#4 Virginia Faces Top-Ranked Duke Saturday
Virginia is ranked No. 1 in the coaches poll. This will be only the fourth time in the history of college basketball that two teams ranked number-one will play each other. Duke is ranked No.1 in the Associated Press poll.
The fourth ranked University of Virginia men's basketball team gets its biggest challenge of the season Saturday playing at top-ranked Duke.
Virginia (16-0, 4-0 ACC) is one of only two undefeated teams left in college basketball.
Duke (14-2, 3-1 ACC) is coming off a home loss to Syracuse Monday and will likely be without its starting point guard Tre Jones, who suffered a shoulder injury.
Duke is ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press poll. Virginia is ranked No. 1 in the coaches poll. This will be only the fourth time in college basketball history that two teams ranked number-one will play each other.
Virginia won at Duke last year 65-63. Ty Jerome helped seal the win with a crucial three-pointer with 37 seconds left.
Virginia will now try to win back-to-back games at Cameron Indoor Stadium for the first time since winning four straight in the early 1980s.
"Last year was definitely an awesome win, but it's a whole new team," Ty Jerome says about Duke. "We know how crazy the environment is, so last year is completely out the window. It's a fresh, new game, but we understand how crazy Cameron is. We understand how loud they get when they go on runs. We know how talented this team is, so we know we're in for a real battle, but we're ready for it."
"Last year they came in and beat us and that was a tough game, says Duke junior forward Javin DeLaurier. "But it's a new year and a new team, entirely different group. It's kind of hard to bring back old feelings of losing to them."
This year's Duke team has one of the most talented collection of freshmen in college basketball history.
Forward R.J. Barrett leads the Blue Devils scoring 23 points per game. 285-pounder Zion Williamson averages 21 points and forward Cam Reddish averages 13 points. All three guys are projected to be selected in the top five picks of June's NBA draft if they decide to leave school. Zion Williamson is projected to go number one.
"They're talented but they're players just like us and we're going to go at them just like they would go at us," says UVa freshman guard Kihei Clark. "Wherever we are... we are going to play the same game no matter what. We're going to go out there and execute our game plan and not worry about the other team."
"Incredibly talented," says UVa coach Tony Bennett about Duke. "What's new there? They're a high level team, elite defensively. The attentiveness and soundness defensively is really showing."
Duke will likely be without its start freshman point guard Tre Jones, who injured his shoulder Monday in a rare home loss to Syracuse.
"Obviously you miss a guy like that," says DeLaurier. "Someone who is so vital to our team but everyone has stepped up to the plate, next man up."
Virginia, along with Michigan, are the only two undefeated teams left in college basketball.
"They confuse defenses, they move defenses a lot," says DeLaurier. "If you don't talk and miss an assignment, they're going to make you pay for it and they do a great job controlling the pace of the game."
"They're a great team and so are we," says Duke freshman guard Jack White. "We've seen what's worked for us in the past during the season and up to this point. Guys just need to be ready and focused. We just got to be ready to fight.".
:Every night out you have to be ready to go," says Tony Benett. "Some of these guys have played in that atmosphere. Obviously we know how good they are. You just play the possessions and battle and look forward to the challenge."
Virginia and Duke tip off at 6pm Saturday in Durham in a game televised on ESPN.