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Basketball Picks: Duke, Kansas Clash in Elite 8 Round of NCAA Tournament

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If you are looking for free basketball picks, you’ve come to the right place.  Oskeim Sports provides sports bettors with quality basketball picks throughout the hoops season.  One of Oskeim’s basketball picks for Sunday involves the Elite 8 Round game between Duke and Kansas.

Duke is a profitable 11-4 ATS in its last fifteen neutral site games, 10-4 ATS in its last fourteen NCAA Tournament affairs, 8-3 ATS in its last eleven games versus .601 or greater opposition and 8-3 ATS in its previous eleven clashes with Big 12 Conference foes.

Both teams enter the game with potent offenses: Duke is averaging 84.4 points per game on 49.4 percent shooting from the field and 37.7 percent from beyond the arc, while Kansas is averaging 81.4 points per game on 49.5 percent shooting from the floor and 40.5 percent from three-point territory.

  • Duke is 5th in points per game; Kansas is 23rd
  • Duke is 5th in average scoring margin (+15.2); Kansas is 16th (+10.4)

One of the most significant advantages in this game is Duke’s ability to rebound. In fact, the Blue Devils are ranked 5th in the nation in offensive rebounds per game (12.0), 1st in offensive rebound percentage (38.0) and 12th in defensive rebounds per game (26.9).

In contrast, Kansas sits 189th in offensive rebounds per game (8.4), 141st in offensive rebound percentage (27.6) and 281st in defensive rebound percentage (70.8).

  • Duke is 4th in total rebounds per game (41.3); Kansas is 155th (35.4)
  • Duke is 51st in opponent’s total rebounds per game; Kansas is 195th (35.3)

To say that Duke will dominate the glass in this game would be a gross understatement. Second-chance opportunities become even more important in the NCAA Tournament where every possession counts. The Blue Devils will feast on the offensive glass against Kansas, which is likely going to be the deciding factor in this Elite 8 Round matchup.

Due to the Blue Devils’ ownership of the boards, Kansas can ill-afford to have Udoka Azubuike get in foul trouble. If the big man gets in early foul trouble, Duke’s dominance on the glass will grow exponentially.

Head coach Mike Krzyzewski has transformed Duke into a predominantly zone defense. In fact, the Blue Devils spent more time playing zone defense during the regular season than most of the NCAA Tournament participants.

According to Synergy Sports Technology, Krzyzewski made the switch to the zone on February 11 against Georgia Tech. Since that victory, the Blue Devils have played zone 82 percent of the time, compared to 25 percent in the three games that preceded it (two of which were losses).

Kansas lives and dies by the three-pointer, which is why the Jayhawks are ranked 276th in the country in drawing personal fouls per game (16.9) and 291st in opponent’s personal fouls per play (21.1 percent).

Duke’s 2-3 zone does an excellent job in extending to the three-point line, ranking 20th nationally in 3-point percentage (31.9). Let’s also note that the Blue Devils’ defense is 10th in opponent’s effective field goal percentage (46.2), 13th in opponent’s shooting percentage (40.4) and 6th in opponent’s shooting efficiency (0.986).

The challenge for Duke is containing Devonte’ Graham and the surging Malik Newman, who is 23-of-39 from beyond the arc over his last six games.

In two games against Baylor’s zone defense during the regular season, the Jayhawks averaged just 1.00 points per possession so there is evidence suggesting that Duke’s defense scheme will pose problems for Bil Self’s sharpshooters.

The betting public likes the idea of getting Kansas plus the points in this game, which makes sense in that the Jayhawks are 6-3 ATS as underdogs in the NCAA Tournament since 1996. Over the last 20 years, Kansas has been a rare No. 1-seed underdog twice, winning and covering the spread in both contests.

However, the fact that the majority of the bets are favoring the Jayhawks is a bad omen for Bill Self’s squad. Since 2005, NCAA Tournament underdogs attracting at least 50.1 percent of the point spread wagers are a money-burning 100-125-5 ATS.  Lay the points with Duke as one of Oskeim Sports’ basketball picks for Sunday, March 25.

Oskeim Sports’ Basketball Picks for Sunday, March 25:

  • Duke (-3) (-105) over Kansas
  • Texas Tech (+6.5) (-105) over Villanova