The ACC opens conference play on Saturday, and the biggest of the early afternoon games pits the Duke Blue Devils against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Both teams are looking to bounce back from tough losses, having fallen to Temple and Alabama (respectively) earlier this week.
Phillips Arena (Atlanta)
Saturday at noon ET
Duke: WDNC-AM 620
Georgia Tech: WQXI-AM 790
Or, live stream at goduke.com
Duke -11.5, according to docsports.com. Even in Atlanta, covering this spread should be no problem for the Blue Devils.
What’s At Stake?
Both teams are eager to get off on the right foot in their first game of the conference season. All the pressure, though, will be on the Blue Devils, who can ill afford another upset loss after falling at Temple on Wednesday.
What They’re Saying
Austin Rivers, Duke’s celebrated freshman, knows his team needs to play tougher. After losing to Temple, he told the Charlotte Observer, “It’s frustrating, because these are things we have been working on...coming out strong, and being strong and physical and getting our rebounds and playing great defense.”
Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory has another focus after his team’s loss to Alabama. “It just puts you in a difficult situation if you start off the game and you give your opponent 22 possessions without having one. That’s the equivalent of the turnovers that make it difficult to be successful,” the coach told cbssports.com.
Duke Player to Watch
Freshman guard Austin Rivers has hit the ground running, leading the Blue Devil with 15.1 points a game this season. He’d love to put in a monster game in his first ACC contest.
Georgia Tech Player to Watch
Swingman Glen Rice Jr. has been the undisputed star for the Yellow Jackets this year, leading the team in points (12.5 per game) and assists (2.6) and ranking second in rebounds (6.8). However, he’s in unfamiliar territory after coach Brian Gregory took him out of the starting lineup for Tuesday’s blowout loss to Alabama.
Duke F Mason Plumlee vs. Georgia Tech C Daniel Miller. Despite Plumlee’s best efforts (9.9 rebounds a game), Duke has been vulnerable on the glass. If the 6’11” Miller—Tech’s leader with 7.4 boards a night—can take advantage, it will go a long way toward improving the Yellow Jackets’ upset hopes.
Even with a partisan Atlanta crowd behind them, Georgia Tech doesn’t have anything like the talent or depth to hang with the loaded Blue Devils. The Yellow Jackets may come out strong, but Coach K’s squad will run them out of the building—and probably before halftime at that.
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