This is the fourth 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.

 

February 1: Duke at Syracuse

Duke: 1. Syracuse: 3.

 

Thomas Eames

Duke: While Syracuse has a big home court advantage in this game, I expect Duke to come out and play extremely well. Jabari Parker is the perfect player to play the high post against a 2-3 zone and will be able to attack Syracuse's zone. Although Syracuse has the home court advantage, Duke will be motivated and ready for their new ACC foe and will take them down in their first meeting of the season.

 

Jason Morrow

Syracuse

 

Brian Horace

Syracuse: This, in my opinion will be Duke's first loss of the season. Syracuse boasts a solid roster with good returning players and should be a force in the ACC this year. I give them the edge at home.

 

Randy Dunson

Syracuse: Jim Boeheim is no doubt one of the greatest college basketball coaches in the history of the game & has been at the helm of the Syracuse program for 38 years. However, now he is a rookie, guiding the Orange in his first season in the ACC. He is coming off of one of his strangest finishes last season, where after a lackluster season overall, managed to reach the Big East final and marched to the Final Four before losing to Michigan. Syracuse lost 3 stellar players but the team will be a top tier team in the ACC. One factor why is the return of leading scorer and rebounder C.J. Fair, a player that few in the nation can match up with the underrated lefty. Joining him will be big men Rakeem Christmas, Baye Keita, & DaJuan Coleman to protect the rim and Jerami Grant along the baseline. This cadre of players will surely ensure that the Orange will be very difficult defensive team to solve. This said he key will be guard play and shooting. Trevor Cooney and freshman point guard Tyler Ennis will be crucial to Syracuse's perimeter scoring. The series between Duke & Syracuse is notched at 2-2, but given the Orange’s overwhelming advantage in the frontcourt, this first of the two regular season meetings between these two will tilt the series record to 2-3. Syracuse (65-60).

 

February 4: Wake Forest at Duke

Duke: 4. Wake Forest: 0.

 

Thomas Eames

Duke: Wake Forest is an up-and-coming team that just lacks the overall talent to beat Duke at home. Devin Thomas will attack Duke inside, but Duke will have a huge advantage on the perimeter that they will exploit. Wake Forest is no team to look past but Duke should be able to win this game.

 

Jason Morrow

Duke

 

Brian Horace

Duke: Duke should win this game against Wake on pure talent alone, aside from Senior Travis Mckie this team is young and will most likely not put up too much of a fight in Cameron.

 

Randy Dunson

Duke: Wake Forest is coming off of its second 13-18 season in a row. This season looks to be another struggling one for Wake Forest, as 10 of the scholarship players are sophomores or freshmen, 8 of which are sophomores. Because of the lack of experience, McClinton and Overton might be pushed into action earlier than they had hoped. If the players on the team continue to develop, the Demon Deacons might be able to qualify for one of the lesser postseason tournaments. They simply will be no match for the Devils. Duke (95-68).

 

February 8: Duke at Boston College

Duke: 3. BC: 1.

 

Thomas Eames

BC: BC has been getting closer and closer to beating Duke at home, and this is the year I think they finally do it. It is a tough trek for Duke up to Boston, as the game was almost postponed last year due to weather. Duke will have a tough time containing BC's dynamic duo of Oliver Hanlan and Ryan Anderson. Duke is the superior team but I expect BC to get a huge program and resume building win against Duke at home.

 

Jason Morrow

Duke

 

Brian Horace

Duke: Boston College has to Junior forwards that Duke will have to contend with, leaper Eddie Odio is capable of athletic plays at the rim which has been Duke's weak point historically and Ryan Anderson who can put points on the board. Duke should win but Conte Forum will not let the Blue Devils run away with this one.

 

Randy Dunson

Duke: Considering how young Boston College was last season, it was a big accomplishment, and an even bigger surprise, that they finished 7-11 in conference play and 16-17 overall. A year older and a year wiser will make this group more consistent. Ryan Anderson, a 6-9 forward, is the star of the team. As a sophomore, he averaged 14.9 points and 8.0 rebounds. He is an effective scorer anywhere inside the arc and is easily the most effective rebounder on BC. The Eagles weak spot, like the Devils, is having trouble on the glass and the frontcourt must get more production from Eddie Odio and Dennis Clifford. Odio is still toughening up and as soon as that happens, he will make a larger impact. Clifford is the big body in the paint. At 7-1 and 250 pounds, the junior takes up a lot of space. He is a tough defender and with better effort on the glass, Boston College does not need him to score like he did as a freshman. This is a team that should be better than last year with just about everybody returning, but the talent level is simply not there yet to compete with the top teams in the ACC like Duke. Duke (75-60).

 

February 12: Duke at North Carolina

Duke: 4. UNC: 0.

 

Thomas Eames

Duke: While UNC is extremely talented, they do not have the team to beat Duke. Duke matches up extremely well with UNC at the 1-4 positions and UNC lacking a center just as much as Duke is. Even though UNC is home, I do not see how they will be able to beat Duke this year. After a disappointing loss to BC, expect Duke to bounce back with a solid win over UNC.

 

Jason Morrow

Duke

 

Brian Horace

Duke: People want to discount this UNC team but I am not one of them, with a hall of fame coach and an athletic team they should finish high in the standings in the ACC. McAdoo, Hairston and McDonald will lead the way for this team but expect a jump in play from last years freshman. Marcus Paige, J.P. Tokoto & Joel James should be much better and more prepared for ACC play this year. Duke will win this one but it will come down to the wire.

