Duke and Miami both had a part in a pair of stunning ACC blowouts this week, with the Blue Devils suffering their worst loss in nearly 19 years after the Hurricanes earned their biggest win over a ranked opponent in school history.
A similar outcome at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday would be even more surprising.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s fourth-ranked Duke team will look to rebound from its 27-point road loss with a return to Durham, where the Blue Devils are 13-0 this season and Miami has lost its five visits by an average of 24 points.
Duke (19-3, 6-2) had ascended to the top ranking nationally before falling 70-68 at then-No. 6 Wake Forest on Jan. 28, but that loss looked like a stellar effort compared with the Blue Devils’ 74-47 defeat at No. 10 Clemson on Wednesday—their first loss in 23 games against the Tigers.
In a game that Krzyzewski called “40 minutes of (Clemson) dominating,” Duke shot 30.8 percent from the field and was outrebounded 41-30, stumbling to its most lopsided defeat since a 103-73 loss to UNLV in the 1990 NCAA title game.
“They shouldn’t forget this loss,” Krzyzewski said. “This is as bad as you can play. … They just kicked our butts.”
Leading scorer Kyle Singler struggled for the second straight game, managing six points and shooting 2-of-8 from the field and 2-of-6 from the free throw line. Singler barely topped his season low of five points, his total in Sunday’s 79-54 win over Virginia.
Gerald Henderson was 5-of-13 from the field Wednesday after shooting 59.8 percent in his previous seven games.
The Blue Devils should have plenty of motivation to bounce back. They haven’t lost consecutive games since falling 86-73 at Wake Forest and 96-95 at Miami last Feb. 17-20. That was the Hurricanes’ first win over Duke since joining the ACC in 2004-05.
Saturday’s game will also be a final tuneup for Duke’s first meeting of the season with third-ranked North Carolina, which takes place Wednesday in Durham.
“You have to take responsibility of what you’ve done,” Krzyzewski said. “What you do with the responsibility determines where you are. Don’t make any excuses.”
Playing at home should favor Duke. Nearly all of the team’s 13 wins at Cameron this season have been comfortable, and the closest of its four ACC home victories was 73-56 over North Carolina State on Jan. 20.
Miami (15-7, 4-5) is also 0-5 all-time in Durham, with all of the losses coming by at least 15 points.
The Hurricanes, though, will come in with confidence after ending their three-game losing streak with Wednesday’s 79-52 win over No. 7 Wake Forest.
They were led by a huge performance by Jack McClinton, whose season-high 32 points came on 11-of-19 shooting - including 6-of-10 from 3-point range. The senior guard is fourth in the league with 19.0 points per game and third in 3-point shooting at 45.6 percent.
“McClinton had one of the best performances I’ve seen in the eight years I’ve been in the ACC,” Demon Deacons coach Dino Gaudio said.
Picked in the preseason to finish fourth in the league, Miami has been inconsistent in conference play, and its 1-3 record in ACC road games hasn’t helped.
The Hurricanes, however, are hoping to duplicate their performance in the second half of their last ACC season, which they finished at 8-8 despite a 2-6 start. Coach Frank Haith said he’s already seen a change in his team.
“I was just trying to make the guys more accountable and people really bought into that,” Haith said. “(Wednesday) was one of our best 40-minute games of the year.”