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Duke Blue Devils vs. Utah Utes - NCAA Tournament - 3/27/15 Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Utah Utes (26-8) at Duke Blue Devils (31-4)

College Basketball: Friday, March 27, 2015 at 9:45 pm (NRG Stadium)

The Line: Duke Blue Devils -4.5 -- Over/Under: 135.5 See the Latest Odds

TV: CBS HD

The Utah Utes and the Duke Blue Devils will face off at NRG Stadium this Friday night in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

The (5) Utah Utes were able to advance to their first Sweet 16 in ten years after they defeated the (4) Georgetown Hoyas, 75-64, in a hard fought game this past Saturday. The Utes were only able to get up a total of 38 shots in the entire game, however, made the most of their opportunities as they finished the game shooting 57.9% from the field, 57.1% (8-14) from beyond the arc, and 71.9% (23-32) from the free throw line in the victory. Leading the way for Utah was Delon Wright who had 12 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. The Utes finished the season ranked 20th in the RPI Standings, 9th in the BPI Standings, and played the 32nd ranked SOS. On the season, Utah has been led by Delon Wright (14.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 5.2 apg) and Brandon Taylor (10.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 3.4 apg, 1.2 spg). Utah is averaging 71.7 ppg (ranked 65th) on 48.7% shooting (ranked 8th). The Utes are shooting 40.8% from beyond the arc (ranked 6th) and commit 11.5 turnovers per game (ranked 76th). Defensively, Utah is holding their opponents to an average of 56.9 ppg (ranked 11th) on 38.9% shooting (ranked 9th). The Utes pull down 25.41 defensive rpg (ranked 48th) and average 5.0 bpg (ranked 24th).

Duke Blue Devils vs. Utah Utes - NCAA Tournament - 3/27/15 Pick, Odds, and Prediction

USA TODAY Sports

The (1) Duke Blue Devils were able to get out to a big first half lead and held off a 2nd half rally to defeat the (8) San Diego State Aztecs, 68-49, this past Sunday. The Blue Devils were able to shoot 54.5% from the floor against one of the best defenses in the country and held the Aztecs to just 32.8% shooting from the field and 15.4% (2-13) shooting from beyond the arc. Leading the way for Duke was Jahlil Okafor who had 26 points (12-16 FG), 6 rebounds, and 3 blocks.  The Blue Devils finished the season ranked 5th in the RPI Standings, 7th in the BPI Standings, and played the 11th ranked SOS. On the season, Duke has been led by Jahlil Okafor (18.1 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 1.4 apg, 1.4 bpg) and Justise Winslow (12.1 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 2.2 apg). Duke is averaging 80.7 ppg (ranked 3rd) on 50.6% shooting (ranked 3rd). The Blue Devils average 7.6 three-pointers per game (ranked 55th) and have an assist/turnover ratio of 1.41 (ranked 11th). Defensively, Duke is allowing 65.3 ppg (ranked 141st) on 42.7% shooting (ranked 162nd). The Blue Devils average 7.2 spg (ranked 65th) and pull down 37.41 total rpg (ranked 41st).

The Utes are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 neutral site games and 36-16-3 ATS in their last 55 games following a S.U. win.  The Blue Devils are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 non-conference games and 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games overall.

Utah is one of the more balanced teams in country as they can really get it done at both ends of the floor. Duke is known for their high-scoring offensive which is led by their one of the best players in the country in Jahlil Okafor, however, their defensive has also started to show up as of late as in their last 4 games, they are allowing just 58.0 ppg. I have been high on this Utah team all season and although I can see them causing Duke trouble, I just think Duke has too many weapons that the Utah will be able to handle, especially with how Justise Winslow and Tyus Jones are playing as of late. I think Utah will keep this one close early however, Duke pulls away late in the game and covers this spread. Take Duke to cover in this one. 

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Duke Blue Devils -4.5

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