Duke is inching toward full strength just in time for one of the toughest tests of its non-conference schedule. The fourth-ranked Blue Devils should have nearly every weapon at their disposal when they take on No. 21 Florida on Tuesday in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden.
Freshmen Jayson Tatum and Marques Bolden made their long-awaited Duke debuts in Saturday’s 94-55 rout of Maine, and Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski says another highly-touted freshman – Harry Giles – is “close” to taking the court. Additionally, Duke rested starters Grayson Allen (toe) and Frank Jackson (foot) against the Black Bears, meaning they should be closer to 100 percent Tuesday. “I’m just excited for everybody to get back,” Duke guard Luke Kennard told reporters. “I’m excited to be a full, healthy team and just step on the pedal and be who we’re going to be during the season.” Duke will need as many weapons as it can find against Florida, who has won two straight following its lone setback – a 77-72 loss to Gonzaga in the AdvoCare Invitational.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
LINE HISTORY: Duke opened as 6.5-point favorites on Monday and by gameday afternoon that number was up to -7.5. The total hit the board at 139.5 and went up a full point to 141.5. Check out the complete line history here.
Florida – F Dontay Bassett (Out For Season, foot).
Duke – G Grayson Allen (Probable, toe), G Frank Jackson (Probable, undisclosed), F Jayson Tatum (Probable, calf), F Sean Obi (Out Indefinitely, knee), F Harry Giles (Out Indefinitely, knee).
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Gators (-13) – Blue Devils (-18.8) + home court (-3) = Duke -8.8
ABOUT FLORIDA (7-1 SU, 4-2 ATS, 2-4 O/U): The Gators have had six different leading scorers in their first eight games, but sophomore guard KeVaughn Allen (12.4 points) has been their most consistent scorer, with guard Canyon Barry (12.1) contributing off the bench. Big men Devin Robinson (11.8 points, 5.6 rebounds) and John Egbunu (9.1, 7.5) have been productive, but the Gators had a tough time with Gonzaga’s powerful frontcourt and could have similar issues against Duke. Florida holds opponents to a respectable 40.5 percent shooting, but it will have to be much better than it has been at the defensive end to stay in the game with the Blue Devils.
ABOUT DUKE (8-1 SU, 4-4 ATS, 1-7 O/U): Even without the highly touted freshmen and with Grayson Allen (17.1 points, 5.3 rebounds) slowed by an injury, the Blue Devils have been impressive thanks to veterans Kennard (19.4, 6.8) and Amile Jefferson (14.7, 9.8). Kennard put up a career-high 35 points on 16 shots against Maine, while Jefferson scored a career-high 20. Tatum had 10 points and eight rebounds in 20 minutes and Bolden added seven and five in 12, showing a glimpse of what they can add when fully incorporated into the rotation.
* Gators are 0-7 ATS in their last 7 games as an underdog.
* Blue Devils are 2-10 ATS in their last 12 neutral site games.
* Over is 5-0 in Gators last 5 games as an underdog.
* Under is 9-1 in Blue Devils last 10 non-conference games.
COVERS CONSENSUS: The favorites from Duke are picking up 67 percent of the early action from Covers users. The Over is getting 70 percent of the totals action. View full consensus data here.