Third-ranked Duke looks to extend the nation’s longest non-conference home winning streak when it hosts Evansville on Wednesday. The Blue Devils have won 138 straight contests at home against opponents not from the ACC.
Duke is returning from an 11-day layoff for exams and looking to bounce back from an 89-84 loss at Boston College to open conference play. The Blue Devils are the second-highest scoring team in the nation at 93.3 points per game and have five players averaging at least 12.3. The Purple Aces have won five straight, although only three of those victories have come against NCAA Division I competition. They’re coming off a 79-52 rout of NAIA opponent Midway (Ky.).
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2
ABOUT EVANSVILLE (10-2): Albeit against a weak schedule, the Purple Aces lead the nation in 3-point shooting at 49.4 percent and rank 16th in scoring defense, allowing 61.9 points per game. Blake Simmons (12.3 points) is averaging 16.2 points over his last five games, taking over a bigger offensive role with leading scorer Ryan Taylor (21.3) sidelined with a broken foot. Their No. 2 scorer, guard Dru Smith (12.4 points), also is out with a stress fracture in his foot.
ABOUT DUKE (11-1): The Blue Devils don’t get much production from their bench, but they don’t need to. Grayson Allen (17.2 points, 4.4 assists) and a quartet of freshmen all score in double figures, with dominant big man Marvin Bagley III (21.3, 11.3 rebounds) leading the way. Bagley and Wendell Carter Jr. (12.6 points, 8.7 rebounds) help the Blue Devils dominate the boards, and point guard Trevon Duval (12.3, 6.7 assists) leads the team in both assists and steals.
1. Bagley ranks second in the nation with 10 double-doubles, including seven straight.
2. Duke has won its last six games against Missouri Valley Conference opponents.
3. Evansville is 9-0 when outscoring the opposition in points off turnovers.
PREDICTION: Duke 97, Evansville 71