Duke-Georgia Tech Preview
Duke has three games in five days, and its opponent is going to get more difficult with each contest.
The fifth-ranked Blue Devils open their busy week Tuesday night at Georgia Tech before Thursday's rescheduled game at North Carolina and Saturday's home clash with top-ranked Syracuse.
"We're trying not to look at it that way because each game is the same," coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "And if you start looking at it as a series then there's a tendency to rationalize during the sequence, and over the years to me one of the great enemies to success is rationalization.
"You can get to the Final Four and rationalize, 'Boy we've made it,' and not be as on edge to win a national championship. Things like that. So we're just going to talk about the next game."
Plenty of folks might still be talking about Duke's last game. The Blue Devils (20-5, 9-3) beat Maryland 69-67 Saturday in the Terrapins' final visit to Cameron Indoor Stadium as part of the ACC. Jabari Parker scored a game-high 23 points with eight rebounds, and the Blue Devils got a defensive stop in the final seconds to stay unbeaten at home.
"We beat a real gutty team today, and we were a gutty team," Krzyzewski said. "That was vintage Cameron, man. That was one for the ages today, and I'm proud of my guys."
Parker is averaging 24.3 points and shooting 60.5 percent in his last three games. The Blue Devils are 14-1 when he cracks 20 points and 6-4 when he doesn't.
Duke shot 33.3 percent and hit just 5 of 24 3-pointers - a season-low 20.8 percent - but won for the third time since opening the month with a loss at Syracuse.
The Blue Devils improved to 14-0 at home, but against Georgia Tech (13-12, 4-8) they'll be looking to improve on a 3-3 record in true road games.
The Yellow Jackets, halfway through a four-game homestand, avoided a third straight loss with Thursday's 74-71 home win over Boston College.
Top scorer Trae Golden (13.4 points per game) missed the game with a groin injury, and Daniel Miller scored 18 points while Marcus Georges-Hunt and Kammeon Holsey each added 15.
Georges-Hunt hit a 3 in the final second to secure the win on a play that is typically drawn up for Golden.
"He was very coachable," coach Brian Gregory said of Georges-Hunt. "I told him to make it and he did."
Golden has missed two of the last three games and his status against Duke is uncertain.
"I still say for Tuesday night that he's questionable, but he might be able to go," Gregory said before Monday's practice. "The key is we want to have him put some days together where he's live and at full speed, not just feeling good."
Duke led by only one at the half Jan. 7 at Cameron before outscoring Georgia Tech 45-24 in the final 20 minutes for a 79-57 win. Parker was held to 12 points in 21 minutes, but Rodney Hood (16.3 points per game) led the way with 27.
Georges-Hunt had 18 for Georgia Tech as it lost to Duke for the sixth straight time.
"You have to take care of the basketball against them," Gregory said before the rematch. "They're a great offensive rebounding team, so you have to limit them to one shot. And they have a lot of offensive weapons, so you have to play great defense.
"Other than that, the game plan's simple."