The top-seeded Duke Blue Devils are 4.5-point favorites when they hit the hard-court to take on the fifth-seeded Utah Utes in a doozy of a Sweet 16 tilt this Friday.
The Utes should be feeling comfortable since the Blue Devils are just 3-6 in their past nine trips to the Sweet 16 and have gone 1-5-1 against the spread versus No. 5 seeds since 1996, losing four of the seven games.
A Closer Look At The Utah Utes vs Duke Blue Devils Sweet 16 Odds & Analyzing My Final Score Prediction
Matchup: (5) Utah Utes vs (1) Duke Blue Devils
Date: Mar. 27, 2015
Start Time: 7:37 p.m. ET
Location: Houston, Texas
Stadium: NRG Stadium
TV Info: CBS
Radio: Utah Vs Duke
Point Spread: Blue Devils -4.5
Game Total: 136
Utah Utes Projected Sweet 16 Starting Lineup
- G Delon Wright, 6-5, Sr., 14.7 ppg, 5.3 apg
- G Brandon Taylor, 5-10, Jr., 10.4 ppg, 3.4 apg
- F Jordan Loveridge, 6-6, Jr., 10.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg
- F Chris Reyes, 6-7 So., 4.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg
- F Jakob Poeltl, 7-0, Fr., 8.6 ppg, 6.9 rpg
- Coach: Larry Krystkowiak (fourth season)
Duke Blue Devils Projected Sweet 16 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)
The Utes closed the season going 24-8 straight up, 20-11 against the spread, and beat the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks (57-50) and the Georgetown Hoyas (75-64) while covering the spread in the first two games of this year’s NCAA tourney. Utah is led by senior guard Delon Wright (14.9 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 5.3 APG), and junior guard Brandon Taylor (10.7 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 3.6 APG). The Utes’ offense scores 72.1 points per game (59th), shooting 48.5% from the field (13th) and averaging 14.3 APG (60th). Utah’s defense allows 56.9 PPG (11th) and grab 34.9.9 rebounds per game (141st).
"If you had told me during my recruitment that we’d be going to a Sweet 16, I would have been like, Ha!" said Utes Dallin Bachynski. "I’d have been like, ‘Uh, guys, you’ve won six games, I don’t know about that."
The Blue Devils ended the season with a 29-4 straight up record, 18-14-1 against the spread, and beat the Robert Morris Colonials (85-56), and the San Diego State Aztecs (68-49), covering the spread in both 2015 March Madness games. Led by freshman center Jahlil Okafor (17.7 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 1.4 APG) and senior guard Quinn Cook (15.7 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 2.7 APG), the Blue Devils average 80.6 points per game (4th), shooting 50.2% from the field (3rd) and 15.5 rebounds per game (21st). Duke’s defense allows 65.6 (145th) per game and 37.3 rebounds per game (44th).
"It would mean the world to me," Okafor said about his team getting closes to the title. "I’ve always wanted to win a national title. … That’s what [the freshmen] came to Duke to have an opportunity to win a national title. That is where all of my focus has been this season, and that is what it still is."
The Utes are 36-16-3 ATS in their last 55 games following a SU win, 39-15-3 ATS in their last 57 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600, 42-20-1 ATS in their last 63 games following an ATS win, 31-12-3 ATS in their last 46 games as an underdog, 67-30-3 ATS in their last 100 games overall, and 5-1 ATS in their last 6 neutral site games.
The Blue Devils are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games as a favorite, 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a SU win, 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600, 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games vs. a team with a winning SU record, 4-1 ATS in their last 5 NCAA Tournament games as a favorite, 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games overall and 6-2 ATS in their last 8 neutral site games.