Michigan State (31-6) vs Duke (32-5)
When: Sunday, March 31st, 2019
Where: Capital One Arena,
Time: 5:05 ET | TV: CBS
Opening Odds: Duke -2/147.5
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Two programs that are accustomed to reaching the Final Four will battle in the Elite Eight Sunday in the Nation’s Capital as the top-seeded Duke Blue Devils take on second-seeded Michigan State. Duke is very fortunate to still be playing in this tournament after surviving the last two games, while the Spartans are rolling with confidence right now. The Blue Devils survived two potential winning shots against Central Florida in the second round and Virginia Tech’s attempt to tie in the final second in the next game. Duke’s freshman sensation Zion Williamson scored 23 and added three blocks in the 75-73 victory over Virginia Tech and is averaging 26.8 points in six games since returning from a knee sprain. Duke beat UCF 77-76 and are just 1-6-1 ATS in their last eight games. Michigan State comes in with an eight-game winning streak and has won its three NCAA Tournament games by 11, 20, and 17 points and are being carried by great coaching and senior point guard Cassius Winston. The Spartans took care of Bradley, Minnesota, and LSU and are one win away from their 10th Final Four, while Duke has reached it 16 times. Duke has won each of the last seven meetings including an 88-81 win on November 14th, 2017.
Winston is averaging 18.7 points and seven assists in the tournament, while also getting help from freshmen Aaron Henry and Gabe Brown to beat LSU 80-63 Friday. Henry is scoring just 6.0 per game overall, but busted-out for a career-best 20 points along with six assists against the Tigers, while Brown scored 15 off the bench. Winston averages 18.8 points while shooting 40.2 percent from 3-point range and broke the program record for assists in a single season with 279 (Mateen Cleaves, 274). Second-leading active scorer Nick Ward (13.4) told reporters he expects to play Sunday despite suffering a deep bone bruise on Friday.
Williamson isn’t the only freshman contributing for Duke in this tournament, as forward RJ Barrett recorded 18 points and a career-high 11 assists Friday in the win over the Hokies. Another freshman, Tre Jones, registered season highs of 22 points and five made 3-pointers while handing out eight assists with no turnovers in 40 superb minutes. Freshman swingman Cam Reddish (13.6 points) did not play Friday due to a knee injury and his status for Sunday is up in the air.
Duke’s luck is finally going to run out here against a Tom Izzo-led Michigan State team that just keeps winning big games. Winston is an underrated floor leader that will come up big in this game.
Pick: Michigan State +1.5
Spartans are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 Sunday games.
Spartans are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games.
Spartans are 22-6 ATS in their last 28 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
Spartans are 22-7 ATS in their last 29 games following a straight up win.
Spartans are 25-9 ATS in their last 34 games overall.
Spartans are 13-5 ATS in their last 18 games following a ATS win.
Spartans are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 non-conference games.
Spartans are 37-18-2 ATS in their last 57 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
Blue Devils are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 vs. Big Ten.
Blue Devils are 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS loss.
Blue Devils are 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 neutral site games.
Blue Devils are 1-5-1 ATS in their last 7 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
Blue Devils are 1-6-1 ATS in their last 8 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
Blue Devils are 1-6-1 ATS in their last 8 games overall.
Blue Devils are 1-10 ATS in their last 11 games following a straight up win.
Blue Devils are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 NCAA Tournament games.
Over is 4-0 in Spartans last 4 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
Over is 9-2 in Spartans last 11 vs. Atlantic Coast.
Under is 4-1 in Spartans last 5 overall.
Under is 4-1 in Spartans last 5 Sunday games.
Under is 4-1 in Spartans last 5 neutral site games.
Under is 19-7-1 in Spartans last 27 games following a ATS win.
Under is 27-10-1 in Spartans last 38 games following a straight up win.
Under is 18-7-1 in Spartans last 26 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
Over is 7-3 in Spartans last 10 NCAA Tournament games.
Over is 4-0 in Blue Devils last 4 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
Under is 7-1-1 in Blue Devils last 9 non-conference games.
Over is 5-1 in Blue Devils last 6 NCAA Tournament games.
Under is 21-8-2 in Blue Devils last 31 games following a straight up win.
Over is 5-2 in Blue Devils last 7 Sunday games.
Over is 7-3 in Blue Devils last 10 vs. Big Ten.
Under is 33-16-2 in Blue Devils last 51 overall.
Over is 4-0 in the last 4 meetings.
Spartans are 1-4 ATS in the last 5 meetings.