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Date/Time: Wednesday, November 28, 9:30 pm EST
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Point Spread: Duke -5.5
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The ACC/Big Ten Challenge is the main event this week, and there is no bigger game on the schedule than this one. Ohio State travels to Durham to take on the Duke Blue Devils among the Cameron Crazies. It’s number four in the nation against number two. Ohio State blasted Duke by 22 in Columbus last year. Can the Blue Devils get some revenge here or will Ohio State win for a second straight year?
The Ohio State Buckeyes made it to the Final Four last year, but they lost a couple key starters from last year’s team. Without Jared Sullinger and William Buford, the Buckeyes have been fine so far this year, but they haven’t really been tested. That will all change in this one. Ohio State has an absolute scoring machine in Deshaun Thomas. Thomas averages 24.0 points per game this year, and he is shooting 53.1% from the floor. Aaron Craft is one of the best point guards in the nation. Ohio State is putting up 79.8 points per game so far this season.
Ohio State will need a good third scoring option to emerge on the offensive end. LaQuinton Ross and Sam Thompson are both talented young players, but they haven’t hit their stride just yet. Defensively, Ohio State has the best defensive point guard in the land in Craft. They also have some solid defenders in the paint. The Buckeyes will need a big game from Evan Ravenel down low in this one, as he will likely guard Mason Plumlee.
The Duke Blue Devils weren’t in too many people’s preseason top five, but they have the best wins of any team in the country right now. Seth Curry is one of the best pure shooters in the nation, and he helps Duke space the floor and stretch the defense very well. Austin Rivers left the Blue Devils after his freshman year, and it almost seems like the team is better off without him. Rivers was a very good player, but the team didn’t have the ball movement that they have so far this year with him at point guard. This year’s team has great chemistry, and they look very dangerous.
Mason Plumlee leads the team with 19.7 points and 10.0 boards per game. He is shooting an amazing 67 percent from the floor this season. Freshman Rasheed Sulaimon has been great for the Blue Devils so far this year. He is averaging 12 points per game, and he gives the team another very good shooter from outside. If Duke is going to be an elite team this year, their defense will need to get a little better. The Blue Devils defense was a problem all season last year.
Ohio State took it to Duke last year, and I don’t think Duke will forget that one. Look for the Blue Devils to exact some revenge on a talented but untested Buckeyes team. I think Duke covers here.
Duke 78 Ohio State 68
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