virginia-duke may be the game of the year for vanguard sports ,
Why Duke-Virginia could be college basketball’s game of the year , January can be sensory overload in college basketball. So many games, seven days a week, that it becomes clutter.
Like social media posts endlessly scrolling by, how are we supposed to know when one really matters?
If you watch one game this month, make it Virginia at Duke, 6 p.m. ET from Cameron Indoor Stadium. It is the exceedingly rare matchup of No. 1 vs. No. 1 — the Cavaliers are ranked first in the USA Today coaches poll, the Blue Devils are on top in the Associated Press poll. It is the matchup of No. 1 (Virginia) vs. No. 2 (Duke) in the Pomeroy Ratings. And the Sagarin Ratings (Duke on top there, Virginia second).
Beyond that, it is a game of compelling opposites. Few programs have less in common than Duke and Virginia, beyond conference affiliation and consistent excellence.
Start with overall philosophy. Duke has become the ultimate drive-thru program, elite talent stopping by on its way to the NBA, only the best for only the briefest amounts of time. Virginia is the old sit-down restaurant, where everything takes a while but the meal is worth the wait.
What the Cavaliers lack in recruiting star power, they compensate for in experience. Average age of the top eight players at Duke: 19.3. Just one of those eight is 21 years old. Average age of the top eight players at Virginia: 20.8. Just one of those eight is younger than 21.
The Blue Devils’ top four scorers all are 18 or 19 years old. All of the Cavaliers’ top six scorers are 21.
“Give an edge to the Virginia kids in terms of poise and experience in their system,” said Clemson coach Brad Brownell, whose team is the only one to play both Virginia and Duke thus far this season. “They’ve played in games like this.”