Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Duke Blue Devils Preview
Where: Mohegan Sun Arena — Uncasville, Connecticut
When: Saturday, November 19, 12:30 PM ET
TV Broadcast: ESPN3
Writer’s Pick: Duke Blue Devils (-20)
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Betting on the Penn State Nittany Lions (+20)
Penn State’s shown us some firepower despite playing with a depleted lineup through three games into the season. In that stretch, the team went 2-1, scored at least 81 points in each contest and is collectively shooting 45.8 percent from the field, including 42.1 percent from deep during Tuesday’s victory over Grand Canyon.
What’s truly surreal, though, is that the freshmen have been leading the way for the Lions. Rookies Lamar Stevens (17.7) and Tony Carr (14.7) are both scoring in double-digits, while last season’s top returnees Shep Garner and Payton Banks have poured in 15.0 and 12.7 points, respectively.
However, this weekend’s showdown with No. 1 Duke is where Penn State can measure its real potential. A win for them would be very shocking, especially upon considering how incredibly more talented, deeper and experienced the Blue Devils are. Nonetheless, the Lions have a bunch of promising and fearless youngsters who can make basket at will, which should make this game competitive in the first couple of minutes.
Betting on the Duke Blue Devils (-20)
The first-ranked Blue Devils should still be in a foul mood right now, constantly trying to forget about Frank Mason III’s game-winning jumper that handed them their first loss of the season. But they could be in a fouler mood on Saturday if they lose to Penn State.
That won’t happen, though. Head coach Mike Krzyzewski will get his crew geared up—physically and mentally—to lay down a massive beating upon the inferior Lions. Duke’s leading scorer Grayson Allen (17.7 PPG), who had a terrible outing (12 points on 4-of-15 shooting) versus Kansas, is in line for a big bounce-back game. He’s up against a Penn State defense that’s giving up nearly 80 points per game this season.
Luke Kennard (17.3 PPG) and Frank Jackson (16.7 PPG) are bound to light up the scoreboard as well, especially from the three-point line where the two are shooting 50.0 and 53.8 percent, respectively.
Controlling the boards, however, is an area of concern for Duke, which was outrebounded by the Jayhawks, 38-29, including a 14-6 ratio in the offensive glass. A repeat of this could enable Penn State to stay within striking distance down the stretch.
Duke (-20) wins it, 81-60.
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