringing in the Plumlee brothers Miles and Mason off the bench. Miles sees the most minutes off the bench. In the win over Virginia, the bench played 47 out of a possible 200 minutes. If the Blue Devils are going to win any game, it is because of their starting five.

Advantage - Miami

Coaching –

This hardly deserves discussion. Coach Krzyzewski has more ACC Tournament titles than Tiger Woods had affairs. Frank Haith has done a good job this week having his team focused to win basketball games, especially in the absence of leading scorer Dwayne Collins.

Advantage – Duke

Intangibles –

Miami has a heck of a lot more to play for than Duke. The Blue Devils are in the running for a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament, but if you ask Coach K, he’ll tell you he couldn’t care less where his team is seeded. Whether that is true or not, playing for a seed is considerably less intense than playing for merely a spot in the dance.

Miami has played with so much confidence this week despite being heavy underdogs, so don’t expect that trend to stop on Saturday. As long as Miami keeps it close early, they will hang around until the end.

Advantage - Miami

Prediction –

Duke 68, Miami 61


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