This is the third part of a six part series in which Thomas Eames, Jason Morrow, Brian Horace (Duke Blogger), and Randy Dunson (Duke Blogger) go through and predict who will win each Duke basketball game. We will all individually predict each game and show you where we think Duke will be at the end of the year.

 

January 4: Duke at Notre Dame

Duke: 2. Notre Dame: 2.

 

Thomas Eames

Notre Dame: In Duke's first ACC and true road game, I see Duke losing this game. Notre Dame is a very talented team and can attack one of Duke's biggest weaknesses. Duke has struggled with top guards since the Championship season and Notre Dame can attack that with Eric Atkins and Jerian Grant. The two senior guards will give Duke fits and give Duke their second loss of the season.

 

Jason Morrow

Notre Dame

 

Brian Horace

Duke: I don't see the talent level for Notre Dame being on par with Duke and while i think this will be the closest game so far Duke will win a close one. Duke will have the edge in guard play but will need to work to control the boards against ND. Duke.

 

Randy Dunson

Duke: The Irish had another terrific regular season in 2013 under Mike Brey, one of several of Coach K’s former assistant coaches & mentees. Brey developed this program into one of the Big East’s top tier teams having won 10 or more conference games and reaching the Big East tournament semifinals over the past 4 seasons. No other Big East program has matched this level of consistency. Now, he brings a team into the ACC with age and strength. The Irish will be stacked at the guard position with Eric Atkins, Jerian Grant and Pat Connaughton forming a strong trio of veterans. They will be joined by McDonald's All-American Demetrius Jackson. Cam Biedschied is a good shooting wing, and with Tom Knight, Garrick Sherman and Zach Auguste up front, the Irish can bang bodies with anyone. Notre Dame will be a tough out in the ACC & Duke will be facing an extremely hard test, particularly on the Irish’s home court. Duke (68-65).

 

January 7: Georgia Tech at Duke

Duke: 4. Georgia Tech: 0.

 

Thomas Eames

Duke: Georgia Tech is improving, but I doubt they will be able to beat Duke in Cameron Indoor. Georgia Tech will struggle with Duke's athleticism and can not beat Duke down low. Barring a bad Duke game, they should have no trouble beating Georgia Tech.

 

Jason Morrow

Duke

 

Brian Horace

Duke: Georgia Tech's Marcus Georges-Hunt & Stacey Poole, Jr. will be tough to handle but i believe Duke is up to the task and position by position should have an advantage vs Georgia Tech.

 

Randy Dunson

Duke: Coach Brian Gregory led Georgia Tech to a winning season during his second season at Georgia Tech. Conference play proved very tough for the Yellow Jackets, but the program is moving in the right direction. The return of four starters could lead to big things this season with Marcus Georges-Hunt likely to lead the way. The 6-5 wing led the Jackets with just under 11 PPG & added 4.9 rebounds. He is a capable outside shooter and a great slasher. Chris Bolden and Stacey Poole, a transfer (ineligible to mid-season last year) join him in the backcourt. Senior Jason Morris has plenty of experience, providing even more depth on the wing. The bottom line for Tech is that they are still developing & do not come close in matching up with the Blue Devils. Duke will retain its dominance over Georgia Tech (67-23). Duke (90-62).

 

January 11: Duke at Clemson

Duke: 4. Clemson: 0.

 

Thomas Eames

Duke: Similar to Georgia Tech, Clemson will be unable to stay with Duke in terms of talent. Like most ACC teams this season, they lack the size to attack Duke down low. With seemingly no big advantage, Clemson should struggle against Duke and Duke will likely receive their first road win of the season.

 

Jason Morrow

Duke

 

Brian Horace

Duke: Clemson will depend on returning Junior K.J. McDaniels and Jordan Roper to pick up the slack on offense. After losing Devin Booker and talented but troubled Milton Jennings Clemson will be in a period of rebuilding and probably won't be much match for the talented Devils.

