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College basketball expert Mike Spector analyzes the ACC matchup between the Miami Hurricanes and Duke Blue Devils.
ANALYSIS

Miami vs. Duke Prediction: Experienced Canes Keep it Close On the Road

After the Miami Hurricanes struggled to a 4-3 start, things were looking bleak for their chances of success this year, especially in the conference. However, their current eight-game winning streak changed everything and now makes tonight’s game against the Duke Blue Devils a must-see matchup. The Hurricanes and Blue Devils are two of three remaining unbeaten teams in ACC play. So which team will leave Cameron Indoor Stadium with their undefeated league record intact?

Here are our picks and predictions for the ACC matchup between Miami and Duke.

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Miami vs Duke Prediction

Much of Miami’s struggles at the beginning of the season were due to an inconsistent offense that had trouble generating points. The Hurricanes failed to top 64 points in two losses to Dayton and Alabama and did not crack 70 in two other wins in their first six games. However, the Hurricanes have averaged 88.3 points in their last four games, three of which have come against conference opponents.

So what has changed for Miami? Head coach Jim Larranaga has utilized a more pick-and-roll heavy offense that plays through its bevy of outstanding guards. In addition, they have gone to a “small ball” lineup more frequently that puts six-foot-seven Jordan Miller at the center position, creating many mismatches on the defensive end for their opponents.

While Miami has had their struggles this season, Duke has been consistent from day one. The Blue Devils’ only loss was in their lone true road game against Ohio State. Still, they have impressive victories over Kentucky and Gonzaga on their resume, along with a win over ACC contender Virginia Tech. Outside of wins over the Wildcats and Bulldogs by a combined 11 points, Duke’s ten other wins have come by an average of 25.6 points.

All talk about Duke centers around Wooden Award candidate Paolo Banchero, and rightfully so, considering he is averaging 17.1 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. However, they have gotten excellent contributions from Wendell Moore (16.3 pts) all season, and more recently, A.J. Griffin has come on strong, averaging 12 points in his last five games. Look for Coach K to use Griffin more in this game to match up with Miami’s smaller lineup.

Miami comes into this game off the momentum of a big comeback win against Syracuse, winning 88-87 in a game they had trailed by 18. Miami scored more effectively in transition in the second half after Jim Boeheim’s morphing zones gave them fits in the first half. 

To win in Cameron Indoor Stadium, one needs a team with experienced guards that are also tremendous on-ball defenders. Miami has just that in Charlie Moore and Kameron McGusty, who just held the Boeheim brothers to 16 combined points. As long as Miami avoids live-ball turnovers that lead to easy offense for Duke in transition, the Hurricanes should be able to compete in this road contest.

Miami vs. Duke Pick

  • PICK: Miami +15 (-110)

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Mike Spector brings unmatched knowledge and insight into the game of football, and more importantly the process of betting on NFL football. Mike is the #2 ranked expert in FantasyPros' NFL betting contest

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