ACC Championship Game Preview - Duke vs. Virginia

It's all come down to this in the ACC.

We have the preseason favorite versus the regular season champs. Offense (Duke) against defense (UVA).

The Blue Devils gave the Cavaliers one of their two conference losses, but that came in the game where Virginia nearly knocked off the Dukies in Cameron Indoor.

On top of conference bragging rights, the winner will be looking at a potential one-seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Safe to say, a lot's on the line in Greensboro this afternoon.

Projected Starting lineups

(3) #7 Duke (26-7, 13-5 ACC)

G Tyler Thornton, Sr., 3.1 ppg, 2.4 apg

G Rasheed Sulaimon, So., 9.8 ppg, 2.5 apg

F Rodney Hood, R-So., 16.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg

F Jabari Parker, Fr., 19.2 ppg, 8.8 rpg

F Amile Jefferson, So., 6.5 ppg, 6.8 rpg

(1) #6 Virginia (27-6, 16-2)

G London Perrantes, Fr., 5.1 ppg, 3.8 apg

G Malcolm Brogdon, So., 12.3 ppg, 5.6 rpg

F Joe Harris, Sr., 11.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg

F Akil Mitchell, Sr., 7.0 ppg, 6.9 rpg

C Mike Tobey, Fr., 6.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg

What to watch for:

Bench Production

Both teams have solidified starting lineups that have played together for almost the entire year. We know what we will get from each group, but we don't always know what to expect from each sides' bench.

Duke's bench is headlined by Quinn Cook - who started for much of the year - and Andre Dawkins, both of whom would start for 99% of teams in the country. However, they're on the bench because of their inconsistent play, particularly when it comes to shooting.

Virginia's bench is led by Justin Anderson and Anthony Gill, both of whom are relied on spark the Cavs' offense - so much so that they're the third and fourth leading scorers, respectfully, on their team.

They have been a lot more consistent and reliable than Duke's bench, and if they provide a good scoring punch while their starters rest, this team is really tough to beat.


This one's pretty simple - Virginia loves to play a slower game with limited possessions, while Duke would rather get up and down the court and have a lot of transition opportunities.

If the Cavs can force Duke to use up a lot of time on offense and dictate how many chances they have to score, they'll win this game.

But if Duke forces the tempo and gets the game going at a faster pace, UVA doesn't have the offensive firepower to keep up with the Devils' talented perimeter scorers.

That's not to say Virginia can't push the ball occasionally or Duke can't score in the half court, but they can't do it effectively for long stretches.

The tempo will probably change throughout the game, but if the score is in the 50's or low 60's, expect UVA to come out on top. If it's in the 70's or 80's, Duke will win.

Prediction: Virginia 65-63. Not only are the Wahoo's looking for revenge from their loss to Duke earlier in the season, they're trying to win their first ACC title since the early 1980's. Winning this game and claiming both ACC crowns means more to them then anything they can do in the tournament. Obviously they still want to do well in the NCAA's, but this is what matters to them. Duke might be more focused on the NCAA's and not have the same will and determination as the Cavaliers, who will find a way to will their way to the victory.

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