Miami-Duke Clash Headlines Saturday Hoops

The Miami Hurricanes have already clinched a share of the ACC title; a win over Duke would secure it outright.

Miami will travel to Duke on Saturday looking to secure the ACC regular season title outright. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:00 PM ET from Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C.

No. 5 Miami (23-4, 14-1 ACC) has already secured at least a share of the conference championship – its first since joining the ACC in 2004 – but one more victory this season will ensure that the Hurricanes do not have to share that honor with Saturday’s opponent.

Miami has won just one regular season championship in its history, a Big East crown back in 2000. That title was shared with Syracuse, which makes the lure of an outright title that much more appealing.

Although the chances of No. 3 Duke (24-4, 11-4 ACC) securing a share of the ACC title are slim, the Blue Devils will certainly not want Miami to be awarded the title in Durham. If that wasn’t motivation enough, Mike Krzyzewski’s side only needs to remember back to an embarrassing 90-63 loss in Coral Gables on Jan. 23.

Duke will need to bounce back from a surprise loss at Virginia on Thursday if it’s to score the victory in this one. In one way that’s good news for Coach K’s side. The Blue Devils have followed up all four losses this season with a win.

There are plenty of other trends favoring Duke also. The side also hasn’t lost back-to-back games in the regular season since February 2009, when North Carolina and Boston College secured consecutive wins over the Blue Devils. The Blue Devils are 15-3 against Miami since 1979-80. Duke is also unbeaten at home this season (14-0) and has won 92 of the last 97 games in Durham, although Miami might not be in as much awe of this particular statistic as the rest of us.

The Hurricanes handed the Blue Devils a 78-74 overtime defeat at Cameron Indoor Stadium just last season. Jim Larranega’s side also owns an impressive road record this season of 10-2. No other ACC team has a winning record on the road. What’s more, those 10 wins really show up when you consider North Carolina is second on the list with six road wins, and Duke has just four.

Duke will enter the game as favorite. The spread opened at 5.5 and has risen to as high as 7 with some bookmakers.

The Blue Devils are 15-13-0 ATS this season, with a 12-7-0 ATS record at home and a 15-12-0 ATS record as favorite.

Miami meanwhile is 15-7-2 ATS overall this season, with a 5-4-2 ATS record on the road and a 3-1-0 ATS record as the underdog.

The total is 135.5. Duke (15-13-0) has marginally favored the over this season while Miami (7-14-1) has considerably favored the under.

In Brief…

Whilst the ACC’s top of the table clash will garner the headlines, it’s the Big East that is really primed with big time action this Saturday.

After a slew of upsets this week, Markel Starks and the Georgetown Hoyas - who face Rutgers on Saturday - could be the big winners in this week's AP poll.

No. 7 Georgetown (22-4, 12-3 Big East) could be the team that benefits most from this week’s big time losses. With a win over Rutgers (13-13, 4-11 Big East), the Hoyas could realistically climb into the top three. The team needs to be on upset alert though; with the top teams stumbling on a regular basis, what’s to say John Thompson’s side is immune. The Hoyas are favorites (-14.5) heading into this one with the total at 122.5.

No. 10 Louisville (23-5, 11-4 Big East) will travel to No. 12 Syracuse (22-6, 10-5 Big East) in a big ranked game. The Orange has lost two straight – along with top spot in the Big East – and five of the last nine. Now is the wrong time to be trending downwards. Winners of four straight, the Cardinals meanwhile are trending upwards, and could be top of the conference pending Saturday’s results. Syracuse is favored (-1.5) at home, with the total at 129.

There’s another big ranked game in the Big East on Saturday, as No. 21 Notre Dame (22-6, 10-5 Big East) takes on No. 22 Marquette (20-7, 11-4 Big East). The Golden Eagles are within a game of Georgetown at the top of the conference while the Irish is two games back. With the Big East proving ultra-competitive this season, both are still in the hunt for a top place finish. That won’t be the case after this one. Marquette is the favorite (-7) at home with the total at 130.

Away from the Big East, another team that will be on upset alert is No. 8 Florida (22-5, 12-3 SEC). The Gators face Alabama (19-9, 11-4 SEC) on Saturday, a team just one game behind in the SEC standings. If the Tide scores a victory in this one, the cat will well and truly be amongst the pigeons with just over a week to go. Florida is the big favorite (-18.5) with the total at 117.5.

 

Saturday’s AP Top 25 Schedule in Full

Iowa at No. 1 Indiana

Portland at No. 2 Gonzaga

No. 5 Miami (FL) at No. 3 Duke

West Virginia at No. 6 Kansas

Rutgers at No. 7 Georgetown

Alabama at No. 8 Florida

No. 10 Louisville at No. 12 Syracuse

No. 11 Arizona at UCLA

No. 13 Kansas State at Baylor

Wyoming at No. 14 New Mexico

Texas at No. 15 Oklahoma State

No. 18 Saint Louis at George Washington

No. 19 Memphis at UCF

No. 20 Butler at Virginia Commonwealth

No. 21 Notre Dame at No. 22 Marquette

San Jose State at No. 25 Louisiana Tech

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