Duke Basketball: Blue Devils prepare for ACC showdown against Clemson

(Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /

After a long winter break, the Duke basketball players will take the floor again in primetime on Saturday night.

‘Tis the season to be Duke, fa la la la la, la la la la. That was the new Christmas carol for the No.1 Duke basketball team after it beat No. 12 Texas Tech at Madison Square Garden before the holiday break.

Now, a new year of college basketball has begun.

The Blue Devils (11-1) have something to prove in ACC play. (The program hasn’t finished first in the conference during the regular season since 2010.)

They’ll have the opportunity to make a statement against the Clemson Tigers this Saturday night at 8 p.m. on ESPN.

After battling with Big 12 foe Texas Tech, Duke actualized its weaknesses and strengths.

One weakness was containing the Red Raiders offense in the first half. Texas Tech’s guard play was phenomenal in the first 10 minutes of play. They hit several 15-footers, including 3-pointers. But here’s the issue: Throughout the first half, Texas Tech forced Duke to execute offensive plays in a halfcourt setting. That alleviated Duke’s usual high-tempo style of play.

But Duke finally came back to reality as the game propelled into the second half. Head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s young squad ended up getting its groove back both offensively and defensively.

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In all actuality, that game was Duke’s only scare of the season since an 89-87 loss to Gonzaga in Maui the day before Thanksgiving. To see a team like Texas Tech compete as well as it did against Duke, you could imagine what the Blue Devils are going to experience this year in ACC play.

If you haven’t watched Clemson this season, the Tigers are very explosive. In a matchup against South Carolina, the Tigers showed their ability to score inside the paint.

Clemson guard Marcquise Reed is the offensive specialist for the Tiger offense. Reed averages 20.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game. He’s been a vital component to Clemson’s offense so far this season.

In essence, Duke will have to bring their “A” game against the Tigers.

As long as the Blue Devils don’t get off to a slow start in the first half, they should be fine.

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