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Next Up: Wake Forest

Time: 12:00 || Venue: Cameron Indoor Stadium: || Video: ACC Network

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NCAA Basketball: Duke at Pittsburgh
Jan 10, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Duke Blue Devils guard Gary Trent Jr (2) shoots against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the second half at the Petersen Events Center. Duke won 87-52.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Next up for Duke is Wake Forest and a renewal of one of the ACC’s key rivalries.

Wake isn't as central to Duke as UNC and State are mostly because they’re farther away but all the Triangle schools are games Wake Forest badly wants to win.

Wake hasn't won at Duke since Tim Duncan left and that’s been awhile so you know they’d love this one.

The Deacs have had an off-and-on year. Replacing John Colllins, now emerging as a force with the Atlanta Hawks, has been tough and Wake has struggled to find an identity.

Doral Moore has become a solid replacement for Collins though he’s not as talented (not many people are). He’s shooting just under 73% from the floor.

Danny Manning has been building Wake mostly around more athletic, mobile players. He prefers bigger wings than he relies on at the moment but the core of his team, other than Moore, is Bryant Crawford, Keyshawn Woods, Mitchell Wilbekin, Brandon Childress, Chaundee Brown, Terrence Thompson, Donovan Mitchell and Melo Eggleston.

Wake is starting Moore, a 7-1 and 280 lb. junior, Thompson, a 6-7 grad student transfer from Marshall and a native of Durham, Mitchell Wilbekin, a 6-2 senior, Keyshawn Woods, a 6-3 junior, and Bryant Crawford, another 6-3 junior.

One of Wake’s best assets is depth: Manning has nine guys getting double-figure minutes and Duke can’t match that, and especially if top reserves Marques Bolden and Javin DeLaurier can’t go. Both missed the Pitt game with injuries.

That makes foul trouble even more troubling. Wendell Carter periodically picks them up and with Bolden and DeLaurier behind him it’s not as critical. Without them, Duke is more vulnerable.

Wake started the season in near disaster-mode, losing to Georgia Southern, Liberty and Drake and then Houston to start 1-4 (the win was over Quinnipiac). Since then they’ve gone 7-3 and are now 8-8 and 12th in the ACC.

Duke has done better at 14-2 and 2-2 in the ACC and has talent that’s generally regarded as superior to Wake’s.

Marvin Bagley is, at worst, the second best player in the country. Carter is an outstanding big man who compliments him well. Gary Trent is a tough and unusually smart player. Trevon Duval has shown that he can be a dominant point guard although he hasn’t done it consistently and Grayson Allen as a senior is a well-known commodity who, by the way, is due for a big offensive game.

Wake Forest and Duke have both struggled with defense with Manning going so far as to say that his team has to outscore the opponents. That has to grate on his nerves since he was a prodigy on both ends of the court and a highly intelligent player who at 6-11 could basically do anything.

The difference is that he has more experience. Duke is relying on freshmen and they just haven’t learned all they need to know about Duke’s system.

Wake is going to try to run and score in a hurry which is probably fine with Duke because the Devils would like to do that as well.

If neither team elevates its offense then you could see a track meet. But keep this in mind: for whatever reason, the Demon Deacons under Manning have had trouble closing opponents out. It’s been a real issue.

We’d expect a close game since it’s a conference game but if either team steps its defense up considerably that team is likely to win.

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