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It may not be college basketball’s most packed slate, but it isn’t too bad for a Monday night! The Duke Blue Devils and Miami Hurricanes go toe-to-toe in a battle with an ACC regular season title still up for grabs. Both teams have a legitimate shot to win it if they finish the conference season strong.
Meanwhile, the Texas Longhorns travel to Allen Fieldhouse to battle the Kansas Jayhawks in another electric Big 12 battle. The Big 12 is by far the most demanding league this season, and every game seems to be a nail-biter until the very end.
Check out our best bets for these two huge matchups below. While the slate, in general, is not incredible, there is still a lot to be excited about with these games!
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It has mostly been a season to forget for the Duke Blue Devils, a team that has been ranked as high as No. 7 in the AP Poll. Now, they are not ranked and are on the outside looking in as far as the ACC regular season title is concerned. The Blue Devils can still secure the title, but it would take a lot, including a win against the Miami Hurricanes on the road, where they have been relatively awful this season.
As a matter of fact, Duke boasts a 2-4 road record this season; it looks like a completely different team at home (12-0) than on the road. Losses to now No. 1 Purdue and an elite Kansas squad on neutral courts are not bad; however, dropping four of the next five road games certainly are bad.
Still, all hope is not lost for Duke. It has had some good wins this season, including against Ohio State, Xavier, Iowa, Miami, and North Carolina. The one consistent piece helping to hold this season together for the Blue Devils is five-star freshman Kyle Filipowski, a likely first-round pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.
Filipowski has showcased impressive skill and fluidity for his size (seven-foot) and leads the Blue Devils in points (15.7) and rebounds (9.3) per game. Jeremy Roach is another critical piece for Duke and one of the only returning players from last year’s Final Four team. Roach brings experience and poise to this team, and is invaluable, despite not shooting well from the floor or behind the arc this season. His recent output has been promising, though.
Overall, Duke’s offense has been less than efficient this season, ranking 44th in KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency metric. A huge contributor to those struggles is the lack of three-point shooting, as it ranks in the bottom-third of the NCAA in three-point percentage (32.6%.)
The Blue Devils have a reasonably solid defense (28th in adjusted defensive efficiency) but nowhere near enough to slow down Miami, a borderline top ten offense in the country. The Hurricanes have four legitimate offensive threats, and it is nearly impossible to game plan for them because of it.
Isaiah Wong, a 6-foot-4 junior guard, is the Hurricanes’ obvious No. 1 option on offense, but Nijel Pack, Jordan Miller, and Norchad Omier all average between 13 to 15 points, too. Good luck to any opponent in figuring out which one of these guys will be hot the night they face Miami.
Dereck Lively II and Tyrese Proctor have started to play better for the Blue Devils; these two are both five-star freshmen who could likely be drafted after this season. After a slow start, these guys have begun to find their rhythm and where their place is on this team. For instance, Lively has been focusing more on rebounding and protecting the rim instead of scoring, which has resulted in a much more effective court presence. Sometimes putting egos to the side is the hardest thing to do as a five-star player, especially when you are a freshman.
The bottom line: Miami is one of the best home teams in the nation (12-0), and Duke is one of the worst road teams (2-4), at least as far as major powerhouse programs go. To add to the challenge for Duke, Dariq Whitehead is questionable due to a lower leg injury; he has missed the last three contests for the Blue Devils.
Additionally, in their last matchup in Cameron Indoor, the Blue Devils barely squeaked by Miami, which is concerning given that they are a significantly better team at home than on the road. I’m sticking with the Hurricanes’ Moneyline here, even though I am beginning to be a bit more bullish on Duke.
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This is the game we will all be watching on Monday night during an otherwise average slate! The Texas Longhorns look to build on two huge wins against No. 7 Kansas State and No. 11 Baylor as they face their next battle in the “gauntlet” that is the Big 12.
Texas is currently in the lead for the Big 12 regular season title (8-2), with Kansas sitting at 6-4 through the first big chunk of the conference season. The Longhorns could extend their narrow lead here with a road win and would be in a terrific position to finish atop the Big 12 as they play four of their next seven games at home.
Meanwhile, Kansas has had a roller coaster of a season and is not the clear-cut No. 1 team in the Big 12 this year, as it has been in so many prior years. The Jayhawks had a three-game losing streak between January 17th and January 23rd, something that they had often eluded under head coach Bill Self.
They bounced back with a road win against a struggling Kentucky squad and a much-needed home win against rival Kansas State; however, they returned to their mid-January form against the Iowa State Cyclones in a 15-point clobbering.
Heading into this game, the Jayhawks rank 11th in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency margin, while Texas is ninth. This will be a very even and exciting matchup, but the real question is, “which team will come out on top?”
Admittedly, I thought the Longhorns would have difficulty putting the Chris Beard situation behind them; however, that has not been the case. Since Texas fired Beard in early January, Texas has gone 7-2, with those two losses coming against No. 2 Tennessee on the road and No. 13 Iowa State on the road. It’s hard to explain how impressive that is, considering the circumstances.
Further, I don’t believe Kansas has wholly shaken its recent dry spell, and offensive concerns were highlighted against Iowa State in its last game. The Jayhawks shot just 38% from the field and 26% from three. While Texas is a better offensive team than a defensive team, I don’t think Kansas will hang a considerable number on the Longhorns.
Kansas should win, but it will be narrow. I like the Longhorns to keep it to a one-possession game by the final horn.
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Andrew has always been an avid sports fan and followed his hoop dreams all the way to college. He’s well-versed in everything betting with multiple years of experience and is qualitatively and quantitatively knowledgeable in sports statistics and analytics.More info on Andrew Norton
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