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The Confidential

The ACC Sports Blog

Can UVA Beat Duke in 2019?

Virginia’s Tony Bennett always has a plan. That is not to say everything goes as planned. See UMBC in last year’s NCAA Tournament. That said, the large majority of the time, Tony Bennett dictates the pace of play of the game and he finds a way to win. Most would argue his coaching philosophy cannot win an NCAA Championship but he ticks off 25+ wins year in and year out.

Even when the Cavs are not playing their best basketball, they find way to win games because of their defense. In a very sloppy game in Raleigh last night, the Wahoos walked out of PNC Arena with a victory over a top 25 opponent. NC State is on thing, Duke is completely different. The Blue Devils will make the trip to the JPJ in a few weeks in what is sure to be the biggest game of the ACC regular season.

In the JPJ, the Cavs seem to always dictate pace of play. Even with high scoring Tar Heel teams of the past, the Cavs were able to hold them to well under their scoring average. They drain the shot clock on offense and force their opponents to spend most of their shot clock on the defensive end. Scores are often in the 50s or 60s in JPJ and that is what it will take for UVA to beat Duke this season.

Duke will come in with the two most talked about players in college basketball at the top of their games – RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson. It will likely be the case that both teams will be ranked in the top 5 and the students will be ready to go in Charlottesville.

So, is there any way UVA can actually hold Duke to under 80 points and win a very important home game? We saw Georgia Tech cause the Blue Devils to struggle so there is reason to believe the Cavaliers can do it as well. If Duke scores over 75, there is no way UVA is going to win the game. Unless it goes into double overtime. If UVA holds Duke under 70, we would expect to see UVA come away with a victory and first place in the ACC Regular Season.

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