Fresh off of an impressive win at Virginia over the weekend, the Duke Blue Devils will try to stay hot when they travel to take on the Louisville Cardinals on Tuesday night. Duke remains in a tie atop the ACC standings, and Louisville is in danger of falling well off the pace with a loss. This is the only meeting between the ACC powers this season, but Louisville does have a history of pulling off some huge upsets.
Louisville has lost two of their last three games, and the schedule doesn’t get any easier for them. The Cardinals have fallen to 8-3 in conference play, but still boast an overall record of 17-7. Louisville is the 16th ranked team in the latest Associated Press poll. Duke remained at number two after an impressive win over Virginia on Saturday evening. The Blue Devils remain in a first-place tie atop the ACC with a conference record of 9-1. Duke is a 6.5 point favorite over Louisville in this game.
Duke is Starting to Make Shots
Duke has always been an absolute matchup nightmare for their opponents, but now they are starting to make shots as well. The Blue Devils are shooting just 32 percent from the three-point line this season but made 13 of their 21 attempts against Virginia on Saturday. Duke already has so many weapons on offense that adding the three-point element will make them virtually unstoppable. Louisville is a solid defensive team, but they are going to have to be exceptional to find a way to slow down Duke.
Zion Williamson gets all of the hype and publicity, but RJ Barrett does all of his talking with his play. Barrett leads the Duke team with 23.1 points per game, and will likely be the second overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Williamson is shooting better than 68 percent from the field and has poured in 21.8 points per game so far this season. Fellow freshman guard Cam Reddish has shown some signs of having a breakout game, and that’s the next big step that Duke is waiting for. The Blue Devils can put up points in a hurry, but can also defend at a high level. This terrific class of freshmen doesn’t play like this is their first season of college basketball.
Louisville Needs More Scoring Threats
The Louisville Cardinals have a ton of terrific athletes, but they need more guys who can step up and score for them. Louisville has just three players averaging double-figures on the season, and it has cost them a few games in conference play. The Cardinals are averaging close to 79 points per game this season, but they will likely need to score in the mid-’80s to keep up with Duke in this game. Look for Louisville to try and use their solid defense to lead to some easy scores, but that’s easier said than done against a solid Duke squad.
Sophomore forward Jordan Nwora has burst onto the scene this season and looks like a future star in college basketball. Nwora leads the team with 17.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per game and has the ability to take over on offense. Dwayne Sutton and Christen Cunningham are the only other Louisville players in double figures, and they have combined for just over 22 points per game this season. The Cardinals do have the ability to make some shots from the perimeter, and they are going to need all of them to keep this game close.
Blue Devils Continue to Roll
There is no doubt that Louisville is a team that can make some noise in the NCAA Tournament, but they are playing the best team in the country in this game. The Cardinals just don’t have enough scoring to keep this game close even though the game is being played on their home floor. The young Duke freshmen just continue to get better and better, and they will roll to another win on Tuesday night. Bet the Duke Blue Devils -6.5 over the Louisville Cardinals.