 

Randy Dunson

Duke: The Tigers lost 10 of their last 11 games last season, and head coach Brad Brownell experienced his first-ever losing season. Clemson had difficulty finding and making open shots and could not generate points out of its solid half-court defense. Clemson returns K.J. McDaniels, who was terrific this summer at the Nike Skills Academy. However, he must rely upon a painfully young roster around him. This is a season to teach the young players and lay a foundation for the future, because this league, more than ever, punishes young teams like Clemson. Even though Clemson has given Duke fits on its home court in the past, this will not be the case this year. Duke (69-52).

 

 

January 13: Virginia at Duke

Duke: 4. Virginia: 0.

 

Thomas Eames

Duke: While Virginia gave Duke trouble last season, I expect Duke will win due to their home court advantage. Virginia will still attack Duke with their strength and senior guard Joe Harris. This season, Duke will have more defenders to throw at Joe Harris and have the athleticism to attack Virginia's top defense. While this will be a tough fought game, I expect Duke to win at home.

 

Jason Morrow

Duke

 

Brian Horace

Duke: UVA will undoubtedly be an underrated but they return an experienced group in Akil Mitchell and and Joe Harris and battle tested sophomores Justin Anderson and Evan Nolte both players that Duke coveted. They will give Duke a battle but CIS will be too much for them in the end.

 

Randy Dunson

Duke: The Cavaliers will be a team to be reckoned with again this season. Sure, they have had roster turnover, but return leading scorer Joe Harris, who hit 77 3-point field goals last season. They also have the league's leading rebounder in Akil Mitchell. Virginia won 23 games last season, and the Cavs finished an impressive 11-7 in ACC play behind its deliberate tempo and strong half-court defense. The Cavaliers were a good shooting team that relied upon Harris coming off screens and getting open shots. This season, Harris will again be the best player, but he will have more help. Mitchell was very good this summer at the LeBron James Skills Academy and is very strong around the basket. Combo guard Malcolm Brogdon, shooter Evan Nolte, wing Justin Anderson, and South Carolina transfer Anthony Gill round out a solid roster that should give Coach Tony Bennett the talent to finish among the top five teams in the ACC. The Cavaliers match up well with Duke but the slight edge goes to Duke especially on its home court. Duke (65-60).

 

January 18: NC State at Duke

Duke: 4. NC State: 0.

 

Thomas Eames

Duke: NC State was much improved last season, but lose five influential players from last season. NC State does not have enough depth to hang with Duke, as Duke will pull away early in this game. NC State may give Duke a decent game at home, but Duke should be able to win easily at Cameron.

 

Jason Morrow

Duke

 

Brian Horace

Duke: NC State will look completely different next year, losing its top 4 scoring players from last year plus the transfers of Rodney Purvis and Thomas de Thaey and you would think this team will be easy pickings but they have some good pieces and have added good freshman. Tyler Lewis proved he can run the point last year despite his diminutive and Opie Taylor like featured. The kid is a baller. T.J. Warren is a bit offensive machine who scores the ball well. They also add lightning quick guard Cat Barber and the giant of a man Beejay Anya who at 6'9 boasts a 7'2 wingspan and will be a load for whoever has to cover him.

 

Randy Dunson

Duke: Just one year ago, everybody was talking about North Carolina State getting the best of Duke and North Carolina and having more than a legitimate chance at winning the ACC title. There was talk of a Final Four and a national title too. Finishing the 2012-2013 campaign tied for fourth in the ACC and as an eight seed in the NCAA Tournament is not a bad year, but it certainly did not live up to the lofty expectations. Coach Mark Gottfried is getting his type of players into the program during his third year at the helm, but there is a whole lot of talent to replace. That is how expectations go from title contender to cellar dweller in less than a year. This is a young team, but the backcourt could be very good by January or February. The frontcourt has some talent too, but the only proven player is Warren and he is not exactly a beast on the glass. Jordan Vandenberg was brimming with potential following a strong finish to the 2010-2011 campaign. Then the 7-1 Australian missed much of his junior campaign with an injury and never really found his groove in 2012-2013. He is back for his redshirt senior season and it would be a huge boost to the Wolfpack’s frontcourt depth if he can play around 15 productive minutes every night. If not, Washington, Anya and Freeman will need to do make a big impact as freshmen, instead of just filling in here and there. Duke (80-68).

 

January 22: Duke at Miami

Duke: 4. Miami: 0.

