Pittsburgh-Duke Preview

Duke got back on track defensively by making adjustments en route to a marquee victory.

The fifth-ranked Blue Devils could use better offensive balance and perimeter shooting Monday night when they host Pittsburgh for the first time in 36 years, however.

Duke (15-2, 3-2 ACC) let North Carolina State and Miami shoot a combined 53.4 percent in defeats last Sunday and Tuesday. The loss to the Hurricanes ended what had been the nation’s longest home winning streak at 41 games.

The Blue Devils bounced back by holding then-No. 6 Louisville to 29.5 percent shooting in Saturday’s 63-52 road victory – its second against a top-10 team.

"Hopefully we can move on now and use that to play really well Monday night and get more confidence," said coach Mike Krzyzewski, who recorded his 998th win. "It’s still a long road for our team. It’s not a bad road. When I say that I am not saying it’s the death march."

Duke hasn’t dropped two straight at home since losses to Florida State and North Carolina on Feb. 4 and 7, 2007.

Duke limited the Cardinals to 24 points in the paint after giving up a combined 76 points during its two-game skid. Krzyzewski often opted for a 2-3 zone instead of his typical man-to-man defense. It remains to be seen how much zone he uses moving forward.

"I thought our offense was affecting our defense and we needed to change our point of pick up – whether it be man or zone – and put it at the top of the key," Krzyzewski said. "Try not to let people get points in the paint against us. Our guys did a good job of that."

ACC leading scorer Jahlil Okafor (18.9 ppg) had 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting while Amile Jefferson was 6 of 7 for 19 points. The rest of the team was a combined 7 of 26, however, including a 4-of-15 mark from 3-point range. Duke is 17 for 63 from deep (27.0 percent) over its last three games after previously shooting 38.9 percent, though Pittsburgh is letting teams shoot 40.0 percent from beyond the arc in league play.

The Blue Devils own a 7-6 series advantage and were 13 of 25 from deep in an 80-65 road win in their first ACC meeting on Jan. 27. These teams haven’t met at Duke since Pittsburgh’s 71-69 win on Feb. 10, 1979.

Pittsburgh (13-5, 3-2) is 9-2 since senior guard Cameron Wright returned from injury. He and Jamel Artis each matched their career highs with 20 points apiece in Saturday’s 70-65 win against Georgia Tech.

Point guard James Robinson had a season-high nine assists with one turnover and the Panthers recorded 17 assists on 24 field goals. They lead the conference with assists on 63.8 percent of their made baskets while averaging 10.0 turnovers.

They’re 12-2 when recording at least 13 assists.

"We have to take care of the ball and knock down the ball. We have to make them take contested jump shots," coach Jamie Dixon said. "I believe our best basketball is ahead of us and we have fought and battled to put ourselves in a spot where we are in contention."

Pittsburgh has lost seven of its last nine road games against ranked opponents but is 6-6 on the road against top-10 teams under Dixon.