Duke NCAA Tournament Odds
Posted by Ryan James
After a slow start, by Duke standards, the Blue Devils have caught fire and quickly earned a reputation as one of the hottest teams in college basketball. Duke opened conference play losing two it its first three games, but they have since won nine of their last 10 and ranked third in ACC standings. Only Syracuse and Virginia have better conference records.
Duke is the No. 5 ranked team in the country with a 21-5 record this season. They have faced five ranked teams this season, three of which were ranked in the top five at the time of play. While upset losses to Notre Dame and Clemson look pretty bad, both those games were played on the road. Duke had an uncharacteristically bad shooting performance against the Irish, and the lingering effect of that loss stuck around for their matchup with Clemson. Needless to say, it was not the start to conference play that coach Krzyzewski wanted to see. The Blue Devils also have a road loss to then No. 2 ranked Syracuse in ACC play, and they came up short on a neutral court against both Kansas and Arizona during the non-conference portion of the schedule..
The Blue Devils have a potential AP Player of the Year and first round draft pick with Jabari Parker. He is averaging 19.2 points per game, but what makes Parker so special is his rebounding ability. The freshman forward is pulling in 8.7 boards per game which leads the team. Parker is one of three Blue Devils players averaging double-digits in scoring this season. In a distant second and third are Rodney Hood and Quinn Cook with 16.2 points per game and 12 points per game, respectively.
The Blue Devils should be a favorite to win the ACC Tournament. Based on what we have seen so far this season, the only real challenge for the Blue Devils will be getting past Syracuse. It took overtime for the Orange to beat the Blue Devils in the first meeting of the season and that game was played at Syracuse. The ACC Tournament will take place at Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina. It will be the first time the tournament has included 15 teams since the conference added Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame this season.
Duke NCAA Tournament Odds: 9/1
Following last year’s 22 point loss to Louisville in the Elite 8, the Blue Devils found themselves listed at 12/1 odds to win the 2014 NCAA Tournament. They have only improved as the season progressed, which has brought those odds down to 9/1. It seems likely Duke will make a deep run in the Big Dance this year since this is one of the most talented rosters the team has seen since the 2010 season when they won the National Championship Game over Butler.
If the Blue Devils are not a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament then I will be completely shocked. I cannot think of the four best teams in college basketball without mentioning Duke. In fact, if the Blue Devils win the rest of their games, including the ACC Tournament, then they will be able to make a strong case for the No. 1 overall team. They have the luxury of hosting Syracuse prior to the end of the season, and a win their would likely flip-flop the two teams ranking.
I think Duke has more value than any other team in the field aside from maybe Kansas. The Jayhawks and Blue Devils are very similar in several ways, so it is probably no coincidence that I think both of them have a legitimate chance to win a National Championship. Kansas actually beat Duke in the second game of the season, but if these teams were to meet in the NCAA Tournament I would probably side with the Blue Devils. Duke has come a long way since the start of the season, while the Jayhawks still have some consistency issues to work out.