Duke Basketball: Predictions for Each of the Blue Devils' Remaining Games
The Duke Blue Devils are running out of time to catch the Miami Hurricanes for the ACC regular-season championship.
With their recent loss to Maryland, Duke are now three games behind Miami in the standings with only six games left on the schedule.
Considering the way the Hurricanes are playing, it's looking like Duke's best shot at an ACC Championship will be when the conference tournament gets underway on March 14.
But before we get to the tournament, let's take a look at how the the Blue Devils will fare in their remaining six games.
February 21: At Virginia Tech
Duke takes on Virginia Tech in Cassell Coliseum this Thursday night, facing a Hokie team hungry for a victory.
Virginia Tech hasn't won a game since January 19 against Wake Forest and would love to be able to pull off the upset against the Blue Devils.
I expect the nation's leading scorer, Erick Green, and the rest of the Hokies to play well, but still not have enough firepower to keep up with Duke.
Mason Plumlee should bounce back from his terrible game against Maryland with a strong performance against the Hokies and lead Duke to another victory on the road.
Prediction: Duke 84, Virginia Tech 75
February 24: Vs. Boston College
When these two teams squared off on February 10 in Chestnut Hill, Ma., Duke had to make a comeback in the last minute to avoid a major upset.
Although Boston College is a young team and rapidly improving, the Blue Devils should be able to handle the Eagles when facing them in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Look for Duke to come up with new strategies to shut down Olivier Hanlan, and for Quinn Cook and Rasheed Sulaimon to be more productive on offense, both of which were issues in the first game against Boston College.
The Eagles are a different team on the road—Duke shouldn't have any trouble here.
Prediction: Duke 74, Boston College 60
February 28: At Virginia
When Duke travels to Charlottesville, Va., to take on the Cavaliers in John Paul Jones Arena, they will likely be facing a team fighting for a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
Playing against a desperate team in a hostile environment will mean trouble for the Blue Devils.
The Virginia defense is good enough to force Duke into a bad shooting night, and Akil Mitchell is physical enough to give Mason Plumlee trouble. When Plumlee struggles and the team doesn't shoot well from the perimeter, the Blue Devils have a very difficult time winning.
I think the Cavaliers find a way to win this low-scoring game, and yet another student section rushes the court in a victory over Duke.
Prediction: Virginia 65, Duke 61
March 2: Vs. Miami
In the rematch everyone has been waiting for, Duke welcomes the Hurricanes to Cameron Indoor Stadium.
The Blue Devils will get off to a hot start, and the Cameron Crazies will be at their best, but Miami will climb back into it and keep the game close throughout.
It will be a great battle between Quinn Cook and Shane Larkin, two of the best point guards in the ACC, but look for Duke's other players to also step up.
Both teams play well, but the Blue Devils make a few more plays down the stretch to come away with the win.
Prediction: Duke 81, Miami 76
March 5: Vs. Virginia Tech
This will be an emotional game, as Mason Plumlee and Seth Curry play in Cameron Indoor Stadium for the last time.
The energy and intensity of Senior Day will have the Blue Devils anxious to start the game, but they will wear down the Hokies and begin to pull away in the second half.
In their final opportunity to impress the Cameron Crazies, look for Mason Plumlee and Seth Curry to make some highlight-reel plays.
Duke cruises to another win and sends the seniors out in style.
Prediction: Duke 80, Virginia Tech 69
March 9: At North Carolina
Despite playing poorly in their first game against North Carolina, Duke was able to mount a comeback in the second half and get a victory.
If Duke plays poorly again when they travel to Chapel Hill, NC, it will be much more difficult to come back. Fortunately, the Blue Devils will play much better on the road and finish the regular season with a big victory against the Tar Heels.
Quinn Cook and Rasheed Sulaimon will be the difference-makers in this game, and Duke will come up with a big defensive stop to wrap things up against their hated rivals.
It will be a disappointing end to the season for the Tar Heels and a joyful bus ride back to campus for the Blue Devils.
Prediction: Duke 84, UNC 81