Tipoff Time 08:49 pm ET Saturday March 26, 2022
Coach K’s farewell tour continued on Thursday as the Blue Devils managed to outduel the Red Raiders from Texas Tech. Meanwhile, Arkansas had one of the strongest games of the tournament as they knocked off top-seed Gonzaga with relative ease. Duke will likely open as the favorite here based on name brand alone. The one thing that scares me about Arkansas is that their offense is pretty anemic for a team that dominates in their wins. The Razorbacks rely a lot on their defense, as they did against Gonzaga, and will need to again against a top 5 offensive unit from Duke. The Blue Devils have some clear advantages in this game including in most offensive categories, but especially three-point shooting.
If Arkansas can’t defend the arch, I don’t like their chances in this game at all as their offense is not explosive enough to keep up with Duke. The Blue Devils also have an advantage in rebounding, which could prove to be a difference maker, especially after Arkansas was thoroughly out-rebounded by Gonzaga. One last note is that Arkansas played basically a six-man rotation against Gonzaga with four players playing over 30 minutes and three over 37 minutes. On the other hand, Duke utilized its deep bench, distributing minutes to eight players. It might not seem like a lot of difference, but tired legs could make a difference come Saturday. My pick in this game? Laying the points with Duke because I think the Blue Devils offense proves to be too much.
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