3 Reasons Why to Bet on Duke to win the College Basketball Title
Duke opened the 2016-17 college basketball season as the betting favorite on college basketball odds to win the national championship and the No. 1 team in both polls. Well, the Blue Devils aren’t No. 1 any longer after a loss last week to Kansas as they fell to No. 5 this week. That said, Duke is still the favorite for the title. Here are three reasons why Duke can win it.
3 Reason Why to Bet on Duke to win the College Basketball Title
— Duke Basketball (@DukeMBB) November 21, 2016
Duke Will Only Get Better
Coach Mike Krzyzewski welcomed arguably his best-ever recruiting class to Durham — it’s just we haven’t seen some of those highly-touted freshman yet due to injuries. The team’s starting lineup was set entering the season: Grayson Allen, Matt Jones, Jayson Tatum, Amile Jefferson and Marques Bolden.
Kennard and combo guard Frank Jackson, a top-25 recruit, would fight for minutes coming off the bench. Then Tatum suffered a foot injury in late October, and Bolden was shut down due to a foot injury of his own. Another freshman big man, top-ranked Harry Giles, already was dealing with a knee injury.
National Player of the Year candidate Allen also dealing with foot injuries and showing little sign of the aggressiveness that has been his trademark. Duke may have been the preseason No. 1 even without Allen. He was a projected first-round pick after breakout sophomore season that saw him finish second in the ACC in scoring and be named as a third-team All-American. When you put it all together, Duke should have a nine-man rotation with eight McDonald’s All-Americans and six five-star recruits. Once Duke gets everyone healthy, this is the most talented club in the nation. “When we’re healthy we’re going to have a lot of good players,” Krzyzewski said on Sunday. “Right now, we have a lot fewer.”
Other Guys Are Stepping Up
No player on Duke has benefitted more from the injuries than Luke Kennard. With Allen slowed by a toe injury, Kennard went for 24 points on 8-of- 11 shooting from the field and 4-of- 5 shooting from three on Sunday’s win over No. 21 Rhode Island on Sunday in the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame tip-off.
Kennard is now the team’s leading scorer at 18.2 points per game. Over the course of five games, Kennard has gone from a rotation piece to Coach K’s most indispensable player. He’s making 52 percent of threes and posting a 69.4 percent true shooting percentage while playing 90 percent of the available minutes. Kennard’s expanded role will only make Duke more intimidating when or if the Blue Devils reach full strength.
They Have Coach K!
I suppose you have to say John Wooden is the greatest coach in NCAA basketball history, but Krzyzewski is right there at No. 2. The Blue Devils moved to 4-1 on the season with Sunday’s result, marking the 32nd time under Krzyzewski and the 74th time in program history the Blue Devils began a season with four-or- more wins through the first five games. Duke has also won four of its first five games for the 17th straight season. The result moved Krzyzewski’s all-time record to 1,047-322 and his record at Duke to 974-263. The Blue Devils are 190-52 when facing a non-conference opponent at a neutral site under Krzyzewski. Duke is next in action at home vs. William & Mary on Wednesday.