No 6. Duke Blue Devils (9-1) -6 vs. No. 7 Xavier Musketeers +6 (9-0)
Atlantic City, N.J., 2:00PM Eastern, CBS
By Jay Horne of Predictem.com
A number of great college basketball games will take place this weekend with the biggest game featuring two top 10 ranked teams meeting on a neutral court. The no. 6 Duke Blue Devils take on the undefeated and 7th ranked Xavier Musketeers. The game will be a big measuring stick for these two teams. The college basketball is reaching the point in the season right before teams start taking on the grueling long road of conference play. Both the Musketeers and Blue Devils would love to have the best record possible before heading into conference play and also the winner will most likely receive a top 5 ranking in the new polls.
The Blue Devils have been a powerhouse in college basketball and they are once again one of the top teams in the nation. Duke suffered their first loss of the season a little over a week ago when they were upset by the Michigan Wolverines. Statistically in that game Duke played better than the Wolverines, but still come out with an 81-73 loss. Duke bounced back earlier this week defeating UNC-Asheville by 43 points 99-56. The Blue Devils have shot well from the floor this season averaging 48% and are the most talented team in the ACC behind no. 1 ranked North Carolina. The Blue Devils will face off with the most talented team to take the floor against them this season. Duke is only allowing opposing teams to shoot 39.4% from field goal range, but they will take on a tough defensive Xavier team that is loaded with talent.
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Xavier is perfect on the season and they come into the contest fresh off a big win against a strong Big East opponent in Cincinnati. The Musketeers came out of that victory pretty impressively with a final score of 76-66. The Musketeers have had an entire week off and will be well rested heading into the game. Xavier has been very strong defensively on the year. Xavier is only allowing opposing teams to shoot 35.7% from the floor which ranks 10th best in the nation. Xavier is averaging 40 rebounds per game this season and also out rebounding their opponents by an average of nearly 10 rebounds per game. A big key to Xavier success will be getting 2nd chance opportunities as they face the Blue Devils for the first time since 2004 when Duke knocked the Musketeers out of the elite eight.
BetPhoenix Sportsbook has opened the betting lines favoring the No. 6 ranked Duke Blue Devils by 6 points. Odds ATS for each team are holding at -110 while the over/under totals have yet to be released. Many of the experts and handicappers are jumping on the +6 line with the Musketeers since these two teams are so evenly match and this game could very well go down to the wire.
Duke has 4 players this season averaging double digit point totals led by sophomore forward Kyle Singler. Singler has averaged 16.6 points this season along with 7.8 rebounds. Singler has matured a lot this season compared to last and much of the reason is shot selection. Singler is shooting a strong 47% from the floor and hopes to have a big day against the Musketeers. Duke has a fairly young team with a bright future. The Blue Devils could pace themselves to have a good year if they could get a solid victory over Xavier.
Xavier has 3 players averaging over 10 points a game this season led by the play of junior forward Derrick Brown. Brown is averaging 14 points per game this season along with 5.4 rebounds per game. Senior B.J Raymond has been a big support for the Musketeers as well averaging 12.2 points per game along with 5 rebounds. The Musketeers are allowing a few more turnovers compared to the Blue Devils and they will need to hold onto the ball considering Duke is a very disciplined team.
Duke is 2-4 ATS in their last 6 games on the road while going 9-3 SU in their last 12 games on the road. The total has gone on the over side in 7 of the Blue Devils last 9 games. Xavier is 4-4 ATS this season and 2-0 ATS in their last two outings. The Musketeers have gone on the over side in 4 of their last 6 games.
Jays Pick: Watch the betting lines as some are offering as high as 8 point to the Musketeers. I think this one could be a one or two basket type game. Take Xavier +6.