NCAA Basketball Spread: Off
Duke was stunned by St. John’s last year. St. John’s blitzed Duke 93-78 in what was the team’s most impressive game last year. This year’s St. John’s team is very young and inconsistency has been a major issue for the team. Duke is coming off an important win at Maryland Wednesday night. The Blue Devils salted that game away by hitting 17 out of 18 free throws. Can St. John’s hang with Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium?
St. John’s is a tough team to figure out this year. The Red Storm have lost six of their last eight games overall, but their two wins during that period were over Cincinnati and West Virginia. The win over West Virginia came in their last game on Wednesday evening. Steve Lavin and his coaching staff are hoping that this young team can use that game as a momentum builder moving forward. St. John’s ranks dead last in all of college basketball at shooting it from beyond the three-point line. The Red Storm are converting on just 24.7% of their attempted three-point shots.
Maurice Harkless and D’Angelo Harrison are the team’s leading scorers at 15.8 per game and 15.5 per game. This team is much better when these two are getting to the rim rather than settling for outside jumpers. Defensively, St. John’s plays pretty good half court defense, but they struggle on the defensive boards. Opponents are getting far too many second chance points.
Coach K and the Blue Devils have a very talented young team this year. There is definitely no shortage of shooters on this Duke roster. Seth Curry, Austin Rivers, Ryan Kelly, Andre Dawkins, and Tyler Thornton can all shoot it from beyond the arc. As a team the Devils are shooting 40% from three-point range. Overall, Duke is shooting an impressive 49.2% from the floor this year. Austin Rivers is the team’s leading scorer, but he needs to improve as a distributor if this team is going to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. The Plumlee brothers do a nice job on the glass and in the paint for the Blue Devils.
Defensively, Duke has struggled this year. The Blue Devils are allowing opponents to hit 44% of their shots from the floor so far this season. The team has been beaten down the floor in transition by several opponents. This is the end of the floor where Duke really needs to work hard in the next couple months.
Duke is tough to beat at home, and St. John’s youngsters likely won’t fare well in front of such a raucous crowd.
Prediction: Duke 81 St. John’s 67
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