Syracuse Orange (23-13) at Duke Blue Devils (28-7)
College Basketball: Friday, March 23, 2018 at 9:30 pm (CenturyLink Center Omaha)
The Line: Duke Blue Devils -11.5 -- Over/Under: 133.5 Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
The Syracuse Orange and Duke Blue Devils will square off at the CenturyLink Center Omaha this upcoming Friday in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
The 11-seed Syracuse Orange (23-13) pulled off one of the bigger upsets of the NCAA Tournament so far after the Orange defeated the 3-seed Michigan State Spartans, 55-53, this past Sunday. Syracuse defense was outstanding against the high-scoring Spartans offense, and was able to secure the win after holding Michigan State to just 5 total points over the final 5:43 of regulation. Syracuse held Michigan State to just 25.8% shooting from the field and 21.6% 8-37) from beyond the arc in the victory. Leading the way for the Orange was Oshae Brissett who had 15 points, 9 rebounds, 1 block, and a steal. On the season, Syracuse is averaging 66.7 ppg on 41.5% shooting from the field. The Orange are averaging 5.7 three-pointers per game on 31.8% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Syracuse has been led by Tyus Battle (19.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.5 spg), Oshae Brissett (14.9 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 1.1 spg), Frank Howard (14.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 4.7 apg, 1.9 spg), and Paschal Chukwu (5.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 2.5 bpg). Defensively, Syracuse is holding their opponents to an average of 63.6 ppg on 39.1% shooting from the field. The Orange have a rebound margin of 3.8 and a turnover margin of 0.5.
The 2-seed Duke Blue Devils (28-7) put together one of their best performances of the season and had no issues advancing to the Sweet 16 after defeating the 7-seed Rhode Island Rams, 87-62, this past Saturday. Duke dominated on both ends of the court in this one and had little trouble securing the victory after the Blue Devils entered halftime with a 45-28 lead. Duke shot 56.9% from the field and 47.6% (10-21) from beyond the arc while holding Rhode Island to just 39.7% shooting from the field. Leading the way for the Blue Devils was Gary Trent Jr. who had 18 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals. On the season, Duke is averaging 84.9 ppg on 49.6% shooting from the field. The Blue Devils are averaging 8.5 three-pointers per game on 38.3% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Duke has been led by Marvin Bagley III (21.2 ppg, 11.3 rpg, 1.5 apg), Grayson Allen (15.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 4.6 apg, 1.7 spg), Gary Trent Jr. (14.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.2 spg), and Wendell Carter Jr. (13.6 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 2.1 apg, 2.1 bpg). Defensively, Duke is holding their opponents to an average of 69.3 ppg on 40.2% shooting from the field. The Blue Devils have a rebound margin of 9.1 and a turnover margin of -0.6.
The Orange are 7-1 ATS in thier last 8 NCAA Tournament games and 5-1 ATS in their last 6 neutral site games. The Blue Devils are 5-1 ATS in thier last 6 neutral site games and 9-2 ATS in thier last 11 games overall.
Duke beat Syracuse in their only matchup of the season after winning by a 60-44 margin at home against the Orange in late February.
Syracuse has been winning games by slowing down the pace and playing outstanding defense and comes into this matchup ranked 10th in scoring defense and 5th in defensive FG%. Duke has agreeably looked like the best team in the tournament so far as they’ve easily been able to handle both Iona and Rhode Island and has been led by their dynamic offense that ranks 6th in scoring offense, 9th in FG%, and 9th in rebound margin. Syracuse is playing some of their best defense of the year so far in their three wins in the NCAA Tournament, however, Duke seems to be running on all cylinders currently and as I think the lack of depth and poor shooting will finally catch up to the Orange in this one, I see Duke covering this double-digit spread.