 

Thomas Eames

Duke: This was a huge game last season, but Miami has regressed greatly from last season. Miami might be one of the worst teams in the ACC this season and the home court advantage will not help them in this game. Duke is the better team and should have no problem proving that to Miami.

 

Jason Morrow

Duke

 

Brian Horace

Duke: Miami had an amazing year in the ACC last year but they lost a nucleus of players that will make this year’s team unrecognizable. Losing its top 6 scores is a lot to account for going forward. They will be decent at the guard spot with transfer Angel Rodriguez and Senior Rion Brown but after that it will remain to be seen what the Hurricanes will look like this year.

 

Randy Dunson

Duke: Miami is coming off of arguably its best season in school history, one that saw them get to No. 2 in the polls at one point. The Hurricanes won the ACC Tournament title and earned a two seed in the NCAA Tournament. Unfortunately, for Miami, its run was cut short due to an upset loss to Marquette in the Sweet 16. For the Hurricanes to repeat their stellar run last year, this season, they are going to need their newcomers to step up. If Rodriguez is not eligible, it will put a heavier burden on the new faces. The talent is there for Miami to make the tournament again, but how everyone fits in and whether Rodriguez is eligible or not will make the difference. If he is not eligible, they will have to wait another year. Duke’s overall depth & talent will knock the Hurricanes down a notch. Duke (85-70).

 

January 25: Florida St at Duke

Duke: 4. Florida St: 0.

 

Thomas Eames

Duke: Florida St returns a talented team, but they are without clutch player and leader Michael Snaer. Snaer played a huge part in the 2012 upset where he hit the game winning three to beat Duke. Without Snaer, Florida St will likely struggle to score the ball, which will make it tough for them to beat Duke. Florida St is good but not good enough to beat Duke at home.

 

Jason Morrow

Duke

 

Brian Horace

Duke: Florida State has pieces with redshirt center Kiel Turpin and Okaro White at the forward spot but losing Xavier Rathan-Mayes to eligibility issues. This throws a wrench in what Leonard Hamilton was planning on doing, so it's hard to say what this team will look like. It may be a rough year for Florida State overall, that being said I'm glad this game is in Cameron.

 

Randy Dunson

Duke: Last season was not the first time that Florida State had issues on the offensive end, but the Seminoles have always been very strong on the defensive end. However, Florida State was poor defensively last season. This team was young at almost every position and it showed. With tremendous size and better experience, Florida State should be much improved on that end of the floor. On offense, Okaro White needs to be more productive, and he is certainly capable of that. Duke will have a serious deficit in the frontcourt, but the Devil’s perimeter will overcome this. I see little trouble with handling the Seminoles. Duke (85-70).

 

January 27: Duke at Pittsburg

Duke: 4. Pittsburg: 0.

 

Thomas Eames

Duke: In Duke's first matchup against ACC newcomer, Pittsburg, I expect Duke to win. While Pittsburg is a likely NCAA tournament team, they do not have strengths where Duke's weaknesses are. Trying to beat Duke without great guards or bigs is tough for any team, even at home. Pittsburg will give Duke a good game but I expect Duke to win this game.

 

Jason Morrow

Duke

 

Brian Horace

Duke: Pitt returns Lamar Patterson and Talib Zanna for senior leadership but I do not expect them to finish better than middle of the pack at best in the ACC. Duke will run through Pitt but may have fatigue issues causing this game to possibly be closer than expected.

 

Randy Dunson

Duke: Another newcomer to the ACC, Pittsburgh has played Duke 12 times over the years with the series tied at 6-6. The Panthers are coming off a 24-9 record last year and should be a top 10 team in the ACC this year. On paper, Pitt was very efficient on both ends of the floor and got more out of its personnel than any other team in the Big East last year. That said, they lost 4 pivotal players, Steven Adams to the NBA, Tray Woodall to graduation, and J.J. Moore and Trey Zeigler to transfer. However, Coach Jamie Dixon returns Lamar Patterson and guards James Robinson and Cam Wright. He also has some quality freshmen, but the veteran players will likely carry the load. Even though the Panthers will bring a hard-nosed style of play to the ACC, the Devil’s perimeter & depth should be sufficient to handle them with relative easy. Duke (75-65).