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Next Up For Duke Basketball - Georgia Tech, On The Road

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A trip to Atlanta where Tech is struggling but still capable.

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Jan 23, 2016; Raleigh, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils players embrace at the end of a victory against the North Carolina State Wolfpack at PNC Arena. Duke won 88-78.
Jan 23, 2016; Raleigh, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils players embrace at the end of a victory against the North Carolina State Wolfpack at PNC Arena. Duke won 88-78.
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Next up for Duke is Georgia Tech. The teams meet as Duke has just fallen out of the Top 25 for the first time in eight years. And Georgia Tech is clearly better than it has been for several years and has been very competitive but comes into the Duke game at 12-9 and 2-6 in the ACC.

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In ACC play, Tech has lost to UNC by eight, Pitt by five, Notre Dame by eight, Virginia Tech by one, Louisville by four and Syracuse by three.

On the other hand Tech has beaten Virginia, by four, and State by seven.

Georgia Tech is losing, but not by very much.

And while Brian Gregory's teams have been competent defensively and rebounded reasonably well, offense has been lacking.

This year though Tech has options. Charles Mitchell, memorably seen by Duke fans missing a chippy in Maryland's last game ever in Cameron, has been a revelation for Tech. He's gotten himself into fierce condition and has been averaging a double-double. He has an outside shot at building an NBA career as a rebounder.

Adam Smith came down from Virginia Tech as a grad transfer and he's worked out well too: his three-point shooting is even better, at 42.9%, and is putting up 14.3 ppg.

Marcus Georges-Hunt is a four-year guy and he's improved in almost every category except rebounding (possibly because he can rely on Mitchell). He's putting up 15.9 ppg.

Nick Jacobs is also a senior and is averaging 11.3 ppg. Quinton Stevens is a junior now, still rail skinny - Brandon Ingram is even bigger - f

Georgia Tech has a deep rotation with 10 guys getting at least 15.6 mpg. Josh Heath is getting the majority of the minutes at point guard, with 20.8, while Travis Jorgenson is pulling 15.6. Cory Heyward, son of Ironhead, is getting mostly mop up minutes at 3.6 per game.

But Tech still has three point guards. And Mitchell, who is a tough matchup and was when he was at Maryland too.

Tech has a number of advantages in this game, starting with way more experience and depth than Duke has.

But Duke has some advantages too.

Grayson Allen is a load for anyone, and Ingram has emerged as a major force. The two of them are capable of getting Duke to 50 or 60 points. The problem is where the rest of of the points come from.

Matt Jones is capable of putting up points, but he's being asked to do a lot of things right now. It's hard to do everything well.

Marshall Plumlee has had some tremendous games this year but not consistently on offense and it was never seen as his role this season. Still, he has really come through at times.

The guys who are capable of providing an offensive boost are, first, Luke Kennard, who has been tremendous at times and Derryck Thornton, who has had his moments as well.

He's had games of 22, 24, 18, 17, 23 and 30. What's missing is his three point touch. He's shooting .299 from three point range and is capable of much better. When it comes around, he's going to really change Duke's offense.

Thornton has shot well at times too but he's more important as a defender. If he can apply serious ball pressure, it's all to the good.

Good stat to keep in mind, or some stats: When it comes to three point shooting, Ingram is tops for Duke at .417, Jones is second at .409, Thornton third at .400, Alllen fourth at .390 and Kennard fifth at the aforementioned .299.  Plumlee comes in last.

Just kidding - Plumlee has not shot a three this season but he is 100% for his career from three point range - he took one last season and made it.