 

Randy Dunson

Duke: Last season was long for Roy Williams. He had a team with very little interior strength and front line toughness, and instead of struggling with this deficit through a tough season, he changed his style and went with a four-guard lineup that emphasized the 3-point line. This season, the question mark is Hairston's availability to play at all due to several off-court incidents. James Michael McAdoo is a very good player but perhaps not the star everyone projected him to be out of high school. However, McAdoo should be considerably better this season, as should the lefty point guard Marcus Paige. The key will be the improvement of the big men Desmond Hubert, Joel James, and Brice Johnson. The same can be said about the initial effectiveness of freshman guard Nate Britt and forwards Isaiah Hicks and Kennedy Meeks. If Hairston is given the green light, the Tarheels will be among the top three teams in the ACC. If not, they could have more ups and downs. In this first meeting, & likely the 2nd as well, Duke matches up well & will come away with a victory. Duke (75-66).

 

February 15: Maryland at Duke

Duke: 4. Maryland: 0.

 

Thomas Eames

Duke: Duke will hold nothing back in what will be their likely last game against Maryland. Maryland will try to attack Duke down low, but will be less effective without Alex Len. Expect Maryland to give Duke a tough game, but the Cameron Crazies will help propel Duke to a victory in what could be the last meeting between these two rivals.

 

Jason Morrow

Duke

 

Brian Horace

Duke: MD boasted a huge advantage in size over Duke last year and not much will change in that regard. With 265lb Shaq Cleare and 260lb Charles Mitchell Duke will need to counter the MD size with its faster style of play. Duke will win this one with a second half surge.

 

Randy Dunson

Duke: The Maryland Terrapins leaving the ACC left a bitter taste in most current coach’s mouths, but none more than Coach K. He is adamant that this will be the last game Duke plays them while he remains at the helm. That aside, the Terps had a relatively easy nonconference slate last season & needed those games to build confidence in a young team. Despite some significant turnover issues, Maryland was able to scratch out a 25-13 record, an 8-10 conference mark. Coach Mark Turgeon lost big man Alex Len to the NBA draft, but returns Dez Wells, a very versatile athlete. With Nick Faust, lefty scorer Seth Allen, shooter Jake Layman, and big men Shaq Cleare and Charles Mitchell coming back more experienced, the Terps should be improved on the offensive end. Keys will be point guard play and leadership. Freshman point guard Roddy Peters needs to be reliable handling the ball, as does Allen, who is more comfortable scoring. Duke has an overwhelming edge on this “Fear the Turtle” team & the Crazies will be stoked to run them off the court in a convincing manner. Duke (80-70).

 

February 18: Duke at Georgia Tech

Duke: 3. Georgia Tech: 1.

 

Thomas Eames

Duke: Georgia Tech is talented, but Duke should be able to beat them. They are much improved from last season, with the improvement of Marcus Gorges-Hunt and Robert Carter. Georgia Tech is still too inexperienced and lacks the talent to beat Duke, even on their home court.

 

Jason Morrow

Duke

 

Brian Horace

Georgia Tech: Being the 3rd game in 7 days they will be fighting fatigue against Georgia Tech who will have 5 days rest before playing this game at home. I'm going to give the edge to Georgia Tech in this game. Gtech wins by 7.

 

Randy Dunson

Duke: [Refer to my January predictions. Even though the game will be played in Atlanta, Duke still comes away with a convincing win.] Duke (80-70).

 

February 22: Syracuse at Duke

Duke: 3. Syracuse: 1.

 

Thomas Eames

Syracuse: After Duke beat Syracuse in the Carrier Dome, I expect Syracuse to have a bounce back win at Cameron Indoor. Syracuse is too talented for Duke to sweep them in conference play and Syracuse is a tough match up for Duke. In another huge battle, I expect CJ Fair to carry the Orangemen in a revenge win over Duke.

 

Jason Morrow

Duke

 

Brian Horace

Duke: Duke will avenge the earlier game at Syracuse and win this one handily. Nuff said. They will dominate in all phases of the game.

 

Randy Dunson

Duke: [See above. With further maturity & the Cameron Crazies behind them, the Devils even the score in Cameron.] Duke (68-62).

 

February 25: Virginia Tech at Duke

Duke: 4. Virginia Tech: 0.

 

Thomas Eames

Duke: After a very tough month, Duke ends the month with an easy opponent in Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech finished last in the ACC last season and graduated the ACC player of the year. Virginia Tech should prove to be an easy win for Duke in a quick blowout.

 

Jason Morrow

Duke

 

Brian Horace

Duke: It's hard to say what Virginia Tech will bring to the table this year, with no Eric Green Jarell Eddie will have to step up for the Hokies. The talent gap is going to be too much to overcome Duke wins big.

 

Randy Dunson

Duke: James Johnson's team finished 13-19 last season, winning just four ACC games with the league's leading scorer in Erick Green. This season, Virginia Tech will have Jarell Eddie, the only double-figure scorer returning, to go with six freshmen who will be expected to learn on the job. In this improved league, the Hokies can make progress, but will not see it in the wins column. The first order of business for Johnson and his staff is to teach the young guys and get them to compete every day in practice. The wins will follow, but not necessarily this season. Tech simply will be no match for the Devils. Duke (90-65).