1. Big game from Blake Hinson
It’s not a surprise that Pittsburgh’s star forward is the first key, as the team goes as Hinson goes. He’s coming off a bounce-back 21-point effort against Louisville. He scored just 27 points in the previous three games combined while making 6/31 from three-point range in the last four.
With Leggett questionable (more on him in a bit), Pittsburgh needs at least 20 points from Hinson to have a shot or Zack Austin to have another big game. The Blue Devils aren’t a defense that’ll press up and make things too difficult so look for the senior forward to have plenty of shots if the guards can find him.
A year ago, two of Hinson’s worst games came against Duke. He had 10 points on 3/8 shooting from the field in a road loss, as well as just five points on 2/6 shooting in a blowout defeat to them in the ACC Tournament. A big part was he was being guarded by the 6’10 Filipowski and when he wasn’t open for three, had nothing else to offer.
It’ll be different this time around, as Filipowski almost exclusively plays the center position. But Mark Mitchell will be a tough matchup for Hinson on both ends anyway. And considering that Mitchell, who has been awful from three-point range but can get the ball to the basket, Hinson will have to be careful to avoid getting into foul trouble.