Game to be played at Honda Center, Anaheim, CA
Oregon has matched a school record for wins in a season, but anything short of a trip to the Final Four will rate as a disappointment for the top-seeded Ducks, who face No. 4 seed Duke in the NCAA Tournament West Region semifinal Thursday in Anaheim, Calif. The Blue Devils are trying to become the first team to win back-to-back national titles since Florida in 2006 and 2007.
The Ducks’ title hopes have new life, as they trailed by seven with five minutes remaining before rallying to beat No. 8 seed St. Joseph’s 69-64 on Sunday, avoiding becoming the first No. 1 seed to bow out of this year’s tournament. The Blue Devils know the feeling of flirting with disaster – they allowed No. 13 seed UNC Wilmington to hang around for most of their first-round matchup and squandered most of a 23-point halftime lead before holding off 12th-seeded Yale 71-64 on Saturday. “Our house is on a cliff, and we hope it doesn’t rain,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski told reporters. “That’s who we’ve been, and so I really have an appreciation for that.” It’s only the second meeting between the programs with Duke winning the first, 98-71 in Portland in 2010.
TV: 10:07 p.m. ET, TBS
LINE HISTORY: The point spread for this game opened at -1.5 on the side of the no. 1 ranked team in the region. The public felt this number wasn’t high enough and forced the books to move their initial line up to -3. The total opened at 156.5 and has been steady all week. Check out the complete line history here.
WHAT BOOKS SAY: “We opened Oregon as a -2.5 point favorite and all the early action was on the Ducks to cover that number. We are now up to Oregon -3.5 with just over 65 percent of the action on the Ducks to cover. The 156.5 total is seeing a slight edge towards the OVER, with 51 percent of wagers on it.” – Michael Stewart of CarbonGaming.
ABOUT DUKE (25-10, 14-18-2 ATS, 15-19 O/U): The Blue Devils have evolved significantly since losing star big man Amile Jefferson to a broken foot in December. They now rely heavily on their outside shooting, and when they’re hitting from the perimeter it can mask other shortcomings – like a 42-28 deficit on the boards against Yale. Leading scorer Grayson Allen (21.8 points), standout freshman Brandon Ingram (17.1 points, 6.8 rebounds) and junior guard Matt Jones (10.5 points) all can light it up from outside, but the Blue Devils also need 7-footer Marshall Plumlee (8.4 points, 8.7 rebounds) to be effective in the post to pull off the upset.
ABOUT OREGON (30-6, 20-13 ATS, 15-18 O/U): The Ducks are extremely efficient at the offensive end with point guard Casey Benson (5.9 points, 4.7-to-1 assists-to-turnovers) spreading the wealth among a quartet of double-digit scorers. The frontcourt does much of the damage – a potential matchup problem for Duke – with forwards Dillon Brooks (16.8 points, 5.6 rebounds) and Elgin Cook (14.5 points, 5.1 rebounds) leading the way. The Ducks also defend the post well, but their perimeter defense has been suspect at times, which they can’t afford against an excellent 3-point shooting Duke team.
* Duke is 7-1 ATS in its last eight NCAA Tournament games.
* Oregon a 0-4 ATS in their last four versus Atlantic Coast conference opponents.
* Under is 7-1 in Duke’s last eight games following a SU win.
* Over is 4-1 in Ducks last five non-conference games.
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