March 24, 2009

No. 3 Villanova Wildcats vs. No. 2 Duke Blue Devils

NCAA Tournament Betting Preview
No. 3 Villanova Wildcats (28-7) vs. No. 2 Duke Blue Devils (30-6)
Thursday, 9:57PM Eastern

Betus.com betting preview – Duke -2.5, O/U 148

The most interesting match-up in the sweet sixteen will likely come out of Boston this Thursday when the Duke Blue Devils take center court with the Villanova Wildcats. Duke has been playing well after capturing the ACC Tournament Championship and come into the game after a hard fought victory with Texas 74-69. Villanova got off to a lousy start in the first round against no. 14 seed American. However, the Wildcats responded by dominating the second half and going on to win by 13 points. Villanova backed their 2nd half performance with two halves of impressive play blowing out UCLA by 20 points to earn their trip to the sweet sixteen. The Wildcats and the Blue Devils will square off in what is predicted to be a very physical and hard fought meeting between the ACC and Big East conferences.

Duke has played well on both sides of the ball this season. The Blue Devils averaged 78 points per game which is among the top 25 scoring offenses in the country. Duke also has held opponents to only 65 points per game in the high scoring conference of the ACC. One big reason that Duke has had a lot of success this season lies in the emergence of Gerald Henderson. Through the first 10 games, Henderson was barely averaging double figures with 10.2 points per game. However, as the season has progressed Henderson has really developed into the biggest offensive weapon in the Blue Devils’ roster and has posted 17 points per game now on the season. Forward Kyle Singler has posted similar numbers with 16.5 points per game as these two standouts really influence how well the offense performs. If these two guys do not put up solid numbers, Duke has struggled. The Blue Devils are a smaller sized team, but they are very disciplined. Duke does not turn the ball over much and they play sound defense meaning it will take a very solid effort for anybody to be able to bring them down.

Villanova had a surprisingly strong season in the tough schedule of the Big East. The Wildcats wrapped up the season with a 26-7 record after falling to Louisville one game shy of the Big East Tournament Championship. The Wildcats as a team are very similar to the Blue Devils. Villanova has posted 77 points per game this season while holding opponents to 67 points per game on the defensive side of the ball. The Wildcats are a smaller team like the Blue Devils. However, there are some things Villanova does well that could present some problems for Duke. The Wildcats drive to the basket, set screens, and roll to the ball well. The same type teams that have given the Blue Devils troubles. Leading the Wildcats offense is a pair of standouts. Dante Cunningham leads the team averaging 16.3 points per game this season while Scottie Reynolds has an impressive 15 point average. These two stars will try to lead the number 3 seeded Wildcats into a big victory this Thursday and possibly to take on Pittsburgh in the Elite Eight.

Betting Trends…

Villanova has won 5 of their last 6 games heading into the contest while reaching the over total in 4 of their last 5 games. Duke is only 5-9 ATS in their last 14 games and have reached the over total in all of their last 3 games. The interesting aspect of this game to watch will be how the Villanova guards match-up with the Duke guards. Both teams have had some success from their backcourt, but it could mean a lot more from these players this time around.

Pick – Duke Blue Devils

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