Duke Basketball

Duke Blue Devils Put Top Ranking on the Line against Wake Forest

The ACC and SEC BlogSenior Analyst IJanuary 28, 2009

Duke Blue Devils at Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Wednesday 7PM
TV: ESPN

The new No. 1 Duke Blue Devils travel to Winston-Salem to take on last week's No. 1 Wake Forest in an ACC showdown. The Demon Deacons have had a week to let their loss to Virginia Tech digest. Duke will be trying to reverse a recent trend in Winston-Salem where they have lost four of the last five.

Reasons Why Duke Will Win:

1. They Play the Best Defense in the ACC
Duke is allowing just 36 percent shooting from ACC opponents in five games and just 25 percent from behind the arc. Both are tops in league play.

2. +5 Turnover Margin Per Game
Duke turns it over just 12 times per game good for second in the league while forcing 17.

3. Free Throws Made
Duke has made more than double the amount of free throws of their opponents in ACC action—79 vs. 38. This equates to about seven points more per game.

Reasons Why Wake Forest Will Win:

1. Efficient Offense
The Deacons rank No. 1 in ACC play in field goal percentage. They average over one point per possession.

2. Best Player in the ACC
With all apologies to Tyler Hansbrough, Jeff Teague is the best player in the ACC thus far. Teague can beat anyone from Duke's defense off the dribble which could be big in a late game situation.

3. Playing at Home
I already referenced Wake's home record against Duke in the last 5 (4-1).

Prediction

The Blue Devils demolition of Maryland last Saturday was very impressive. While Wake has had a full week to prepare, I think Duke's defense will be the difference.

Duke wins by 1-7 points

Other ACC Games This Week:

North Carolina over Florida State
Heels depth is too much for the Seminoles on the road.

Virginia Tech over Clemson
Hokies return home heroes after last two wins and hold off Clemson rally late.

Season: 9-7 SU through 1/25

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