Duke Blue Devils vs. North Carolina Tar Heels Preview
Where: Dean Smith Center, Chapel Hill
When: Saturday, March 4, 8:15 PM ET
TV Broadcast: CBS
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Betting on the Duke Blue Devils (25-5, 15-2 ACC)
Calm down, Duke fans. The Blue Devils returned to winning ways with a 75-70 win in Durham over No. 15 Florida State on Feb. 28.
Frank Jackson busted out a sterling performance against the Noles, scoring 22 points with three triples. Jackson is averaging 10.3 PPG but more than doubled his production in that game with Grayson Allen used sparingly. Allen played just 16 minutes off the bench, finishing with just two points on 1-for-3 from the field, as Duke elected to limit his minutes after missing the previous game against Miami with an ankle injury.
Allen could see his usual minutes this Saturday, though, against their fierce rivals in Chapel Hill. Allen torched the Tar Heels for 25 points in an 86-78 win at home back in Feb. 9. Luke Kennard, who leads the team this season with 19.8 PPG, scored 20 against the Tar Heels.
Duke has five players averaging in double-digits scoring, including Jayson Tatum, who’s really turning into dreading offensive player. The freshman is averaging 16.1 PPG, but has upped his production to 17.8 points over the last five outings.
Duke is averaging 80.4 PPG and is ninth in KenPom’s offensive efficiency with 120.2 points per 100 possessions. The Blue Devils are 3-1 ATS in their last four against North Carolina.
Betting on the North Carolina Tar Heels (16-13, 8-9 ACC)
Has anyone seen North Carolina’s offense? The Tar Heels carries one of the most deadly offenses in the nation but they didn’t seem to have it in an embarrassing 53-43 loss to Virginia on Feb. 27.
Granted that it’s up against the Cavaliers’ well-known tight defense, the Tar Heels should’ve done much better than shoot 35.4% from the floor with all the talent they have on the roster. Then again, it’s hard to score a lot of the Tar Heels when they couldn’t even keep consistent possession of the ball. They committed 14 turnovers in that game.
North Carolina will have it easier this time around against the Blue Devils, who aren’t necessarily known for ball pressure. Duke is 235th in the nation in opponents’ turnovers.
Justin Jackson had a field day in the office the first time against Duke this season, as he scored 21 points on 8-for-15 shooting, albeit in a loss. Jackson tops the team this season with 18.4 PPG, while Joel Berry III is right behind him with 14.7.
The Tar Heels are 11th in the nation in scoring, producing 85.0 PPG and leads everyone in rebounding with 44.0 per contest. They were outrebounded by Duke in the first matchup, though, 31-30.
North Carolina (-6) wins and covers.
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