Duke may be 13-4, but it has not been pretty for the Blue Devils. Their offense has been regressing hard throughout the season while they continue their offensive woes that plagued them last year. As for Clemson, they have been one of the bigger surprises of the season and currently sit near the top of the ACC standings. They have a chance to secure their spot at one with a win over the Blue Devils. Can Clemson pull it off?
Duke Vs. Clemson Odds
Oddsmakers are iffy on their chances, opening this as a near pick’em with Clemson being a -1 favorite. Bettors have yet to take a stand on backing the home favorite, keeping the number the same as the open.
As for the total, points are expected to be scored in bunches as oddsmakers opened the total at 142.5. This comes as a slight surprise as the Blue Devils offensive production has fallen off a cliff as of late. Especially with their style of play, attacking the interior which shaves precious time off the clock in halfcourt sets.
Duke Vs. Clemson Prediction & Pick
The Pick: Pass, too much variance
While Clemson’s start to the season has been impressive, they are currently in fraud territory as a “paper tiger”. A fitting name for their performance so far as they are the Tigers after all. In all seriousness, Clemson’s lack of efficient defense means regression is looming large over the program’s chances for continued success. Their defense currently ranks 77th in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency per Kenpom.
While their defense has lacked production at an elite rate, they may be able to skate by once again as Duke’s offensive woes have continued to haunt them this season. Once top-20 in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency per Kenpom, now sit at 37th and are looking more anemic with each passing game. They needed a late run just to comfortably get past Pittsburgh, a team that ranks 96th in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency.
Their offensive woes are especially puzzling when you look at the makeup of their team. Centered around their big man Kyle Filipowski who is a stud in the post, Duke has still struggled in half court sets. Normally when slowing down the game to run sets, a productive big man is the key to keep the offense flowing. Instead, Duke breaks apart and looks sluggish when slowed down and that has been apparent against inferior competition.
Duke would be better served to go back to their roots of ramping up the pace and getting out in transition for easy buckets with their elite size and athleticism. Instead, they have opted for a more old school style approach and have played at a snail’s pace by ranking 257th in Adjusted Tempo.
Clemson doesn’t play much faster, ranking around average in the league. This style of play bodes especially well in this matchup for Clemson as their production on both ends comes primarily through their big men. This will give Filipowski troubles in the paint, breaking apart the Duke identity and forcing them to scramble to find a high-quality look.
Duke Vs. Clemson Key Matchups
Can Clemson continue to stay hot from three against Duke’s perimeter defense?
Clemson three-point shooting vs Duke perimeter defense
While Clemson’s defense has continued to be the bane of their existence, it’s their offense that has propelled them to a terrific start to the season. Their offense currently ranks 44th in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency and can burn you from both the interior and perimeter with productive scorers at all three positions.
This may give Duke fits as they will have to respect the interior scoring, leaving the perimeter wide open. An area that they already struggle in defending.
Clemson has the ability to take advantage of the open looks as they shoot nearly 40% from deep. In fact, three of their five starters shoot over 40% from deep. Should they connect early and stretch out the defense, this gives big men PJ Hall and Tyson Hunter more room to work with down low. Both terrific two way scorers.
This is a pass for me as I want to see how Clemson’s defense fares against a reeling Duke offense. If Clemson goes down early but are able to get open looks from the perimeter, then I may grab them live.