NCAA Tournament Picks: Side With Duke +3.5 In Sweet 16 Clash With Oregon

Joe Gavazzi

Thursday, March 24, 2016 1:35 PM GMT

The Blue Devils travel to the West Coast to meet the Ducks in a 10:05 PM ET matchup in Anaheim. Will experience at this level of play make Duke a solid NCAA Tournament pick against Oregon?

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Duke vs. Oregon (-3) 10:05 ET TBS TV
For, Duke is one of the 6 ACC teams who has made it to the Sweet 16.  As defending champion, they have now won 8 consecutive NCAA Tourney games. Unlike the experienced Duke team, veteran HC Altman of Oregon (Creighton) has yet to win a Sweet 16 game.  Coach K., meanwhile, is now coaching in his 23rd Sweet 16 matchup.  

 

Oregon Ducks
After decapitating Holy Cross in the Opener by a score of (91-52) as 23 point favorite, Oregon entered their Sunday matchup with St. Joes on a 9-game winning streak.  That included recent victories as underdog against Arizona, followed by the PAC 12 CCT Title victory over respected Utah by a score of 88-57. There was little to believe that St. Joes would stand in their way.  For, the Hawks were in an over 80% historical letdown spot following consecutive upset victories over VCU for the A-10 CCT Title and a likewise upset in the 1st Round over Cincinnati.  After a taught 1st half, it appeared the Ducks would pull away from the Hawks, when they opened a 10 point lead.  But such was not the case, as Oregon had their own letdown and settled for a 5 point victory as 6 point favorite.  Oregon is clearly a deep and athletic team led by hungry big-game performer, Brooks, backed up by the experience of Cook and precocious freshman, Dorsey.  As an (8.3) 3* fundamental team, it would appear they have a notable edge on Duke, who has a negative rebound margin.   

 

Duke Blue Devils
Following a 1st Round escape (93-85) as -10 against little brother, Uncle Willie, Duke had the good fortune of facing a Yale team, who just pulled a wire-to-wire (79-75) upset over Baylor in Round 1 (1st ever NCAA Tourney win for the Eli).  In a predictable 1st half against a very flat Yale team, Duke bolted to a 27 point lead.  But, the Eli responded at the break, making a game of it before Duke eventually won (74-67) covering by a single digit. Lack of depth, lack of rebounding and eventual foul trouble will burn Duke later in these proceedings.  But against today’s opponent, who will willingly engage in a 94’ game, the experience and coaching of Duke can win the day1.  Plumlee has become far more aggressive as the season has worn on, finally understanding that he must carry the load with Jefferson not returning.  On the perimeter, Duke plays in the open court, as well as everyone in the country with Allen, Ingram, Kennard and Jones, leading an offense that averages 82 PPG and knocks down over 9 triples per game at 39%.  In addition, Duke turns the ball over less than 10 times per game, a key fundamental advantage against the depth and pressure of today’s opponent.

 

Betting Analysis
In the final analysis, in a game that figures to feature huge runs by each team, it will be the experience and coaching of Duke that will do no worse than take this game to the wire and eventually escape with Duke’s 9thconsecutive NCAA Tourney win, moving on in the West Region. I invite you to put the NCAA Tournament odds in your favor and join me in my NCAA Tournament pick on Duke tonight.

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Free NCAA Tournament Pick: Duke +3.5 
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle