Last year, the NCAA basketball betting world was shaken up when the #2 seed Duke Blue Devils lost to the #15 Lehigh Mountain Hawks as 11-point favorites. Now, the Dookies are back as a No. 2 seed once again, and they are going to try to go on a run here in the dance, starting with a clash against the Albany Great Danes.
The Great Danes only went 9-7 in the regular season in America East. Their conference was a lot better than it has been in previous seasons, but the fact that they were able to survive that conference tournament, winning the last game on the road at the Vermont Catamounts was impressive.
This is your prototypical tourney team that scares the wits out of some of the big boys. The talent isn’t there to stack up with the big guns, but Albany hits a high percentage of its three-point shots (36.4%) and plays stingy defense in the full-court press. The Great Danes only allow 60.3 points per game.
Duke is obviously playing with a bit of a chip on its shoulder. G Seth Curry, F Mason Plumlee, F Ryan Kelly, and G Quinn Cook, the top four scorers on this year’s team, all remember what it was like to lose to Lehigh in the first round last year, and they are going to try to avoid that embarrassment again in this one. Plumlee is a significantly better player now than he was at this time last year though, as the big man is averaging a double-double per game at 17.2 points and 10.2 boards per night.
Duke is 6-1 ATS in its last seven neutral site games, but it is just 1-4 ATS in its last five games played here in the dance.
Still, the Blue Devils are lined as 17 ½-point favorites in this Friday afternoon game played at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.