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Purdue vs. Duke

3/26/10



Coach K and the Duke Blue Devils have advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. Who would’ve thought? If history is any indication of future success this was quite an obvious pick. The Blue Devils have made it this far in the NCAA Tournament 11 times in the past 13 years. In that same span of time they have advanced to the Elite Eight just 4 times. They will have dispose of the Purdue Boilermakers if they will make it to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2004. Purdue has surprised most college basketball fans by making it this far after the injury of Robbie Hummel. They have played well in his absence. This will be a fun game to watch and wager on!

The Duke Blue Devils looked good prior to entering the Big Dance. They won the ACC Tournament for what feels like the millionth time. They dispatched Virginia, Miami, and Georgia Tech while doing so. The Blue Devils had a strong regular season. They crushed Gonzaga, Clemson, and split a pair of games with Maryland. Senior Jon Scheyer has been a big part of their success. He picks up 18.1 PPG, 3.5 RPG, and 4.9 APG. Juniors Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith are also pivotal. They combine for 34.9 PPG. Singler gets 7.0 RPG. Freshman C Brian Zoubek picks up 5.6 PPG and 7.4 APG. He is will be a key part of the Blue Devils success in the coming years.

Duke couldn’t have looked any better in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. They blew overmatched Arkansas Pine-Bluff out of the water 73-44. Singler had 22 points. Duke displayed their strong defense by holding APB to 32.1% shooting. Duke played Pacific 10 regular season champ California in the second round. They won 68-53. Zoubek was a perfect 6 for 6 for 14 points. He also had 13 rebounds. Nolan Smith steadied the Blue Devils with 20 points on 9 of 18 shooting. Duke was poor from the free throw line connecting on just 11 of 17 attempts. Those shots can be the difference between winning and losing a close game.

Nobody expected to see Purdue in the Sweet Sixteen after they got crushed by Minnesota in the Big 10 Tournament. They have regrouped and played excellent basketball since that embarrassing defeat. After trailing at half time against MAAC regular season champ Siena, the Boilermakers rallied for a 72-64 win. JaJuan Johnson played a great game. He scored 23 points on 8 of 16 shooting and sank 7 of 11 free throws. He also had 3 blocks. Free throw shooting was poor at 13 of 19.

Purdue again found themselves trailing at the half against Texas Tech in the second round. They again were able to rally to score a 63-61 win in overtime. Chris Kramer played a great game putting up 17 points and grabbing 7 rebounds while coming up with 3 steals. DJ Byrd looked good with limited playing time. He scored 10 points on 4 of 5 shooting. Purdue was able to come up with 12 steals as a team. Little things like steals and blocks can help them beat a team like Duke.

The Duke Blue Devils are a solid 8 point favorite to win this game, and for good reason. They have 4 solid players in Scheyer, Smith, Singler, and Zoubek. Coach K is among the best in the history of basketball. They have crushed nearly all opposition this year. Purdue is hardly without a prayer this year. They have been a staple of the top 10 all year long and so far have proved they can succeed without Robbie Hummel. This will be the true test of their ability to do that. We like their chances.

The feeling here is that it's a 3 horse race and likely was all along. Syracuse, Kentucky and Duke are all in a class by themselves. Won or lose, those are the 3 best teams in the country. These tournaments are never without crushing unexpected upsets. We have Duke winning this one by 6, so we'll make a weak call here on the Boilermakers to stay within the number, but no upset here. Purdue +8

Predicted Score Duke 70 Purdue 64
 

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