(5) Utah Utes vs (1) Duke Blue Devils
I've been patiently waiting for a great spot for Duke during this March Madness tournament and tonight we will look to finish our NCAAB season on a high note! Our NCAAB #Exclusive will not only be the biggest wager I've made this year but also one that I would like to go into depth with you about. Before I go on a tangent of my thoughts on this game I wish all of you the best of luck.
Everyone already knew Duke would be the public chalk game no matter what spread or moneyline odds it would open with. That's the obvious. You know majority of my work has always been against the public but I cant stress how important sometimes it is to go with your gut. If I think the popular favorite is the right side, I will generally go ahead and invest in it.
First off, I'm not even sure how Utah made it this far in the first place? Sure, they have been very impressive during the regular season but narrowly escaping Stephen F Austin and somehow beating Georgetown where Utah was ironicly down by double digits during most of the 1st half but was somehow able to win the game where they went to the line 32 times making 23 of those freethrows. In my opinion, Georgetown seemed to gotten the short end of the stick as they had only 9 freethrow attempts in the entire game! Go figure.
Utah is considerably playing worse on the road. While scoring over 71.3 points a game overall, they have only averaged 62.4 points on 44.9% shooting away from home. If you dig even deeper you will notice when Utah is a 12.5 or less underdog you can see the their points drop to 56.2 points a game.
I can see how some of you can question Duke with some of their recent losses during the Conference tournaments but just simply glance over their whole portfolio and you will notice double digit wins against top seeded teams like Wisconsin (80-70), Louisville (63-52) and Michigan State (81-71)
Duke won't need much to stay motivated, when they are made favorite they perform even better, averaging 81.2 points on 50.5% shooting while only allowing 64.7 points a game. This is more an 9% gain in offense performance. Jahill Okafor will need to make his presence felt early just like he did when Duke raced out to a 15-4 advantage against the Cincinnati Bearcats. Look for him to have an agressive and balanced attack.
While Utah is no slouch on defense by any means, Cincinnati was ranked #3 defensively allowing only 53.9 points a game! Even with their best defensive Forwards/Centers Duke was still able to abuse them in the paint with Okafor and light them up shooting 43% behind the arc. Not only should that game show the huge difference in talent level we have in the NCAAB tournament but also show you Okafor might be playing for a huge contract in the NBA. I'm predicting he will be the #1 draft pick of next year. He is currently averaging 18.1 points a game on 67.7% shooting.
Championships and Money Go Hand to Hand
Deep runs in March are made only with teams that have great guard play. If you check out last year's (2014) winner (Connecticut), you will notice the great guard play between Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright. Duke's has point guard young raw talented Tysus Jones, he's ranks 2nd in the ACC averaging 5.3 assist a game. Shooting guard, Quinn Cook has been the perfect compliment. Both of them average 40% behind the arc and hit close to 89% at the charity stripe.
Don't bet against, Mike Krzyewski. He is the first and probably only Division Men's head coach to ever hit the 1,000-win mark. He has been coaching since 1980 and has taken Duke to 11 Final Four appearances winning 4 of them. Add two Olympic gold medals as head coach of the U.S Olympic Team and I rest my case as the best coach in history.
Lastly, solely just analyze "March Madness" as a business. March Madness generated $1.15 billion in ad revenue last year. With over 10.7 million viewers across CBS, TBS, TNT and TruTV. People/Investors are not spending money on blow out televised games. Wouldn't Duke vs Kentucky would be the most entertaining match up this tournament? With the recent acceptance of sports gambling, news media outlets like Fox1Sports, ESPN has encouraged gambling by informing the public with live betting odds.
Everything just lines up perfectly for Duke this year to make it and potentially winning the Championship. They are not only a #1 seed but they have the #1 pick of next's year draft playing some of his best ball as of late. Utah had a great run and I'm happy to have witnessed a coach take a team that hit rock bottom and turn it to a team that we will talk about for the next couple of years. Due to the tonight's game being a game of this magitude I look for Duke's experience and talent to be too overwhelming during the late stretches of this game for Utah.
Duke 71 Utah 66