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NCAA Tournament Picks — Will Duke and Coach K Stop Right Here vs. Texas Tech?

Ncaa Tournament Sweet 16 2022

NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Kicks in High Gear

By Charles Jay

NCAA Tournament is cooking with Crisco at the moment. There are very few teams in college basketball that defend as ferociously as the Texas Tech Red Raiders. And they might be the kind of team the talented but young Duke Blue Devils want to see right now in the NCAA Tournament.

These teams will get together in what promises to be a Pier 6 brawl at the Chase Center in San Francisco. It is scheduled to get underway at 9:39 PM ET and BetAnySports customers can watch it on CBS.

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NCAA Tournament Picks — Here are the numbers…..

It can’t get any closer than a pick’em. And that is what we’ve got:

Texas Tech Red Raiders  – pick
Duke Blue Devils – pick

Over 136.5 Points -105
Under 136.5 Points -115

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NCAA Tournament Picks — The case for Duke

The Blue Devils come off an 85-76 win over Michigan State in which a late run put the game away. The balance was there, with five doubel digit scorers, and the team shot 63% inside the arc. Paolo Banchero, who many thought was the cream of this year’s freshman crop, had 19 points. And Duke was able to play its game.

They have made 56.1% of their two-point attempts. And they are in the top 25 in offensive turnover percentage. This has helped them place fourth in the nation in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency.

Like a lot of programs, they have relied heavily on incoming frosh, and Duke is usually one of a handful of schools who have regularly reeled in blue-chippers. We’re not sure how long that will last into the future, as Mike Krzyzewski is stepping down as head coach. But the Blue Devils have a chance to send him out with a bang.

A big plus for this team is size. Not only do they have Ranchero, but they also have seven-footer Mark Williams coming off the bench to provide effective minutes. Duke is able to defend well without having to commit fouls; only 12% of their opponents’ points are scored on free throws.


NCAA Tournament Picks — The case for Texas Tech

Chris Beard, a rising star in the coaching ranks, left Lubbock for the Texas Longhorns, and the Red Raiders kept things in-house by hiring his assistant Mark Adams, who helped to fine-tune the rugged defensive style this team employs. And Adams has done a terrific job bringing together a bunch of critical newcomers to jell into a unit with this team-oriented defense.

The Raiders are #1 in the entire country in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency. Where does that come from? Well, they force turnovers, allow just 44% shooting from inside the three-point arc, and do a great job in forcing their foes to go outside to shoot.

They held Notre Dame to 32.7% from the field in the last round. Now, we must point out that the Red Raiders are not a bunch of sharpshooters, but they have a number of people who can score, including transfers Kevin Obanor, who was a star for Oral Roberts in their run to the Sweet 16 last year; Davion Warren (from Hampton), who led the Big South in scoring last year, and Bryson Williams, who, as a UTEP big, burned Kansas for 23 points and 13 rebounds a year ago.

NCAA Tournament Picks — And the verdict is…..

One key factor involves the fact that Texas Tech, which closes off the middle, will make Duke shoot threes. Not that the Blue Devils are bad at it, but that limits their options, and in general it’s not what they want to do.

Duke is an extremely young team as well; how will they handle the pressure they’ll get from Texas Tech? Our guess is, not good enough. So we’ll look for the Red Raiders to continue to move forward.


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