Duke Blue Devils at Syracuse Orange

Duke Blue Devils Preview

Not only do the Duke Blue Devils hold opponents to a low 3-point percentage (.308), but they often don’t even let foes launch. Duke ranks fourth nationally in opponents’ 3-point rate (27 percent of all shots), according to kenpom.com — setting up a fascinating matchup against Syracuse’s long-range outfit. The defense is very good, the offense even better for Duke, averaging 82.7 points and shooting 48.5 percent from the field.

Freshman big man Vernon Carey Jr. has nine double-doubles (eight of which are 20-10 efforts) and averages a team-high 17.4 points. Sophomore point guard Tre Jones is one of the best in the nation in directing traffic, coming off an eight-assist, no-turnover effort against Pitt on Tuesday.

Syracuse Orange Preview

The classic 2-3 zone of the Syracuse Orange will clash with Duke’s speed and efficiency on offense, as coach Jim Boeheim’s defense forces foes into the sixth-longest average possession length in the country. Syracuse counter-punches on offense by taking 45.3 percent of its shots from behind the arc, led by Elijah Hughes and Buddy Boeheim, who have combined to hit 134 of 343 (39.1 percent) 3-point attempts while pouring in 35.7 points per game.

The Orange had won five consecutive games before squandering a 10-point, second-half lead in a 71-70 loss at Clemson on Tuesday night, although that doesn’t much take the luster off this only regular-season meeting between Hall of Fame coaches.