BANKER (Duke vs. Virginia)
Duke has been one of the more impressive teams in the country this season as they have one of the best front courts in nation with Paulo Banchero, Mark Williams, and Theo John. Not many teams have the size or athleticism to control Duke in the paint and I think Virginia is going to struggle with this as well. This is also a great revenge spot for Duke as a few weeks ago, Virginia went into Cameron indoor stadium as nearly 12 point underdogs and took down Duke straight up. Virginia has not been nearly as solid on defense this season as they usually are. Virginia is typically in the top 15-20 in nearly every defensive category due to their pack line defense but this year has been a different story. This season, UVA is currently ranked 81st in overall adjusted defensive efficiency, 142nd in defensive effective field goal percentage, and 219th in defensive 3-point percentage.
Those numbers aren’t very Virginia like and I think they’ll have trouble containing a very explosive and dynamic Duke offense. Duke really doesn’t have a weakness on offense this year as the emergence of Wendell Moore Jr and AJ Griffin have solidified their back court. Trevor Keels is also an incredibly tough matchup due to his ability to get to the rim and draw fouls. Duke’s defense has also been very solid this year as they are currently ranked 22nd in overall adjusted defensive efficiency, 20th in defensive effective field goal percentage, and 20th in defensive 3-point percentage. This UVA team has struggled at times to score and can go on long scoring droughts and don’t see them being able to keep up with Duke in this game, especially in the 1H. Duke should get off to a solid start and go into halftime with at least a 5 point lead. Score Prediction: 35-28 Duke
Wake Forest has been a team that I have written about numerous times this season. They have been an ATS cash cow and have been one of the more consistent teams in the nation this year. Their transfers have elevated their program and they are now one of the better teams in the ACC. In this game, they face a Clemson team who is very inconsistent on offense due to how much they rely on their outside shooting. Clemson get a large majority of their offense from 3-point shooting and think wake forest will be able to limit them in that category which should cause problems for Clemson. Wake Forest has also been great on the road this season and I don’t see them struggling here against a Clemson team who has not done well against the upper echelon of the ACC. Score Prediction: 81-68 Wake Forest
St. John’s is a team who is peaking at the right time. They are playing ex Ellen’s basketball at the moment, largely due to their explosive offense. St. John’s has one of the best players in the country in Julian Champagnie who is a 6’8 combo guard and the definition of a matchup nightmare. He can take smaller guards off the dribble with ease and body then at the rim and he can also drive past bigs using his speed and explosiveness. Creighton has been very hot and cold this season and when they have struggled, it has mainly been due to their inconsistent offense. Creighton lacks a true number one scorer and usually gets the job done by committee as Ryan Hawkins and Alex O’Connell are their 2 main scoring threats. Creighton has also struggled on the road against much worse competition than St Johns and think they will struggle on the road here tonight. Score Prediction: 78-70 St Johns