Monday, November 28

Blue devils in a loss?

Duke odds vs. Louisville

“Some men are not looking for anything logical, like money. They cannot be bought, intimidated, reasoned with, or negotiated. Some men just want to watch the world burn.” If you recognize that quote, we can be friends.

What you don’t realize is that the Alfred Pennyworth quote in The dark knight it was actually about Duke basketball of late.

As if the conference weren’t already in shambles, its leading light of relevance, Duke, seems more exposed than ever. He is coming off a two-point win at home over Clemson, a team that only took one free throw the entire game.

With Duke going in the wrong direction and Louisville completely falling apart, this matchup brings more intrigue than ever with the correct setting in place.

Don’t get me wrong, Duke is still by far the clear favorite to win the ACC in March, but my confidence to do so is slipping.

He’s had one glaring weakness all season, and that was midcourt offense. The Blue Devils’ woes were on full display again as they struggled to score at Clemson, a team ranked 84th in AdjD.

Not only did their offensive problems show, but they also played very lazily to protect the perimeter, a recent trend the Blue Devils have been displaying lately.

Fortunately for Duke, this may be the perfect game to get things right, as Louisville is out of control.

The offense remains one of the best in the nation, ranking 13th in AdjO. He leads the ACC in scoring with 82 points per game, led by freshman phenom Paolo Banchero, who is averaging 17.9 points and 7.9 rebounds while completely dominating the low post.

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We may see Duke lean more into Banchero as he tries to find his offensive identity again, especially if Louisville slows down the game.

With more attention on Banchero, this will open up the perimeter for the Blue Devils to shoot from the perimeter with 50% shooting from 3-point range in their last game.

Goodbye, Chris Mack. After seemingly losing the locker room following a poor start to the season, Louisville and its head coach decided to go their separate ways after speculation for weeks.

The announcement comes after another loss, this one a 64-52 loss on the road to a lowly Virginia squad.

The Cardinals’ problems start with the offense, a unit that ranks 181st in AdjO, according to KenPom. In a loss in their last game, Louisville shot 32.1% from 3 and 37.5% overall.

If the Cardinals want to turn their season around, they’ll need to find scoring help to keep pace with the ACC elites. Louisville is second to last in team scoring in the conference.

The Cardinals rely on the duo of Noah Locke and Malik Williams to score, but there’s a drop after that. Locke is averaging 10.2 while Williams has 10 points and 8.5 rebounds.

Louisville will benefit from more open looks on the perimeter as Duke has been lacking in that department. But there may be little to no hope for the Cardinals, who are the third-worst 3-point team in the ACC.

Duke Vs. louisville

Will Mack’s release inject new energy into the Louisville locker room? I do not think so.

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While Duke has shown more cracks in Blue Devil’s shield, it will present too much of a challenge for a disheartened Louisville team.

Duke has upsides in every category and will be looking to remind everyone why he’s the ACC alpha this year. Louisville just doesn’t have enough scoring options to keep up with Duke’s scoring pace.

Even if he stops and Duke succumbs to midcourt woes, I don’t see Louisville stringing together enough successful offensive possessions to shut him down.

Take the Blue Devils to a loss and look to add live should Louisville start the new regimen.

To choose: Duke -9

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