Duke vs. Virginia Expert Pick and Prediction – March 11, 2023
DUKE VS. VIRGINIA EXPERT PICK - MARCH 11, 2023 - Did something change for Duke over the past month, or are the Blue Devils a product of a weak schedule?
That question is still up in the air, even after eight consecutive wins for Duke. The Blue Devils finally beat a team that will definitely make the NCAA tournament in Miami, but they still haven’t beaten anybody decent outside of the state of North Carolina. The win over the Hurricanes is Duke’s best win by a mile, which leaves questions about how legitimate the Blue Devils really are left unanswered.
Virginia has also left a few questions to be answered after its shoddy showing in February.
Since beating Duke at home last month, the Cavaliers haven’t looked quite right. They barely escaped Louisville and Notre Dame, then managed to get beaten by Boston College and North Carolina. But they have now won four straight, including a beatdown of Clemson.
The Cavaliers haven’t won the ACC title since 2018, while Duke made the finals last year and fell to a hot Virginia Tech squad. Whichever team emerges victorious would go a long way toward answering some questions about them before next week’s NCAA tournament begins.
(25-8 SU, 14-19-1 ATS)
(25-6 SU, 12-17-2 ATS)
When: Saturday, March 11th at 8:30 pm EST
Where: Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, N.C.
Public Bets: 60% on Duke
Public Money: 71% on Duke
Duke vs. Virginia In-Season Trends
Duke seems to be playing its best in Greensboro, but that could also be because the Blue Devils weren’t playing great to begin with. The Blue Devils have only recently started to assert themselves, and they still hadn’t been a great bet before this tournament. Duke closed the regular season going 3-5 ATS even as it was going 6-2 SU, and the best team it covered against was North Carolina. Duke has also stepped up the offense in Greensboro, playing both games to the OVER.
Virginia had also been a betting disaster before Greensboro, going 0-5-1 ATS over its final six regular season games. The Cavaliers have looked better in their two games in the ACC tournament, but they’re also dealing with the loss of Ben Vander Plas to a broken hand. They seem to have come together without him, but like Duke, their opposition has been questionable at best.
This game will be won or lost with guard play. When the teams met in Charlottesville, Armaan Franklin and Kihei Clark shot the lights out, going 16-for-23 from the field. They did it without doing a lot of damage from 3-point range, as just four of their baskets came from the perimeter. Duke defends the 3 better than almost anyone, so Virginia’s guards will have to take and make smart two-point shots here.
Duke also needs to count on its guards. Out of the five Blue Devil starters, Tyrese Proctor and Jeremy Roach combined for 13 of 14 baskets. The three taller Duke starters shot a combined 1-for-10 against Virginia. The Cavaliers’ backcourt defense isn’t as strong as in recent years; the Blue Devils must take advantage.
These teams are often so evenly matched that taking the underdog is an excellent strategy. Over the past 28 matchups between Duke and Virginia, the underdog has covered 20 with one push. When the public doesn’t believe in Tony Bennett, that’s when he’s at his best.
There’s also the factor of coaching in an ACC tournament final. Jon Scheyer has played in this game and coached in it as an assistant. But he’s never faced this game as the man in charge. Most coaches struggle with games like this early in their careers, and he’s going up against Bennett, one of the best minds in the game.
To me, that lends itself to taking the points with Virginia.
Under 123.5 Points