For the Duke Blue Devils, this would be a season of some discovery. Mike Krzeszwski had left after many years as a head coach, and Jon Scheyer took the reins. Honestly, no one really knew what to expect. But Duke signed some prize recruits and has compiled a 24–8 record, with 14–6 in the ACC.
They have virtually assured a spot in the NCAA tournament, but they can also win the ACC tournament. And on Friday night, in the semifinals of that tournament, they’ll take on the Miami Hurricanes, who have had a banner season under Coach Jim Larranaga. This game takes place at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Miami is coming off a win over Wake Forest in Thursday action, which means they have won nine of their last ten games. It was good that they shook off some rest, as they had played just once in the previous 12 days.
Miami posted some solid non-conference wins this season over Providence and Rutgers, and in conference play, they defeated the likes of Virginia, North Carolina State, North Carolina, and Duke.
The Blue Devils are currently on a seven-game winning streak. They scored an easy victory over Pittsburgh on Thursday, getting 14 different players into the game in the 96–69 blowout. Kyle Filipowski, the 7-foot freshman center, had 22 points and, interestingly enough, no rebounds, hitting four triples along the way.
In the ACC basketball betting odds posted on this game by the folks at BetOnline, Duke is the favorite:
Duke Blue Devils -2.5
Miami Hurricanes +2.5
Over 143.5 points -110
Under 143.5 points -110
Miami does not bring a lot of size to the table, but they shoot pretty well. As a matter of fact, they are hitting 37% from beyond the arc, although they will be tested by a very solid Duke defense which has permitted its opponents to hit only 30.5% triples. In the past, Duke has usually been very accurate from the outside, but when they are beyond the three-point line, they’ve had limited success, hitting only 33% of the time, which may affect the odds while betting on basketball.
What Duke has is size and plenty of it. Filipowski, who was the seventh-ranked high school recruit in the country last season, according to the ESPN ratings, can usually block some shots, and they also have 6–10 Ryan Young and 6–8 forward Mark Mitchell available to alter shots from the opponent.
The wildcard for them here is Derek Lively, who was the top-rated recruit, according to ESPN, and comes off the bench to offer 72% shooting from the two-point range end, the third-highest shot-blocking rate in the country. If you take the average height, Duke is the tallest team out of the 363 playing Division I basketball.
Miami only takes 34.5% of the shots from downtown, so they’ll rely on two-point accuracy to finish the job. And Duke can successfully assert itself on the inside; the Hurricanes have a good chance of getting in foul trouble. That’s not good news for them because they do not go to the bench that often.
The intrigue here comes from the difference in experience. Miami has no freshman starters, while several freshmen are playing key roles for Duke. But if it’s a game about talent, we will side with the Blue Devils in this ACC tournament matchup.
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