Troy Trojans vs. Duke Blue Devils - East Region, First Round

Troy Trojans

Ross Benjamin

Wednesday, March 15, 2017 4:30 PM GMT

Ross Benjamin breaks down Friday’s NCAA Tourney East Region game between Troy and Duke. Can the sizable underdog Trojans stay with a far more talented Blue Devils squad? Ross happens to think so. Read on why.

  Troy Trojans vs. Duke Blue Devils

East Region, 1st Round 
Friday, March 17 - 2:45 pm E.T

The East Region #2 seed Duke Blue Devils begin their quest for another national championship on Friday when they take on Troy. The game will take place at the Bon Secours Wellness Center in Greenville, South Carolina. Current (3/14) March Madness odds display Duke as a 19.0-point favorite across the board, and the total fluctuates between 153.0 to 154.0.

 

The Men of Troy

The Troy Trojans enter the NCAA Tournament on a 6-games win streak, and they covered on 5 of those occasions. Troy won 4-games during a 5-day period to win the Sun Belt Conference Tournament and subsequently earned a spot in one of the March Madness brackets. The Trojans went on a streak of going over the total in 14 of 16 games earlier this season. However, since that time, they’ve seen 7 of its last 9 games stay under the number. A good reason for some of those lower scoring affairs was due to their substantial improvement defensively. That’s been especially evident throughout this current 6 game win streak. Troy has held 3 of those previous 6 opponents to less than 40% shooting, and all 6 to 44.1% or worse. On a negative note, Troy has played just 1 game this season against a team that’s playing in this year’s NCAA Tournament. They lost 82-77 at USC, but easily covered as a 21.0-point underdog.

 

Duke Riding a Wave of Momentum

Duke finished the regular season by losing 3 of their last 4 games. Nevertheless, if there were any doubts about the Blue Devils being a serious national championship contender, they’ve since been put to rest. Duke won 4 games in 4 days to win the ACC Tournament and covered on each of those occasions. The last 3 of those wins came against Louisville (#2 seed-Midwest), North Carolina (#1 seed-South), and Notre Dame (#5 seed-West).

 

Final Thoughts and Pick

My college basketball experiences have taught me many valuable lessons. One of which pertains to teams in the exact situation that Duke will encounter on Friday. Major conference teams that win 4 games in as many days, and capture their conference tournament championship in doing so, are consequently flat during their opening NCAA Tournament game. Being flat as a sizable favorite doesn’t necessarily imply calling for an outright upset. Nonetheless, those teams have shown a history of producing a poor ATS record when casting into this precise role. I like Troy to stay inside this significant number, and one of my college basketball picks will emulate that prediction.

Free NCAA Basketball Picks: Troy +19.0Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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