Head coach Mike Krzyzewski and his top-seeded Duke Blue Devils dominated their early opponents in the 2015 NCAA Tournament just as they did all season, but now they face the defensive-minded 8th-seeded San Diego State Aztecs, who entered the season with high expectations.
SDSU will be playing a No. 1 seed in the tournament for the second year in a row after losing to the Arizona Wildcats, but covering the spread as 7.5-point underdogs last year. Will the Aztecs use that as a building block to a victory against the 8.5-point favorite Blue Devils or will they be haunted by ghosts of March Madness’ of past.
An In-depth Look At The Duke Blue Devils vs San Diego State Aztecs NCAA Tournament Odds & My ATS Pick
Matchup: (8) San Diego State Aztecs vs (1) Duke Blue Devils
Date: Mar. 22, 2015
Start Time: 2:40 p.m. ET
Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
Stadium: Time Warner Cable Arena
TV Info: CBS
Radio: San Diego State Vs Duke
Point Spread: Blue Devils -8
Game Total: 128.5
Duke Will Cover the 8-point Spread If
Duke’s offense is able to break down San Diego State’s defense.
Duke got it going versus Robert Morris in the second half of their 85 to 56 first round win. The Blue Devils ended up shooting an amazing 63% from the field when hitting 34 out of 54 shots. Duke was good on 10 out of 21 shots from behind the three-point line. They shot 47.6% from three.
— Blue Devil Network (@BlueDevil_NTWRK) March 21, 2015
Duke faces a much different defense on Sunday against San Diego State. While Robert Morris allowed opponent’s to shoot 43% from the field on average, San Diego State allows opponents to shoot 37.7% from the field on average. Teams shoot 30% from behind the arc against the Aztecs’ defense. Duke’s Tyus Jones, who dished 7 assists versus Robert Morris, and Justise Wilson, who also dished 7 assists in the win over Robert Morris, will need to penetrate and then pass to open shooters if Duke hopes to cover versus the Aztecs.
Duke Projected NCAA Tournament Starting Lineup:
- G Tyus Jones, 6-1, Fr., 11.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg
- G Quinn Cook, 6-2, Sr., 15.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg
- G Matt Jones, 6-5, So., 6.1 ppg, 2.4 rpg
- F Justise Winslow, 6-6, Fr., 12.3 ppg, 5.9 rpg
- C Jahlil Okafor, 6-11, Fr., 17.7 ppg, 9.0 rpg
- Coach: Mike Krzyzewski (35th year)
San Diego State Will Cover the 8-point Spread If
The Aztecs can keep down Jahlil Okafor’s touches and win the rebounding war.
Although Duke is loaded with Tyus Jones, Justise Wilson, and Quinn Cook, the Blue Devils’ offense goes through likely Player of the Year Jahlil Okafor. Okafor dominated Robert Morris by scoring 21 points in 21 minutes. It’s impossible to keep Jones, Wilson and Cook at bay if Okafor is effective in the paint.
SDSU MEN'S HOOPS: AZTECS PRESS CONFERENCES (DUKE PREVIEW) – 3/21/15 http://t.co/4cyEM7UL5H
— GoAztecs.com (@GoAztecs) March 22, 2015
San Diego State is not only going to have to keep Okafor’s touches down, but they’re also going to have to find a way to out rebound the Blue Devils. The problem with facing Duke is that Okafor doesn’t have to grab boards. He had only 1 versus Robert Morris and Duke still out rebounded Robert Morris 39 to 25. Justise Wilson grabbed 11 rebounds for Duke. The Aztecs grabbed more boards than a very good rebounding team in St. John’s on Friday night. They often out rebound their opponents. If they can out rebound Duke, which means that they’re playing good enough defense to keep Duke’s shooters from raining threes, San Diego State should cover the spread.
San Diego State Projected NCAA Tournament Starting Lineup:
- G Ageel Quinn, 6-3, Sr., 11.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg
- G Trey Kell, 6-4, Fr., 6.2 ppg, 2.9 rpg
- F Winston Shepard, 6-8, Jr., 11.1 ppg, 5.1 rpg
- F J.J. O’Brien, 6-7, Sr., 9.9 ppg, 5.3 rpg
- F Skylar Spencer, 6-10, Jr., 3.7 ppg, 5.1 rpg
- Coach: Steve Fisher (16th season)