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In the East Region second round of the NCAA Tournament, the Tennessee Volunteers and Duke Blue Devils will do battle for a spot in the Sweet Sixteen. Both of these teams have Final Four aspirations in this year’s March Madness tournament. In this Tennessee vs Duke preview, we look at each team’s chances to win this huge second-round matchup and give you our best bets for this game between two Power 5 conference opponents.
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Before this game from the NCAA Tournament on CBS, new customers at DraftKings Sportsbook can take advantage of a 20% deposit bonus worth up to $1,000, which is one of the best values in sports betting today. To take advantage of this offer, bettors can make their first deposit at DraftKings ahead of this Tennessee vs Duke matchup. Those bonus funds can then be used to wager on this matchup, or any other game on the March Madness schedule coming up.
The Tennessee Volunteers won their first game of the NCAA Tournament, but it was anything but easy. The Tennessee March Madness campaign started with a 58-55 win over the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns, who hung with the SEC powerhouse for the vast majority of the night. Here, Tennessee could have its hands full with a much tougher opponent in a Duke team that is fresh off of an ACC championship.
For this year’s Tennessee NCAA Tournament run to continue past Duke, their defense is going to have to continue to play at a high level. The Vols rank second in defensive efficiency at Kenpom, trailing only UCLA in that department this season. They will need every bit of their defensive prowess to shine through if they are going to shut down a Duke team that is playing some of the best basketball in the country going into the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Going into this portion of March Madness on CBS, the Tennessee Volunteers are going to need more out of Santiago Vescovi. Vescovi scored just three points for Tennessee against Louisiana in the first round, which is simply not going to be good enough against Duke. He needs to play like he is the best player on the Volunteers’ roster if they want any shot to win in round two.
Tennessee also needs to cut back on its turnovers after a turnover-prone first round against the Ragin’ Cajuns. Rick Barnes’ team turned the ball over 18 times in the first round of the tournament, which also will not cut it against Duke.
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The Duke March Madness campaign started out with a bang, as they demolished the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles in the 5 vs 12 matchup in this region. Duke got off to a fast start, reaching double figures before Oral Roberts even got on the scoreboard. Here, scoring could be tougher for the Blue Devils, as they face one of the best defensive teams in the country, but Duke will have to like its chances with the way they have played of late.
Before the Duke NCAA Tournament run even got started, Duke had won nine games in a row, adding a 10th straight victory over Oral Roberts. They have become a trendy pick to make the Final Four based on their recent run of form. But they will indeed be tested here against the Volunteers, as they are just three-point favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook going into this marquee matchup on Saturday afternoon.
Perhaps the most important player in this March Madness second-round tilt is Kyle Filipowski of the Duke Blue Devils. Filipowski scored just six points on 2-7 shooting from the field in the first round against Oral Roberts, but that game was out of hand so early that he was not needed to score. Here, he will certainly be needed to put points on the board and will need to deliver early and often for Duke to advance.
Statistically, the one flaw in Duke’s performance on Thursday night was the lack of turnovers they created against Oral Roberts. The Blue Devils forced just nine turnovers in that game and will need to do a better job of separating Tennessee from the ball if they are going to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.
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Going into this NCAA Tournament second-round game, the Duke Blue Devils are favored by three points over the Tennessee Volunteers at DraftKings Sportsbook. The total for the game is set at 129.5, with the contrast in styles that these teams employ making that market particularly interesting for this matchup.
The first of our Tennessee vs Duke predictions is on Tennessee to cover the three-point spread in this contest. Rick Barnes-coached teams are always vulnerable to falling apart in the NCAA Tournament, but the defense of the Volunteers will keep them in a position to win this game in the end. Taking the three points with the Vols is the best play here, even if Duke comes in as the public darling.
The second of our Tennessee vs Duke picks is on the under 129.5, in what should be a low-scoring game by Duke basketball standards. Tennessee is going to do everything that they can to slow the pace of this game down and force Duke out of its comfort zone to keep this one close until the end. That strategy will work, as we should see a game where both teams struggle to hit the 60-point mark on Saturday in Orlando.
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I am a huge sports fan; locally, many know me as the guy who does the PA for our high school football team on Friday nights. Having grown up in Michigan, I am a sports fan of all the Detroit teams, and at the college level, I love Michigan State sports.More info on Caleb Tallman
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