Utah Vs Duke Point Spread & Final Score PredictionJosh Bailey
The top-seeded Duke Blue Devils hope to avoid an upset at the hands of the fifth-seeded Utah Utes when they square off in a South Region Sweet 16 tilt on Friday. Utah advanced to the Sweet 16 after a 75-64 victory over No. 4 seed Georgetown while Duke handily beat SDSU by 19.
This Sweet Sixteen contest will feature one of the best offensive teams (Duke) going up against one of the best defensive teams in the nation (Utah). While the Blue Devils average 80.6 points per game (fourth in the nation), Utah allows just 56.9 points per game and uses tenacious on-ball defense to frustrate their opponents.
A Closer Look At The Utah Utes Vs Duke Blue Devils Point Spread & 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 Will Cover the 4.5-point Spread If
The Utes’ defense bounces back after a sub-par outing vs the Hoyas.
Utah’s defense was spectacular in the first round victory over Stephen F. Austin. The Utes held the Lumberjacks to 33.3% from the field. Stephen F. Austin made 17 out of 51 shots from the field. From behind the three-point line, the Lumberjacks were good on only 5 of 26 shots. That’s 19.2%. Versus Georgetown, Utah’s D was even better.
The Hoyas shot 43% from the field and 36% from three, but Utah held Georgetown’s best player, D’Vau’ntes Smith-Rivera, to only 12 points. More importantly, Smith-Rivera went 0 for 7 from behind the arc. Utah’s defense is going to have to be even better versus Duke. The Blue Devils boast a number of players, including Tyus Jones and Quinn Cook, who can shoot the three and drive to the basket. The Utes are going to have to make sure that none of Duke’s perimeter shooters have great games. If Utah can keep the perimeter shooters under control, they will cover the spread.
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 Will Cover the 4.5-point Spread If
The Blue Devils Keep Their Eye On The Prize.
The Blue Devils have played exceptionally well during the NCAA Tournament. Duke beat Robert Morris 85 to 56. They covered the spread in that matchup. In Round 2, the Blue Devils beat San Diego State 68 to 49. They covered a 9 point spread in that game. What’s more impressive is that Duke shot 52% from the field versus the Aztecs who allowed on average only 38.4% from the field and 53.9 points per game this season.
All systems appear to be on go for the Blue Devils going into this Friday night game. But Duke backers should worry because even though things appear to be perfect, the Blue Devils have shown the inability to maintain focus after big wins. Duke pummeled North Carolina State 77 to 53 in the ACC Tournament before succumbing 64 to 74 to Notre Dame as a -8.5 point favorite. Duke has to maintain focus. If the Blue Devils don’t, Utah will beat Duke straight up in addition to preventing the Blue Devils from covering the spread.
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)