No. 21 Duke vs Notre Dame

No. 21 Duke vs Notre Dame | 2020 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Written by on December 15, 2020

Could powerhouse Duke actually fall out of the Associated Press Top 25 poll next week? The Blue Devils are down to No. 21 in the latest poll and likely will fall out if they lose at unranked Notre Dame in ACC action on Wednesday. Duke should be a short favorite on the NCAAB odds.

How to Bet Duke at Notre Dame NCAA Basketball Odds & TV Info

Last Meeting

The schools met once last season and Duke rolled 94-60 at home. Vernon Carey Jr. scored 21 points and Tre Jones had 19 points – both of those guys are in the NBA now. The Blue Devils led by 10 at halftime but responded by shooting 7 of 14 from 3-point range and 21 of 36 (58.3%) overall in the second half. The Blue Devils outscored Notre Dame 13-0 on the fast break in the first half and 24-7 for the game.

Duke has won six in a row over Notre Dame after losing four of five from 2015 to 2016.

Why Bet on Duke? | 2020 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Duke (2-2) decided to cancel the remainder of its non-conference schedule for COVID-19 reasons. Thus, the Blue Devils haven’t played since an 83-68 home loss to No. 6 Illinois on Dec. 8 and won’t play again after Wednesday until Dec. 29 vs. Pittsburgh.

The Illini jumped to a 14-2 lead and never looked back. Illinois led by 14 at halftime and didn’t let the margin slip below double figures after the break. Matthew Hurt scored 19 points to lead the Blue Devils, who shot 40 percent and made 5 of 22 3-pointers. Freshman guard Jeremy Roach scored a career-high 13 points with seven assists and no turnovers, becoming just the seventh Duke freshman all-time to post a game with seven or more assists and no turnovers. H

Duke has started a season 2-2 for the first time since opening the 1999-2000 with an 2-2 mark. That squad lost its first two, before rattling off 18 consecutive wins. Duke has dropped multiple non-conference games at Cameron Indoor Stadium in the same season for the first time since the 1982-83 campaign.

Following the loss to the Fighting Illini, Krzyzewski questioned the idea of playing college basketball during a pandemic.

In making the announcement of the non-conference cancellations, Krzyzewski said: “This is the best decision we could make as a program, in making sure that we are doing the right thing for our players. “This will also allow our team to have time over the holidays to safely enjoy with their families. These kids need to be with their families, at least for a little bit. So we will play the Notre Dame game on Dec. 16, and then allow our team four or five days at home before returning here to prepare for the remainder of our ACC schedule — and hopefully get to play all of them. These kids go through so much, and we need to take care of them.”

Krzyzewski has been constantly shuffling his lineup during the first four games. He has started eight different players, with Jalen Johnson and Hurt the only constants. Wendell Moore, who started 11 games as a freshman last season, has struggled in Duke’s past three games, scoring just six points on 1-for-19 shooting.

Krzyzewski didn’t have a chance to experiment with different lineups during exhibitions and scrimmages. As a result, the team hasn’t been able to build a chemistry or a rhythm.

Why Bet on Notre Dame? | 2020 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

The Irish (2-2) come off an upset 64-63 win at Kentucky on Saturday. The game was defined by two halves, as the Irish held a 22-point lead at the half (48-26), marking the largest deficit Kentucky had faced in a home game in program history. The hosts mounted a major comeback but the Irish did just enough down the stretch to hold on.

The Irish scored 48 points in the first half on 16-of-27 shooting (59.3 percent) from the floor and 6-of-11 from three-point range while holding Kentucky to 26 points on 11-of-27 shooting, including a mark of 1-for-13 from the three-point line.

Junior Nate Laszewski paced the Irish on offense, scoring a season-high 21 points. Junior Prentiss Hubb was the other Notre Dame player that finished in double figures in the scoring column, posting 18 points in the road win. Hubb has now scored 18 or more points in all four games this season. Hubb is eighth in the country in 3FGM per game at 4.33 and leads all ACC player in that category. It was the Irish’s first-ever win vs. Kentucky in Lexington.

Notre Dame finished second in the NCAA last season in turnovers per game – posting the sixth consecutive season of ranking in the nation’s top-10 for least amount of turnovers in a game. The Irish are also perennially one of the top teams in the country in assist to turnover ratio. The Irish have not averaged over 10.0 turnovers per game since a 10.3 mark in 2013-14 and they are under 10.0 this season as well.

In his 21st season at Notre Dame (the longest tenure of any ND men’s basketball coach), Mike Brey also has the ninth-longest tenure of any Division I head coach. Brey will face three of the coaches with longer tenures than himself this season (Jim Boeheim, Mike Krzyzewski, Tom Izzo). Brey was an assistant at Duke from 1987-95.

Expert Prediction
  • Notre Dame 73, Duke 72
 
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