The biggest story in NCAA basketball right now involves yet another tripping incident by Duke All-American guard Grayson Allen. Many have called for Coach Mike Krzyzewski to suspend him, and Coach K has done so. What's it mean going forward?
Generally, NCAA basketball doesn't get a ton of traction in the betting world or in overall interest until after the college football bowl season is over and the conference schedules begin on the hardwood. But the leading story on ESPN's "SportsCenter" on Wednesday night and the hottest topic on sports radio Thursday was Duke's Allen intentionally tripping Elon player Steven Santa Ana late in the first half of Wednesday's Duke win, drew a technical foul for Allen. He then went half-crazy on the bench, like a 5-year-old throwing a tantrum for not getting ice cream (think the movie Kramer vs. Kramer).
Allen was defending Santa Ana when the freshman guard drove to the basket with the ball, spinning off the dribble but getting Allen’s raised right foot caught in the back of his knee. Allen started the second half on the bench and returned to the game with about 16 minutes remaining, finishing the night with three points. Afterward, Allen met with Santa Ana and Elon coach Matt Matheny to apologize before hanging his head and fighting back tears while talking to reporters in the locker room. Big deal.
Tripping happens accidentally all the time in all levels of basketball and is just a normal foul. But purposefully sticking out your leg to drop an opponent is dangerous -- if you do that on the playground, you will get popped in the mouth (or worse depending on where said playground is located). And this is the third time Allen has done it in a game. The other two were last season. The first was a little leg thrust from Allen's back after he tangled with Louisville's Ray Spalding under the basket. The second, a half-kick when no one was looking, was directed at Florida State's Xavier Rathan-Mayes, with whom he'd shared a few pushes.
Coach K didn't suspend Allen for either of those and neither did the ACC, although the conference reprimanded him. But the public outcry after Wednesday -- two ESPN analysts and former Duke All-Americans, Jay Bilas and Jay Williams, both were very critical of their alma mater -- clearly left Krzyzewski no choice as Allen has been suspended indefinitely on Thursday.
Granted, it's easy to despise the best Duke white player as it's practically tradition. That school you either love or hate, and the Blue Devils always seem to have a white player -- and yes, it's racial -- whom opposing fans love to hate. Think Christian Laettner or J.J. Redick. But they are hated because they are so good and so is Duke. And Allen is a great player and likely future first-round NBA draft pick. The junior averaged 21.6 points last season and contemplated going pro. But he came back to win a national title and is averaging 16.0 points this season.
Fans will go crazy if this isn't a long suspension as Duke doesn't even play again until opening ACC play at Virginia Tech on Dec. 31. How will this affect the Blue Devils' NCAA basketball betting? Their opening ACC schedule is easy: at the Hokies, vs. Georgia Tech and vs. Boston College, all unranked teams. But will Coach K keep Allen out for Jan. 10 at No. 21 Florida State or Jan. 14 at No. 10 Louisville?
This shouldn't alter any potential NCAA basketball picks on Duke to win the national title. The Blue Devils remain one of the favorites at SBR Forum's top sportsbooks and probably still win the ACC and get a No. 1 seed for the Big Dance even if Allen is suspended five games (that's what some speculate). They are that talented. But if Allen does this again, then Duke's title chances could take a hit because Allen is likely done playing for the school.