BANKER (Duke vs. Ohio State)
Duke is coming off of a huge win and now they get an interesting matchup with Ohio state here in the big 10/ACC challenge. Duke has size for days inside with Theo John (Marquette transfer), the shit blocking ability of Mark Williams and the very talented freshman in Paulo Banchero. Banchero might be the number one pick in this year’s NBA draft if he keeps showing out. He’s a legit 6’10 with speed, athleticism, craziness and can score from all levels of the court.
Duke really bothered Gonzaga with their length and athleticism inside and I think that will bother Ohio state here as well. Ohio state is led by EJ Liddell who is an excellent scorer and has played very well to start the season, but Ohio state has the same problem this year that they usually do, they simply don’t defend at an elite level. They allowed 74 points to Niagara in a game earlier this year and while they have played better defensively over the past couple games, I really think Duke is going to expose them with their quickness and athleticism.
Wendell Moore Jr for Duke has really taken a step forward this year and looks like the NBA prospect he was coming out of high school. I think EJ Liddell will get his stats in this matchup, but I don’t see Ohio state being able to keep Keels/Moore out of the paint on dribble drives. Their penetration will open lanes for drop offs to John/Williams/Banchero and will also open up outside shooting lanes. And if guys like Joey baker and Jeremy roach are knocking down outside shots for Duke then I think it will be lights out for Ohio state as those 2 guys have struggled this year and any scoring from them is a bonus anyway. Score prediction: Duke 78-72
Minnesota has started off this season very well as they are 5-0 with solid wins over Princeton and western Kentucky. Minnesota pretty much had a complete overhaul of their roster as they lost Marcus Carr, one of the best scorers in the country, and many others to the transfer portal but they have have retooled nicely this season. They are led by George Washington transfer, Jamison Battle, who is averaging 18ppg on the season so far.
Battle is 6’7 stretch 4 who can shoot the ball from all levels and get to the rim with ease. CofC transfer Payton Willis has also been very important in facilitating the offense and chipping in 17 PPG as well. They face Pitt who is just not the same this year. Pitt struggled to score and has lost to some very bad teams already and I think Minnesota’s suffocating defense will stifle Pitt in this one as well. Score prediction: Minnesota 68-60
College of Charleston is an interring mid major team who is off to a 4-3 start, but their 2 losses have been respectable as they were on the road against North Carolina and Oklahoma state. They also covered the 1H in both those games and actually had a lead into the 2H against UNC before falling late. Charleston wants to get up and down and outscore you and win with their offense and their defense has been coming on nicely as they had a 20-0 2H run against Chattanooga that helped them win on the road outright as 10-point dogs.
They face Tulane at home in a matchup of contrasting styles. Tulane is a team who somewhat struggles on the offensive end and likes to bang down low, slow the game down, and win with their defense. Overall, I think if Charleston can accept the challenge physically, I think they’ll be able to come away with the win. Score prediction: Charleston 77-71