VIRGINIA @ DUKE | 1/19 | 6:00 PM EST
Virginia’s 81-59 win over Virginia Tech on Tuesday was an incredibly impressive performance. The Hokies were ranked as high as No. 7 in some polls and the Cavs completely dismantled them. Virginia had a 44-22 lead at the half and cruised in the second half. De’Andre Hunter led the Cavs with 21 points, while guard Kyle Guy (15pts) and Ty Jerome (14pts, 12 rebs) had big games. Virginia shot 58.5 percent from the floor and 13-of-24 (54.2%) from beyond the arc. They also outrebounded the Hokies by 11 and held them to 43.2 percent from the floor.
Even with Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett on the floor, with three average players, Duke would probably be a top-25 team. But with Cam Reddish (13.3ppg) out with an illness and point guard Tre Jones suffering a shoulder injury in the first 10 minutes of the game, Syracuse took advantage, outlasting the Blue Devils, 95-91 in overtime. Zion Williamson scored 35 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while R.J. Barrett added 23 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists for No. 1 Duke. The Blue Devils wound up shooting just 38.8 percent from the field and 9-of-43 (20.9%) from beyond the arc. The supporting players struggled, especially 6-7 junior Jack White, who went 0-10 from the field and three-point range in 42 minutes.
The money has come in early and heavy on Virginia, but Duke almost never drops back-to-back games, and despite its youth, the talent on display is still undeniable. Expect a close game throughout. These may well be the two best teams in America. The key to Duke winning will be the shooting and distribution of RJ Barrett, who will probably have the ball in his hands more than any other player in this game.