NCAA Tournament Picks: San Diego State vs. Duke

Ross Benjamin

Sunday, March 22, 2015 12:11 PM GMT

This NCAA Tournament handicapper analyzes Sunday's battle between San Diego State and Duke. This revealing betting preview article will make you an informed bettor with the ultimate edge.

Aztecs on Tobacco Road
The #1 seed in the South Region Duke (30-4) takes on #8 seed San Diego State (27-8) on Sunday. This game will be played in Charlotte, North Carolina with the opening tip slated for 2:40 PM ET. According to the NCAA Tournament betting odds at Bookmaker, Duke is a 9.5 point favorite, and the posted total is 128.5.

 

How they arrived in the Third Round
The San Diego State Aztecs are coming off a workmanlike 76-64 win over St. John’s on Friday. The Aztecs easily covered as a 4.0 point favorite, and the game soared over the total of 123.5. The 76-points by San Diego State were the most scored since a 77-45 win over Air Force on January 20th. The Aztecs uncharacteristically committed 13-turnovers on Friday. They entered the NCAA Tournament having committed 7-turnovers or less in their previous six games.  It was a rare offensive outburst for San Diego State which averages just 62.2 points per game. However, they’re terrific defensively, allowing a miniscule 53.5 points per contest, and holding opponents to an awful 37.9% shooting from the field. One glaring weakness that can cost the Aztecs dearly in a big game like this is their poor free throw shooting. They’re converting on a dismal 62.7% of their attempts from the charity stripe this season.

 

Just another Day at the Office
Duke opened their quest to win the national championship by trouncing #16 seed Robert Morris 85-56 on Friday. The Blue Devils covered as a large 23.0 point favorite, and the contest barely stayed under the total of 143.5. Duke has now gone under the number in the last three, and five of their previous six games. The win was their thirteenth in the last fourteen games, and their only loss in that sequence came in the ACC Tournament Final versus Notre Dame. In their win on Friday, Duke shot a blistering hot 63% from the field, and they’ve now shot 51% or better in six of their last nine contests. The Blue Devils are an excellent three-point shooting team, converting on 38.9% of their attempts on the season.

 

Final Analysis
Duke is a superb offensive transition team. St. John’s really exposed the Aztecs transition defense on Friday. I look for Duke to push the tempo off missed shots and made baskets. The Blue Devils want to avoid the slower pace that San Diego State prefers. The Aztecs are one of the best half court defensive teams in the country.

At the end of the day, Duke is the more balanced and deeper team. It’s for those reasons that I’m siding with the favorite for one of my NCAA Tournament picks on Sunday.

NCAA Tournament Picks: Play on Duke -9 at Pinnacle