Beats' picks: Will Duke men's basketball defeat Ohio State in ACC/Big Ten Challenge rematch?

Will Duke come out on top in Wednesday's matchup at Cameron Indoor Stadium?
Will Duke come out on top in Wednesday's matchup at Cameron Indoor Stadium?

Looking for its first top-25 win of the season, No. 17 Duke welcomes No. 25 Ohio State to Cameron Indoor Stadium for a Wednesday night showdown in the last-ever ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Before tipoff, our beat writers make their predictions.

Jonathan Levitan: Duke 74-69

The Buckeyes exit Feast Week riding high after wins against Cincinnati and Texas Tech, while Duke managed a pair of unranked opponents before getting buried by Purdue. The Boilermakers are playing as well as any team, but the fact of the matter is that the Blue Devils are 0-for-2 in top-25 matchups to date.

But Duke matches up well with nearly every team on the defensive end, and the Buckeyes are no exception. The shots should fall at a higher rate for the Blue Devils in Cameron Indoor Stadium, and Ohio State’s hot-shooting freshmen might encounter the tough truth that playing a tough opponent on the road is different than any neutral-site meeting—Duke was on the wrong end of that lesson in this matchup last season. Count on increasingly steady play from Tyrese Proctor and Dariq Whitehead to help the Blue Devils pick up an important win Wednesday.

Micah Hurewitz: Ohio State 74-66

Despite making it to the Phil Knight Legacy final, neither of Duke’s two wins blew me away. Entering the final, I attributed the sloppy first performances to unlucky shooting stretches—hence my incorrect pick of a Duke win—but the championship revealed some glaring issues with the Blue Devils as they continue a tough stretch during which they face two more Big Ten opponents. Justice Sueing and Zed Key have been on a tear of late, with the former coming off a 33-point outing against Texas Tech and the latter having already led a monster comeback to defeat the Blue Devils a year ago to the day. I would like to see Dereck Lively II improve his game and more consistency from Proctor on top of a fully-healthy Jeremy Roach after multiple abrupt exits Sunday due to injury. This bout between heavyweights is in Cameron Indoor, however, so if Duke claims a win Wednesday I could also chalk it up to the home-court advantage, but not much about the last week of play suggests the Blue Devils are ready for a team like the Buckeyes. 

Sasha Richie: Duke 68-62

Apocalypticism is tempting me after the beatdown that was the Phil Knight Legacy championship. Duke’s performance, good for a 19-point loss, was pitiful. The Blue Devils shot 11% from three and 36% from the field, getting just two combined points on 1-of-9 shooting from Mark Mitchell and Lively. However, as unrefined as the Blue Devils may seem, that game was an outlier dealt by what is now a top-five team with a 7-foot-4, nigh unstoppable center. 

Ohio State is not that. Ohio State, after losing EJ Liddell, is much closer to Xavier in caliber; fringe teams with talented players that have the potential to make noise come tournament time. The Buckeyes are good enough to be a comeback statement, but not so good that the Blue Devils have no shot at beating them, and I doubt that Duke will tolerate another miserable showing on a big stage. The Blue Devils can and have shown up against top opponents—they were within a few possessions of beating then-No. 6 Kansas—and I expect them to brush off the weekend and do just that.

Jake Piazza: Ohio State 75-69

Duke is in a delicate part of its season. It has lost its two ranked matchups and although the Blue Devils had some positives to build off of in the Kansas game, Duke’s performance in the Phil Knight Legacy raised a lot of question marks, especially about its ability to score. Ohio State is not a team that is going to put up 90 points in Cameron Indoor, but Sueing, Key and Sean McNeil will give the Buckeyes plenty of firepower. I expect Duke to struggle the most with Key considering he posted 20 points last year on eight field goals while he was guarded primarily by the 7-foot Mark Williams, who was last year’s ACC Defensive Player of the Year. It won’t be a blowout, but the Buckeyes will leave Durham with a win in hand.

Max Rego: Ohio State 74-70

Ohio State comes into this one ranked 252nd nationally in adjusted tempo, per KenPom, so expect the Buckeyes to make this into a 40-minute slog. For the Blue Devils to win this one, it might be time for head coach Jon Scheyer to insert Whitehead into the starting lineup and utilize Kyle Filipowski at the five in order to run and gun. However, with Ohio State sporting a roster built around Key, Sueing (whose skill set is similar to that of Kansas’ Jalen Wilson) and six rotation players who shoot at least 35% from three, look for the Buckeyes to parlay superior half-court execution into a tight win in Cameron Indoor.

Alex Jackson: Duke 75-72

Duke’s play so far this season has not exactly been inspiring. The Blue Devils are coming off a resounding loss, while the Buckeyes are coming off a feel-good win. But Duke has one thing going that Ohio St. does not: size. The Buckeyes' tallest starter is 6-foot-8, and although they may make moves to bring in more size, the Blue Devils have multiple talented and tall players that Scheyer can either play down in size with a more efficient lineup or take advantage of the size difference with multiple bigs like we have seen this season. With the game being played in Cameron Indoor, I see Duke getting the slight edge.

Andrew Long: Ohio State 70-66

If there is one thing I learned from Duke’s bout in Portland, Ore., it is that despite some good wins and some great individual performances, this team just does not click on the offensive end yet. Filipowski will most likely be the standout performer on the scoring and rebounding fronts with improved play from Roach and Proctor being a nice supplement, but I do not know if that is enough. Inconsistency has plagued Mitchell, Lively has been underwhelming and Whitehead has not started yet, and against an in-form team that just entered the AP Poll after a slew of good performances, this may be another step too far for the Blue Devils. Scheyer has the tools to win, but until those tools are used to maximum effect, I can’t place full faith in them.

Rachael Kaplan: Ohio State 75-71

Duke’s recent performances have not looked promising. The lack of offensive production is raising some serious red flags. The fact that Filipowski was the only Blue Devil to make a 3-pointer against Purdue does not bode well for Duke as it welcomes an Ohio State team that just put up 80 points on then-No. 21 Texas Tech. The Buckeyes shot 40% from beyond the arc in that matchup and are averaging more than 79 points per game, nearly nine points more than the Blue Devils. They simply have not shown that they can keep up with that offensive production, and I do not expect that to start now against a hot Ohio State team that just entered the AP Poll and is undoubtedly hungry for more. 

Max Rego profile
Max Rego

Max Rego is a Trinity senior and an associate sports editor for The Chronicle's 118th volume. He was previously sports managing editor for Volume 117.

Jake C. Piazza

Jake Piazza is a Trinity senior and was sports editor of The Chronicle's 117th volume.

Sasha Richie profile
Sasha Richie | Sports Managing Editor

Sasha Richie is a Trinity senior and a sports managing editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.

Micah Hurewitz

Micah Hurewitz is a Trinity senior and was previously a sports managing editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.

Jonathan Levitan

Jonathan Levitan is a Trinity senior and was previously sports editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.

Rachael Kaplan profile
Rachael Kaplan | Sports Managing Editor

Rachael Kaplan is a Trinity junior and sports managing editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.

Andrew Long profile
Andrew Long | Recruitment/Social Chair

Andrew Long is a Trinity junior and recruitment/social chair of The Chronicle's 120th volume. He was previously sports editor for Volume 119.


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