College Basketball
Virginia-Duke Preview
College Basketball

Virginia-Duke Preview

Updated Mar. 5, 2020 12:01 a.m. ET

Duke responded to being left out of the Top 25 for the first time in nearly eight years by winning its next three games, including its first victory over a ranked opponent this season.

Virginia heads into Cameron Indoor Stadium ranked for just the second time in its last 10 trips on Saturday seeking its first win there in more than 20 years, and the unique disparity doesn't necessarily mean a Blue Devils victory would be classified as an upset.

The seventh-ranked Cavaliers enter as underdogs despite riding a seven-game winning streak.

"I'm excited," Virginia center Mike Tobey told the team's official website. "It's always exciting to play against Duke. Obviously, the history in Cameron is a big thing, and being (my) senior year, this is (the) last opportunity to go in there and hopefully get a win."


The Blue Devils' run of 167 straight weeks in the AP Top 25 ended when it was left out of the poll released Feb. 1 following four defeats in its previous five games. Duke (18-6, 7-4 ACC) has bounced back, though, beating Georgia Tech and North Carolina State before knocking off 13th-ranked Louisville 72-65 on Monday at home.

Grayson Allen finished with a game-high 19 points while freshman Brandon Ingram added 18 and 10 rebounds. The Blue Devils will make a strong case for re-entering the polls with a win over the Cavaliers (20-4, 9-3).

''A couple of weeks ago, there is no way (we beat Louisville),'' coach Mike Krzyzewski said. ''I think we lose that game by 15 points because we wouldn't be able to get there.''

Virginia hasn't won in Durham since a double-overtime victory Jan. 14, 1995, dropping the 16 matchups there since. It has beaten Duke just twice in the last 12 meetings overall since 2008 and fell 69-63 at home in the most recent matchup Jan. 31, 2015.

Those could be reasons why, despite their lofty ranking, the Cavaliers enter this matchup as underdogs by many odds makers.

Much like the Blue Devils, they went through their own January swoon by dropping three of four, but they've recovered to win seven straight since falling at Florida State on Jan. 17.

The Cavaliers have been especially solid defensively lately, holding their last four opponents to an average of 48.3 points with a 33.3 field-goal percentage. Virginia, which ranks third in the nation in scoring defense (59.6), saw its first 20 foes average 61.9 points and shoot 33.1 percent.

Anthony Gill scored 16 points and Isaiah Wilkins added a career-high 14 in Tuesday's 67-49 home win over Virginia Tech.

"Like I say after every game, the only way we're going to win games here at UVA is by the defense," Gill said. "We understand that as a team. We strive to be the best defensive team that we can be, so we go out there every night and try to prove it."

Malcolm Brogdon had been carrying the offense by averaging 21.7 points and shooting 58.3 percent over the previous six, but he finished with 12 points on 4 of 12 from the field against the Hokies.

Coach Tony Bennett was proud to see Wilkins and Tobey, who scored 10 points and hit four of his five shots in 11 minutes off the bench, step up.

"When another guy gives us that output offensively, that really balances our team and makes us more potent on offense and harder to guard," Bennett said.

This will be the second of four straight against ranked opponents for Duke. The Blue Devils visit ninth-ranked North Carolina on Wednesday before a rematch at Louisville next Saturday.


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