Duke vs. Georgia Tech Preview & Predictions - It's All About Pacing

Duke starts their stretch of three games in five days tonight when they face Georgia Tech in Atlanta. The Devils have won three games in a row after narrowly escaping Maryland over the weekend, while the Yellow Jackets have lost two of their last three.

Tech is looking for something to salvage their season and gain momentum they can take into March and into next season, but head coach Brian Gregory said that star point guard Trae Golden is questionable for tonight's game. If he can't play, their task becomes a lot tougher.

Projected Starting Lineups

#5 Duke (20-5, 9-3 ACC)

G Rasheed Sulaimon, So., 9.2 ppg, 2.5 apg

G Tyler Thornton, Sr., 3.2 ppg, 1.8 rpg

F Rodney Hood, R-So., 16.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg

F Jabari Parker, Fr., 19.3 ppg, 8.5 rpg

F Amile Jefferson, So., 7.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg

Georgia Tech (13-12, 4-8)

G Corey Heyward, Fr., 1.0 ppg, 1.4 apg

G Chris Bolden, So., 5.7 ppg, 2.1 rpg

F Marcus Georges-Hunt, So., 12.3 ppg, 4.2 rpg

F Kammeon Holsey, R-Sr., 7.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg

C Daniel Miller, R-Sr., 11.4 ppg, 7.7 rpg

What to watch for:

Point Guard Play

With Quinn Cook's struggles of late and Golden's injury, each team's point guard play could be very shaky.

Freshman Corey Heyward hasn't gotten a ton of playing time this year, and might be easily flustered ing being thrown into the fire against a top-5 team. Sulaimon will probably get the ball handling duties on Duke's first unit, and while he's done this a good amount this season with the second-unit, he still hasn't played the position much.

As a result, avoiding turnovers  and getting going in a set offense should be keys for both sides. While they may not determine the outcome of the game, they will likely swing momentum in one team's favor.

Duke's Managing of Minutes

A lot has been made of Duke's busy stretch this week due to the UNC game postponement, and rightfully so. It's going to be tough, and Coach K will find a way to manage his teams minutes, particularly in this game against a weaker opponent.

This could make the game closer than it should be, and Duke has to be careful not to play with fire. They did this in the Maryland game, trying to limit minutes and keep guys fresh for future games, and it almost burned them.

I'd expect them to keep with the same strategy, but be more careful if the game gets close.

Prediction: Duke 75-59. If Trae Golden can't play—or even if he's limited—the Yellow Jackets won't win the game. I'd look for Duke to come out with a lot of intensity, trying to get a big lead early so they can rest their players for their upcoming games against UNC and Syracuse. That scenario could create a very uninteresting game for us at home.

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