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Duke returns from exam break against UNC-Greensboro

?No. 7 Duke takes on UNC-Greensboro at Cameron Indoor Stadium at 7 p.m. Here are three things to watch for after the tip-off tonight:

1. How will the team fare after the break for final exams?

The Blue Devils haven’t played a game since defeating Washington 86-80 December 10 due to their final exams. Other top-10 teams around the nation also took time off for finals. While No. 1 Syracuse was able to overcome NC State 88-72, No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Kentucky weren’t so lucky. After their week off, the Buckeyes fell to No. 13 Kansas 78-67. Duke will be facing off against unranked UNC-Greensboro, but Kentucky lost to unranked Indiana 73-72. Duke will need to shift from being mentally prepared for exams to physically prepared to take on the Spartans.

2. Will the Blue Devils keep their records intact?

The Blue Devils have won the last 40 games at Cameron Indoor Stadium. A win tonight will tie with the second-longest home winning streak. Duke has also won the last 90 home games against a non-conference team, which is the longest current streak in the NCAA. The last time the squad lost at home to a non-conference team was in 2000 against St. Johns. The Blue Devils have outmatched UNC-Greensboro in each of their nine meetings, the last in December 2010 when Duke won by a margin of 46 points.

3. Individual performances

While it seems as though the Blue Devils don’t have much to fear in tonight’s game against the Spartans, the team may be a bit rusty after the break for finals. The conclusion of the game against Washington was a bit shaky, too. The Huskies outscored the Blue Devils in the second half 54-46, and both Seth Curry and Austin Rivers fouled out with just a few minutes remaining. UNC-Greensboro does not have the same presence down low that the Huskies demanded with 7-foot center Aziz N’Diaye. Duke will have to keep an eye on Trevis Simpson, who leads the Spartans with 16.0 points per game and has averaged 23.4 in the last three games.

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