#20 Duke (20-6, 9-4) at #18 Louisville (20-6, 9-4)
When: Saturday, February 20th 2016
Where: KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, KY
Time: 12:00 ET | TV: ESPN
The Duke Blue Devils look to continue their surge up the ACC standings when they visit the Louisville Cardinals on Saturday. Duke sat at 4-4 in conference play – 3.5 games behind North Carolina on January 25th – but have won five in a row that includes wins over Louisville, Virginia, and North Carolina to move within one game of Miami and North Carolina. The shorthanded Blue Devils sustained yet another injury Wednesday – this time to starting guard Matt Jones – yet somehow managed to sneak out of Chapel Hill with a 74-73 win against their bitter rival. Jones sprained his ankle badly and will miss today’s contest with Louisville. Freshman Brandon Ingram (17.3 points, 6.8 points) posted his seventh double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds while adding two blocks against the Tar Heels, allowing him to become the first freshman in school history and second player overall (Shane Battier) to record at least 50 3-point field goals and 40 blocks in a season. Head coach Mike Krzyzewski became the first coach in men’s Division I history to win 20 games in 20 consecutive seasons after Wednesday’s win. The Blue Devils are 15th in the country in scoring (83.1) and are 16-1 when scoring 80 or more this season.
Louisville had lost two in a row including the Duke game, but responded with their best effort of the season in a 72-58 win over Syracuse. The Cardinals outscored the Orange 50-20 in the paint en route to the victory. Syracuse had won eight of nine overall entering the game. Chinanu Onuaku (9.7 points, 8.6 rebounds) led the interior effort with 13 points, a career-high tying 15 boards and four assists, producing his ninth double-double of the season. Trey Lewis (12.3 points) scored 14 points of the bench against Syracuse and now has four-straight double-digit outings. Lewis also needs just 17 points to reach 1,500 for his career, including his time at Penn State and Cleveland State. Louisville’s defense, which ranks 7th in the nation allowing just 60.7 points a game, will be tested against Duke’s offense. The Cardinals are 12-0 when they hold their opponents to less than 60 points. Louisville is tied with Duke in the conference standings, but will play three of their final four games on the road after today.
Duke has very little depth to begin with and the loss of Jones will hurt. Also, they’re coming off a big win against their rival and there’s a little letdown to be expected. Louisville has been banned from the postseason, so games like this are their Tournament. It seems like a lot of points, but I’ll lay it.
Pick: Louisville -6.5