Duke Blue Devils
Time: 9:10 PM (EST)
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The Duke Blue Devils were not the most maligned of the No. 1 seeds back on Selection Sunday but they're the ones still standing heading into the National Championship Game against the #5 Butler Bulldogs. The Blue Devils are 34-5 on the season (23-13-2 against the spread). Not only has Duke surprised as many people by getting to the final four as they did by getting a number one seed, no one can say that their run to the national title hasn't been impressive. Duke has faced Arkansas Pine Bluff, California, Purdue, Baylor and most recently West Virginia and covered the spread in every single game. Not only are they winning the game, but in doing so, are winning by more than the amount of points given by the oddsmakers'. Not only have they looked impressive in the tournament, but with their previously stated record against the spread through the entire season... I am not surprised at all Duke is sitting where they are heading into Monday Night. It hasn't only been the stellar play of the three S's on Duke, (Singler, Smith and Scheyer) but the entire teams defence as a unit against the three pointer.
Coach K has his team playing a stifling perimeter defence which has helped the Blue Devils stay close when their offence isn't clicking. The play of Scheyer, Singler and Smith has lead the team the entire season but at times when the Blue Devils bench has needed to step up, they've done more than expected when called on. Getting past WVU was the hard part (as 77% of readers voted WVU would win), and honestly it could have been your "National Championship" as they were the two best ranked teams left in the final four. But at times, the Blue Devils made the game look easy scoring at will and dominating on the defensive end but WVU was always able to keep it close which should concern Duke fans because Butler can play with any team in the nation. I got thinking though, those 77% of votes could have been cast by opposing fans (any university/college whether playing Duke or not) and skewed the results due to everyones hatred for the Blue Devils. But one thing is certain... the key to stopping Duke will be to put the clamps on the three S's as well as swinging the ball around the arc quicker than the Blue Devils can defend. The other thing that's almost more certain, there will be a lot of happy Duke fans when the clock hits 0:00... as well as even more pissed off Blue Devil haters.
The Butler Bulldogs... WOW! That's all anyone can say now that the Bulldogs are in the Big Dance, even if going into the tournament the Bulldogs had won a nation-high 20 straight games (now at 25). As for this game and the average bettor, don't be concerned that Butler is a pedestrian 13-12 against the spread in their huge winning streak because most of their ATS (against the spread) losses came in Horizon League Conference games when they were seeing heavy chalk as favourites. But no one, and I mean NO ONE ...... (cont.)
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