Duke vs. Notre Dame Preview & Predictions

The Duke Blue Devils have rebounded since losing to Notre Dame on January 28, grabbing big wins over Virginia and Georgia Tech this week.

Notre Dame fell at the hands of Pitt after beating the Blue Devils, but recovered with a convincing win over Boston College.

Projected Starting Lineups

(4) Duke Blue Devils (19-3, 6-3 in ACC)

G Tyus Jones (Fr.) – 11.1 ppg, 4.9 apg

G Quinn Cook (Sr.) – 14.5 ppg, 2.7 apg

F Justise Winslow (Fr.) – 11.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg

F Amile Jefferson (Jr.) – 8.3 ppg, 7.0 rpg

C Jahlil Okafor (Sr.)– 18.1 ppg, 9.3 rpg

(10) Notre Dame Fighting Irish (21-3, 9-2 in ACC)

G Demetrius Jackson (So.) –12.9 ppg, 3.1 apg

G Jerian Grant (Sr.) – 17.3 ppg, 6.4 apg

G Steve Vasturia (So.) – 9.1 ppg, 3.3 rpg

G Pat Connaughton (Sr.) – 13.5 ppg, 8.2 rpg

F Zach Auguste (Jr.) – 13.7 ppg, 6.5 rpg

What to watch for:

Can Duke slow down Jerian Grant?

Grant is one of the best players in the country, and absolutely scorched the Blue Devils last week with 23 points and 12 assists. He's the kind of player who plays his best in big games, and he's the heart and soul of Notre Dame's team. If Duke can slow him down and limit his effectiveness, they'll be able to win this one. Look for Coach K to put Justise Winslow on Grant to see if a bigger defender will bother him.

Will Okafor be able to dominate the paint?

Okafor is the frontrunner to win National Player of the Year and is the consensus No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, and he has size that Notre Dame just isn't able to match. He exploited the Irish's four-guard lineup for 22 points and 17 rebounds in the first game, but he missed several easy layups and was outhustled for key rebounds down the stretch. Okafor looked like a man amongst boys against the small lineup, and he needs to play that way and take advantage of all of his opportunities to secure a Duke win.

Prediction: Duke wins 76-69

The Blue Devils are looking for revenge, and with the game being played in Cameron Indoor Stadium, they'll have a major advantage. Grant will get his, but I expect Okafor to totally dominate this game and lead Duke to a win in another close game between these two teams.

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