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Duke Faces Tough Road Trip To Pitt

Duke hasn't visited Pittsburgh since Jan. 26, 1980. The Blue Devils won that night. Can they win on Monday?

Duke hasn’t visited Pitt since Jan. 26, 1980. They won that night. Can they win on Monday?

No. 18 Duke hits the road Monday for a highly-anticipated matchup with ACC newcomers, No. 20 Pittsburgh.

Tip-off at Petersen Events Center is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET.

Duke (16-4, 5-2 ACC) makes its first trip to the Steel City in three decades having won four games on the bounce.

After picking up a first true road win of the year last Wednesday, the Blue Devils made easy work of Florida State on Saturday, defeating the Seminoles 78-56 in Durham, N.C.

Head coach Mike Krzyzewski, who picked up his 900th win with the school in the victory, will now hope his team can continue to win on the road, washing away any sour taste left from defeats to Notre Dame and Clemson.

Duke has not faced a ranked opponent since defeating then-No. 22 Michigan on December 3. The Blue Devils are 1-2 against AP Top 25 opponents this season.

In the school’s first year in the ACC, Pittsburgh (18-2, 6-1 ACC) has so far made a ton of noise.

The Panthers have dropped just two games all season; a one-point game against former Big East rivals Cincinnati at Madison Square Garden in New York on December 17 and a 59-54 defeat to No. 2 Syracuse nine days ago. This is a team with pedigree.

But a visit from one of college basketball’s truly elite teams will easily be the toughest contest of the year so far. Not only does Duke arrive in winning form, the Blue Devils know they will face Syracuse at the Carrier Dome on Saturday (6:30 p.m. ET). Losses in either game will likely prove costly for Coach K’s team. That means Monday’s matchup with Pittsburgh is a must-win game.

And if it’s must-win for Duke, that makes it must-win for the Panthers too.

Pittsburgh bounced back from its loss to Syracuse with a win over Clemson last Tuesday before picking up an underdog win on the road at Maryland this past weekend.

The Panthers return to the Steel City, where they have a huge advantage. Jamie Dixon’s side is 12-0 at home this season and has won 14 straight dating back to February last year. Can the Blue Devils put an end to that streak?

Pittsburgh’s loss to the Orange was the school’s only game against a ranked opponent so far this season.

Both teams should expect their stock to rise when the new AP Top 25 poll is released later today, which will add further flavor to a game that’s already looking tasty.

Duke Blue Devils vs. Pittsburgh Panthers odds for 01/27/2014

Pittsburgh opened as a narrow home favorite over Duke when the lines were released for this game.

Since 1979, the two sides have met twice, with both games coming in regular season competition.

On January 26, 1980, Duke defeated Pittsburgh 78-69 at Fitzgerald Field House, the old home of the Panthers.

On December 20, 2007, Pittsburgh defeated Duke 65-64 in overtime at Madison Square Garden in New York.

The spread opened at 3.5 and has crept up to 4 with some sportsbooks.

Duke (12-8-0 ATS) has fared better that Pittsburgh (8-7-2 ATS) against the spread this season.

Pittsburgh is just 4-5-1 ATS at Petersen Events Center this season, but Duke is 1-2-0 ATS on the road.

The Panthers are 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven games while Duke has covered in three straight.

At the time of publication, the total had not been set. If this changes before tip-off, the over may well be the smart bet.

Pittsburgh (12-4-0) has heavily favored the over while Duke (8-11-1) has favored the under. With the ACC’s two highest scoring teams taking to the floor, this could become a shootout.

One final trend for you to consider: in games featuring two ranked teams this season, the higher ranked school is just 16-22 (.333).

Monday’s game marks the only time Duke and Pittsburgh will meet in the regular season this campaign.

20140126_ACC_standingsFor a list of today’s College Basketball odds, click here.

For a current list of College Basketball futures, click here.

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