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Purdue vs Duke Picks – The Blue Devils Are Living Right

Posted by Washington Tucker on 3/23/2010 2:21:09 PM
NCAA Basketball Odds: Duke

Online betting is mysterious on occasion, but there are other times when the calculus becomes unusually clear… just like the Duke Blue Devils’ path to the Elite Eight. Yes, it makes for a lot of good jokes, but all kidding aside, it’s hard to envision a better three-game draw than the one Mike Krzyzewski’s club has received in the first half of the six-game NCAA Tournament. Friday night in Houston, Duke will once again oppose a team that provides an easier matchup than it had a right to expect on Selection Sunday.

Purdue vs Duke betting odds: Duke
  • What: NCAA Basketball Betting
  • When: Friday, March 26th – Approx. 9:57 PM ET
  • Where: Reliant Stadium – Houston, TX
  • Key Stat: Purdue has averaged 61 points per game since losing star wing Robbie Hummel to a season-ending injury on Feb. 24 at Minnesota.

The Purdue-Duke Storyline

If sportsbook odds were set on Selection Sunday for the region in which Duke would be placed, the West Region would have received the most action. Most college basketball experts had Duke pegged as the No. 1 seed in the West Region, meaning that the Blue Devils were viewed as the worst of the four top seeds in the tournament. Syracuse would have been the No. 1 seed in the East Region, but since the East Regional is being contested in the Carrier Dome, the Orange had to be moved to another region.

Most bracketologists had Syracuse in the South Region, the next-best geographical fit for a team that rolled to the Big East regular-season title and won stacks of big games and lost only once on the road. Duke had a fine season and won both the regular-season and tournament titles in the Atlantic Coast Conference, but the ACC – which has only one team (Duke itself) in the Sweet 16 – was not an elite league in 2010. Duke might have deserved a No. 1 seed, but Coach K’s crew deserved the fourth spot on what bracketing gurus call “the one line,” a reference to the S-curve seeding system used by the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee as it puts the tournament field together. Syracuse clearly deserved the third No. 1 seed ahead of Duke. The Orange should have gone South; the Blue Devils deserved to be shipped West.

For some odd reason, that didn’t happen. Sports betting enthusiasts – if they had made side wagers about the regional placement of Duke – would have lost big bucks on Selection Sunday afternoon. Duke stayed in the South Region while Syracuse got the rough treatment of being sent to the West bracket. The decision made no sense whatsoever, but it stood.

As a result of getting a higher placement on “the one line,” Duke has received a draw that ESPN analyst Steve Lavin called “breakfast in bed.” Other commentators have noted that Mickie Krzyzewski – the wife of the legendary Duke coach – must have picked the teams in Duke’s bracket. That’s funny, but then again, it’s no joke. Cal – Duke’s second-round opponent – was tissue-soft, and the Purdue team that will now oppose the Devils in the Sweet 16 is without its best player, star wing Robbie Hummel. The Boilermakers are gutsy, but they’re a weak No. 4 seed with little chance of going all the way to the Final Four. If Purdue can somehow pull out a win in Houston, it would rank as an enormous upset. One wonders if coach Matt Painter’s team can shock the world in the Lone Star State.

Offensive Matchups

Purdue is simply not whole without Hummel. The Boilermakers have won two NCAA Tournament games. They beat a somewhat limited Siena club in round one and then prevailed in a grinder against a Texas A&M team that was viewed to be a not-so-talented overachiever in 2010. However, Purdue lacks consistent shooters with Hummel on the sidelines. Guard E’Twaun Moore isn’t getting free now that defenses are keying on him. Center JaJuan Johnson – who is quicker than Duke big man Brian Zoubek – will have to knock down 17-footers from the top of the key if the Boilers are to have a chance. That’s not a comforting proposition for the underdogs.

Betting Edge: Duke

Defensive Matchups

Purdue defends with wild abandon, particularly senior guard Chris Kramer. The Boilers might not score, but they can stay close if they can hound Jon Scheyer and the rest of Duke’s backcourt. On offense, Purdue will struggle mightily. On defense, it takes a backseat to nobody.

Betting Edge: Even

Injuries

Robbie Hummel of Purdue is out for the season. Enough said.

Betting Edge: Duke

Betting Prediction: Purdue vs Duke Picks

It isn’t very complicated. With Hummel, Purdue would rate as a solid favorite. Without him, the Boilermakers are a considerable underdog. Duke couldn’t have asked for a better Sweet 16 foe, because Purdue’s chances of making a deep run without its best player are so considerably small.

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