Duke (16-5, 4-4) at Notre Dame (17-5, 6-3)
When: Monday, January 30th 2017
Where: Joyce Center, South Bend, IN
Time: 7:00 ET | TV: ESPN
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish look to break a two-game skid when they host the Duke Blue Devils on Monday night in South Bend. The Irish got off to a quick 5-0 start in ACC play, but have since dropped three of their last four including a 62-60 setback at Georgia Tech on Saturday. Notre Dame got 23 points, including the 1,000th of his career, from V.J. Beachem before Georgia Tech scored at the buzzer for the victory. Beachem has recorded two of his best efforts of the season in the last three games. He was held to just three points in a loss to Virginia on Tuesday, but went off for a career-high 30 points in a win over Syracuse on January 21st. The senior forward is one of four players averaging at least 14 points – a feat the Irish last accomplished for an entire season in 2001-02. Forward Bonzie Colson leads the team in scoring (15.5) and tops the ACC in rebounding (10.6) while guards Steve Vasturia (14.5 points) and Matt Farrell (14.0) also pace the offense. Vasturia, who also went over 1,000 points earlier in the season, was held to five against Georgia Tech and is 8-of-26 from the field the last three games.
Duke was on their way to losing four of their last five before a big rally late against Wake Forest. The Blue Devils trailed by 10 points with four minutes to play at Wake Forest on Saturday before sophomore Luke Kennard led the way back for an 85-83 victory. Kennard finished with 34 points, one shy of his career high, and pushed his team-leading average to 20.4. He has hit 54.4% from the field, including 16-of-23 in the last two games, while making all six of his 3-point attempts. Grayson Allen, who scored 19 points, hit 6-of-11 from 3-point range on Saturday after making just five of his 24 attempts in the previous five games. Allen is third on the team in scoring (15.3) behind freshman forward Jayson Tatum (15.8). Senior forward Amile Jefferson (12.2 points) leads the way in rebounding (9.5) and is converting 62% of his field goal attempts, which leads the conference. Freshman guard Frank Jackson, averaging 10.8 points, has made 10-of-18 from the field the last three games. Duke has lost the last three meetings with Notre Dame, but own a 20-7 lifetime record against them.
Notre Dame is a lot better than their recent play would indicate and Duke is still struggling to find their form. The Blue Devils are just 2-3 away from home this season while the Irish are 12-1 at home. I’ll take Notre Dame tonight.
Pick: Notre Dame PK