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NCAA Basketball: Notre Dame vs. Duke

The college basketball season is getting closer to an end, which is when fans get to see some of the best games of the season. This week, there is a battle between two of the best teams in the ACC, featuring the Duke Blue Devils and the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, who will be playing each other for the second time in 10 days.

#10 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (21-3, 9-2 ACC) vs. #4 Duke Blue Devils (19-3, 6-3 ACC), Saturday, February 7, 1 PM. ET. CBS.

Duke has been the best team in the ACC for some time now, but find themselves in a position they aren't used to, they are currently sitting in 5th place in the ACC, 2 games behind 3rd ranked Virginia, and will have to finish the season strong, if they plan to win the conference this season. 

One of the bright spots for the Blue Devils this season has been Jahlil Okafor, who has lived up to the hype that he had as a recruit, and is averaging 18.3 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. Okafor has been brilliant for most of the year, and leads all freshmen with three games of at least 20 points and 10 rebounds. He has been relatively quiet in the last two games, averaging 12 points and 8 rebounds, and they will need him at his best in order to defeat the Irish.

Notre Dame's first year in the ACC was a big disappointment, with the team finishing 6-12 in conference play. They did manage to defeat the 7th ranked Blue Devils in their only meeting of the year, combined with their victory over Duke this season, they have a two game winning streak against the Blue Devils. 

Notre Dame has bounced back nicely this season, and find themselves in second place in the ACC. A big reason for their success is senior guard Jerian Grant, who was dismissed from the school due to academic reasons last year, but made it back this season, and has been leading the way since, averaging 17.3 points and 6.3 assists per game. Grant was the team hero in their first win against the Blue Devils, helping them rally from a 10 point deficit in the second half.

One of the Keys to the Irish success this year has been their offense, the team scores 81.2 points per game, which is 8th best in the country, and their .521 shooting percentage is the 2nd best in the country. Defensively, they still have a lot of work to do, because they allow opponents to score 64.1 points per game, which is 121st in the country. 

Duke also seems to have the same issues as Notre Dame, they too have an excellent offense that averages 80.6 points per game, which is 10th in the nation, and their .497 field goal percentage is 6th in the country. Defensively, opponents score 64.6 points against them, which is 135th in the country. 

Since both teams are so evenly matched, fans should expect to see another close game, and the winner will likely be the team that is able to get a stop late in the game, like the Irish were able to do in the first meeting.

My Pick: The Blue Devis will win a close game.