The Utah Utes the No. 5 seed in the South Region played the No 1 seeded Duke Blue Devils in one of the region’s semifinal games. Both Utah and Duke have won as well as covered the number in their two games in the NCAA Tournament so far.
Something must give however when the two meet in Houston tonight following the first semifinal game between the UCLA Bruins and Gonzaga Bulldogs.
Duke is currently favored by 5.5 points with the point total sitting on 134.5
This is the first time Utah has been in the NCAA Tournament since 2009. The last time the Utes reached the Elite 8 was in 1998.
Duke a perennial powerhouse has reached the Elite 8 just twice over the past 10 years – 2010, 2013 – and losing here would be a huge disappointment for the Blue Devils. Duke is 6-1 against the number in its past 7 games played. The UNDER has cashed in each of the past four games played by Duke.
Utah reached the Sweet 16 with wins over Stephen F. Austin by the score of 57-50 and over Georgetown 75-64.
Duke punched its Sweet 16 tickets with wins over Robert Morris by 29 points and over San Diego State by 19 points. Jahlil Okafor their freshman phenom who is averaging 23.5 points per game on 78% shooting leads the Blue Devils. He is one of three starters for Duke who are freshmen along with Tyus Jones and Justise Winslow. All three look very confident on such an important stage.
Duke is averaging 80.4 points per game and is hard to stop when it is at its best. Delon Wright a senior at point guard for Utah will be an important factor in starting Utah’s offense and stopping Duke’s backcourt.
Freshman Jakob Poeltl the Utah center will have the task of stopping Okafor. He must slow Okafor down and must score a few point inside to keep the Duke defense honest.
Utah’s only hope is to control Okafor without getting into major foul trouble.
A huge difference exists between the point spread and the power ratings between these two teams. Many look at this game as a pick ‘em and not as Duke by 5.5 points. Utah’s defense is much better than Duke’s.
Utah could very well win the game outright, let allow cover the 5.5 points on the spread. A moneyline bet on Utah would not be a bad decision by any means.
With Utah’s strong defense, the UNDER could also be a good choice to take. The two plays look to be Utah and the UNDER.