College Basketball kicks off the new week with just one top 25 game on Monday night, but as usual the schedule makers didn’t disappoint. Duke visits Notre Dame at a sold out Purcell Pavilion for a clash of ACC powerhouses in one of the most anticipated matchup of the season.
A lot has changed for both these teams in the past week. With a loss to North Carolina on their home court for the first time since 1995, their coach recovering from back surgery and Grayson Allen continuing to steal headlines for all the wrong reasons people were quickly beginning to right off the Blue Devils.
After coach Mike Krzyzewski called an emergency meeting at his home to charge some life back into his players it appeared all was lost when they were down 10 on the road at Wake Forest with just four minutes left to play. Enter Luke Kennard. The sophomore dropped 30 of his 34 points in the second half including a clutch three-pointer to seal the win for the Blue Devils at the buzzer, and maybe save Duke’s season.
The Blue Devils enter the Pavilion on Monday night with a little more bounce in their step after that huge victory to take on a Notre Dame team that is suddenly headed in the opposite direction. The Fighting Irish have lost two in a row and three of their last four including one of the worst losses in recent memory against Georgia Tech.
Now with both teams in danger of falling out of the Top 25 with a loss, they need to prove to the rest of the league that they can find some consistency. It’s up to us to find out how to make some money off them while they do it. Let’s get to it!
Led by Luke Kennard and his recent 34 point explosion, Duke averages an impressive 82.95 points a game, almost a full four points higher than Notre Dame who fires along with 79.00 points per game themselves.
Duke gets a lot of its production from second chance opportunities. The Devils average 11.14 offensive rebounds a game which affords them a ton of second point chances. With a field goal percentage sitting at 48.12 the Devils offence is a well-oiled machine when it gets going.
The Fighting Irish can score as well, led by the double-double machine himself Bonzie Colson. Colton is averaging 15.5 points per game to go along with 10.6 rebounds, both of which lead his team. He’s physical on the glass and has a nice touch around the rim for a big-man. Duke will have trouble slowing him down on the glass no matter how well they grab offensive rebounds this season.
Notre Dame is also lights out from the free-throw line. With so many college games lost and won on the line, it’s great to see a team take pride in how they shoot from the charity stripe. The Fighting Irish are averaging 81.46 percent from the line this season, which puts Duke’s 73.37 percent success rate to shame.
Notre Dame loves to shoot the three as well, and if they can use Colson’s rebounding to help them free up shooters the Irish have the capability to bury Duke early on.
Both teams are almost identical on the defensive side of the ball. Buoyed by some weak competition outside of conference play both teams are playing some stifling defense. Duke limits their opponents to 67.76 points a game while Notre Dame is operating an ever so slightly better pace of 67.36
Both teams are strong rebounders that limit their opponent’s second chance opportunities. Duke’s rotational defense help is huge and if the effort and coordination is there then they can stop anyone on any night. Grayson Allen may be known for his antics on the court, but he’s also known for being a dogged defender. He wont back down from anyone on the court and will be a nuisance for the Irish to deal with all night.
Notre Dame’s defense, like the rest of their production, starts and ends with Bonzie Colson. His 1.1 steals and 1.3 blocks per game are a testament to just how active he is on the court. He can bang in the paint and protect the rim or get his long frame into passing lanes to steal would-be assists. If Duke gets complacent with their offense Colson will feast on any possible turnovers.
Bonzie Colson against Luke Kennard. Was it going to be anyone else? Colson has struggled in Notre Dame’s recent losses with Kennard is coming off the best game of his young college career. We’re not sure if Kennard has another 34 point performance in him, especially if Colson has anything to say about it, but we’re excited to find out.
Duke is a brutal 8-12-0 against the spread this season and just 2-3 away from home. This isn’t the same Blue Devils that run through the regular season and rely on excellent coaching to enjoy a deep run in the tournament. Duke is flat-out struggling, and while the win over Wake Forest was huge for their confidence, it did little to improve our perception of their skill.
The Fighting Irish need this win. Notre Dame is continuing to lose after such a strong start to the season, and if they want to play in the tournament and bring some basketball success back to their program they could start with a win against Duke on their home court.
Notre Dame is 10-5-1 against the spread this season and have lost just one game on their home court, With the spread set at +2 for them we love taking the Irish on Monday night.
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