#19 Louisville (19-4, 8-2) at Duke (17-6, 6-4)
When: Monday, February 8th 2016
Where: Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, NC
Time: 7:00 ET | TV: ESPN
The Duke Blue Devils will look for their third-straight victory after falling out of the top 25 for the first time in nine years when they host the Louisville Cardinals on Monday night. This will also be the Duke’s 1,000 game played at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Blue Devils are 843-156 in those games including 485-61 under coach Mike Krzyzewski. Duke is just 3-4 in their last seven games and those three wins have come against N.C. State (twice) and Georgia Tech, who are a combined 4-17 in ACC play. Krzyzewski returned to the bench on Saturday after missing the previous game at Georgia Tech due to an illness and his team welcomed him back with a season-high 14 three-pointers, including a school freshman-record tying six from Luke Kennard (12.5 points) who scored 26 points off the bench. Leading scorer Grayson Allen (20.9 points, 4.7 assists) led the team with 28 points and has hit 11 of his last 17 three-point attempts and is 14-for-14 from the foul line in the last two games. Brandon Ingram (16.9 points) added 14 points on Saturday and has scored 13 or more in each of his last 16 games. Duke is trying to keep pace in the ACC, but has a brutal stretch coming up starting tonight against the Cardinals. Their next three opponents are Virginia, at North Carolina, and at Louisville.
The Cardinals got some bad news on Friday when the school self-imposed a postseason ban for violations it committed within the men’s basketball program. Louisville took out its frustrations by beating up last-place Boston College 79-47 on Saturday to stay in a first-place tie with North Carolina atop the conference. The Cardinals have been beating up the lower part of the ACC recently and have won six of their last seven. Damion Lee leads the Cardinals in scoring (17.0), but missed Saturday’s game with knee injury and is listed day-to-day. He is questionable for Monday’s game in Durham. Trey Lewis (12.3) picked up the offensive slack in Lee’s absence, going 9-of-9 from the foul line en route to a 16-point performance, while freshman forward Deng Adel, who averages 3.7 points a game, set career highs with 13 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals in 34 minutes. Chinanu Onuaku (10.1 points, 8.8 rebounds) scored eight points to fall just shy of his ninth double-double of the season, but his 13 rebounds were enough for the sophomore center to post his eight double-digit rebounding performance in ACC games.
I have to think Duke is just not that talented this season as they are struggling with the top half of the conference. Louisville has better wins in conference than Duke and I think the 4.5 points is enough. The Cardinals will keep it close throughout.
Pick: Louisville +4.5