|Duke and Ryan Kelly beat Georgia Tech Saturday, but it's Virginia's defense Thursday night that could be an eye-opener. John Bazemore/Associated Press photo|
The Blue Devils (13-2, 1-0) will host Virginia (14-1, 1-0) Thursday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium (ESPN, 9 p.m.). While the Cavaliers didn’t have the most rigorous non-conference schedule in the country, Virginia did manage to beat Michigan, Oregon and LSU while only losing to TCU.
With its slower tempo, Virginia leads the conference in scoring defense, yielding 50.5 points per game. The Cavaliers are also in the top three in the conference in field-goal defense (38 percent) and 3-point percentage defense (27 percent).
Duke leads the conference in 3-point shooting, making 41.7 percent of its attempts from beyond the arc. It will be intriguing to see which strength wins out.
Here’s what Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski had to say about the Cavaliers and their defense this morning on the ACC teleconference:
* “(Tony Bennett) has his system in place. He has guys who have played his style of basketball, which is a very good style of basketball, for a lot of competitive reps. In other words, he’s had a lot of games with guys playing that way. So guys are instinctively reactive. He doesn’t have a real young player playing. There’s no freshmen who are in the starting lineup. You have a couple of fifth-years guys, and another senior.”
* ”We’re not where they are in terms of being instinctively reactive. In the last game, we started two freshmen. We’re not at the same spot instinctively as they are. Hopefully, we’ll come closer to that by Thursday.”
* “They play together. It’s less possessions in a game for Virginia than our number of possessions, usually. But that’s the main thing – the main thing is they understand their jobs and they play together. They have each other’s back. It’s tough to get into the lane on them. They try to take away the post with the double team on the low post all the time.”
* “The double team is one thing. What the other three guys are doing is – I think where they do a great job is as that trap goes there, the other three react instinctively to where they are supposed to be. They know their duties and what they’re trying to get accomplished. They’re an outstanding defensive team.”
-- Jack Daly