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Duquesne vs. BYU Expert Pick and Prediction – March 21, 2024

Duquesne vs. BYU Expert Pick and Prediction – March 21, 2024 

DUQUESNE VS. BYU EXPERT PICK AND PREDICTION – March 21, 2024 — Could the selection committee have put any less thought into this game? That was voiced around the country when they gifted Duquesne a No. 11 seed after the Dukes’ surprise run to the Atlantic 10 title. Based on the metrics, it seemed the committee simply slotted the Atlantic 10 winner in as the No. 11 seed in the East Regional, regardless of who it was.

The metrics said that the Dukes were more like a No. 13 seed, which is appropriate because the same metrics had BYU on the No. 4 line. The Cougars instead slid to a No. 6, a bit of a low number for a team that acquitted itself well in the Big 12. In fact, the committee’s own list put BYU as a No. 5 seed, but the Cougars dropped to a No. 6 for one reason. Because of its religious affiliation, BYU has long refused to play on Sundays, and every No. 4 seed was assigned to a Friday/Sunday regional. To accommodate the Cougars, BYU had to be assigned to a Thursday/Saturday site, which dropped it to the No. 6 line.

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Regardless of its seed, Duquesne hasn’t seen or beaten a team on BYU’s level all season long, and the Dukes are in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1977. But they do have one key edge in this game: their 3-point defense is excellent. Duquesne ranks second in the nation at defending the deep shot, a key factor given that BYU ranks second in the nation in 3-point attempts.

The other key factor is rebounding, because Duquesne’s presence inside is far from a strength. BYU excels at holding teams to one shot, leading the nation in fewest second-chance conversions. If the Dukes can’t get more than one look at the basket, they’re either going to have to defend the arc perfectly for 40 minutes, or they’ll have a hard time having any success.

The Odds 

Matchup 

Open 

Spread 

Points 

Moneyline 

Duquesne

(24-11 SU, 18-16 ATS) 

O142.5 

+7.5 

O142.5 

+270

BYU

(23-10 SU, 20-13 ATS) 

-7.5 

-7.5 

U142.5 

-340 

Tipoff 

When: Thursday, March 21 at 12:40 p.m. EST 

Where: CHI Health Center, Omaha, Neb. 

TV: truTV

Public Bets: Unavailable 

Public Money: Unavailable

Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of March 17th, 2024

Duquesne vs. BYU In-Season Trends 

Backing Duquesne and the under has been a strong play down the stretch. The Dukes have excelled with their defense, going 9-2 ATS and 9-2 to the under over the past 11 games. Ironically, their supposed easiest game of the Atlantic 10 tournament was the only one that went over, as they conceded 73 points to Saint Louis. Otherwise, the Dukes haven’t allowed more than 65 points since Feb. 23 against Fordham, which marked their most recent defeat.

BYU plays at a faster clip than Duquesne and had covered five in a row before losing to Texas Tech in the Big 12 tournament. The Cougars’ recent defeats have been understandable: they lost to a desperate Kansas State in Manhattan, by five at No. 2 seed Iowa State and to the Red Raiders after playing the day before while Texas Tech was on a bye.

But low-scoring games aren’t part of BYU’s nature; the Cougars have just one game in their past 17 where they’ve scored less than 68 points, and it was at Iowa State. Needless to say, there’s no Iowa State in the Atlantic 10.

The Difference-Makers 

If Duquesne is to have a hope in this game, it must win it on the arc. That means making 3-pointers when they come available and defending the Cougars’ deep shooting. BYU’s biggest weakness on defense is defending the triple, which means Dae Dae Grant and Jimmy Clark III have to be accurate with their shooting. Neither shoots it better than 35%, however, which could become a big problem if they start cold.

The Cougars win on sheer volume rather than accuracy, as none of their deep shooters hit more than 39% from deep. But with Foussenyi Traore and Spencer Johnson earning extra chances, that’s usually not a problem.

Johnson, along with Trevin Knell, Jaxson Robinson and Noah Waterman, will let fly from anywhere that looks good. Duquesne might be able to deny one or two of them a look, but stopping all four is probably too much to ask.

The Pick 

Duquesne’s 3-point defense gives it a chance, but the Dukes haven’t faced a team with this many shooters that can rebound the ball on almost every possession. The committee clearly mailed in this game and overseeded the Dukes, expecting Virginia Commonwealth to come up with a win.

The Dukes are a great story, and Keith Dambrot has done a fine job getting this team back into the NCAA tournament. But they’re in with the big boys now, and the seeding gap’s going to show. The Cougars should take care of business. 

Dan’s Picks 

 BYU -7.5  

 Under 142.5 

 

7 Comments

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