Game of the Day: Duke at Louisville


USA Today Sports

Duke Blue Devils at Louisville Cardinals (OFF, OFF)Instead of continuing his triumphant march to his 1,000th career victory, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski is searching for answers on how to snap his team out of its sudden decline. Krzyzewski on Saturday attempts to secure win No. 998 for the third time when his fourth-ranked Blue Devils visit No. 7 Louisville. After rolling off 14 straight victories to open the season, Duke has dropped back-to-back games by at least 12 points for the first time since the end of the 1995-96 season.

“I just have felt since Christmas there’s something missing with our group and when you’re still winning, you don’t necessarily believe it completely. I haven’t been able to figure out how to change it,” Krzyzewski told reporters after Tuesday’s 90-74 loss to Miami (Fla.) that snapped the Blue Devils’ 41-game home winning streak. If Krzyzewski’s group is to avoid its first three-game skid since the end of the 2006-07 season, it will have to do so against a team led by another Hall of Fame coach in Rick Pitino, whose Cardinals have limited opponents to 50.8 points in 12 home games this season. Louisville improved to 11-1 in those contests after pounding Virginia Tech 78-63 on Tuesday.



ABOUT DUKE (14-2 SU, 8-8 ATS, 9-5 O/U): The Blue Devils allowed North Carolina State and Miami to convert 20-of-36 beyond the arc after holding opponents to 26.4 percent during their winning streak. Another of the areas Krzyzewski figures to address is his team’s lackluster play after intermission as Duke has surrendered at least 50 points in the second half in its losses – matching the number it had allowed over the previous two seasons. Duke’s recent 3-point shooting woes on the offensive end – 13-of-38 in the two losses – haven’t slowed down freshman Jahlil Okafor (18.9 points, 9.4 rebounds), who has posted three consecutive double-doubles despite consistent double-and triple-teams.

ABOUT LOUISVILLE (15-2 SU, 4-10-2 ATS, 7-6 O/U): Pitino spent much of his time in his postgame interviews Tuesday talking about the overall improvement of his team and specifically Chris Jones, who dished out a career-high 11 assists. “We’re getting better and I think it all stems from Jones’ willingness to be a leader and to be a point guard. I just think he is becoming smarter … he is playing like a point guard should play and I am happy to see he is evolving into that,” Pitino said. Thanks to Jones’ solid play against Virginia Tech, the Cardinals tied a season low with seven turnovers and knocked down 10 3-pointers – one shy of matching a season high.



*Blue Devils are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 vs. Atlantic Coast.
*Cardinals are 1-8-2 ATS in their last 11 home games.
*Over is 6-0 in Blue Devils last 6 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
*Under is 4-0 in Cardinals last 4 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.


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