Duke Louisville Hoops Pick

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Duke

vs.

Louisville

College Basketball

Pick

1/17/15

Despite what has happened over the past week, this is still going to be a great Game, or we can at least hope it will be. In possibly the biggest news in all of college basketball, the Blue Devils have lost two straight Games, something Coach K does not do often. Be sure to check in with 5 dimes sportsbook for the current line on Game day.

Duke has last two straight Games for the first time in six years and both of them have come by at least 12 points. Their most recent one was surprisingly at home against Miami (FL) in which they were destroyed in the second half, allowing 56 points to the Hurricanes. Before that, they lost at NC State, a team that has losses to Purdue and Wofford.

From the No. 2 team in the AP Polls, to possibly three straight losses after this Game, what is going on with this team? Their defense has suddenly disappeared and their offense has not been nearly as good as previously in the season. That will bring about losses. They have talent, no doubt, but inexperience is getting to some of their better players.

On the other side for this Game is the No. 6 team in the country, Louisville. They already recovered after a tough loss at North Carolina last weekend, losing at the end 72-71. The Cardinals are 15-2, but this is not the same level of team as seen in previous years. While they are good, reaching the national championship for this team would be a surprise. They currently only have one win over a Top 25 team (Ohio State) so take that record for what it’s worth.

Duke is probably the more skilled team, but with how they are playing, there’s no telling what team will show up on the cOurt. Louisville will use its normal full-cOurt pressure that could give the Duke guards some fits, but for the most part PG Tyus Jones can handle the ball well. Louisville has one man that can turn the tides in this Game and that’s Montrezl Harrell, who is averaging close to a double-double this season.

Harrell has been a complete beast, but in Louisville’s two losses, he has struggled, failing to put up double-digit points or rebounds in both Games. He’ll have to deal with guys like Jahlil Okafor and Amile Jefferson in the paint all night so things will be far from easy.

The defense of Mangok Mathiang will be vital for the Cardinals as well, as he’ll likely have to defend Okafor. Okafor is averaging more points and rebounds than Harrell if that says anything about how the freshman is playing this year.

At the guard spot for Louisville, Terry Rozier and Chris Jones have been a big reason for their success as they’ve stepped up in the scoring Game where Russ Smith left a void. Rozier is scoring 17.4 points per Game, up from 7.0 a year ago. On the other end, Quinn Cook and the previously mentioned Tyus Jones run the backcOurt.

A matchup at the 3-spot between Justise Winslow and Wayne Blackshear will be fun to watch. Winslow has been great as a freshman, but has struggled in their losses shooting 4-of-19 from the field. Matching up with Blackshear won’t be any easier.

Is it possible Duke loses three straight Games and still gets a No. 1 seed by season’s end? Sure. But they’ll have to figure things out quickly as the ACC is loaded with top teams now that Louisville is in the mix. A win here for the Cardinals would be real nice for their midseason resume.

We have this Game a toss up and will take any points available with the underdog.

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