The #9 Central Florida Knights (23-7) and the #1 Duke Blue Devils (26-5) both impressed in the first-round, but oddsmakers are still expecting a blowout on Sunday at Colonial Life Arena in second-round NCAA Tournament play. Central Florida opened as sizable 13-point underdogs to Zion Williamson and company. Their upset bid will get underway at 5:15 pm ET.
The underdog Knights don’t have a strong offense. They enter the Duke game averaging 73 points per game, which ranks 173rd in the country. They shoot 44-percent from the field and 36-percent from three (91st). They do have a strong defense, though, very strong. Seven-foot-six center Tacko Fall leads a Knights defense that is currently 23rd in the nation at 64 PPG.
Of course, if this team hopes to upset Duke, it’s going to need more at the offensive end of the floor. They got more in the Round of 64, crushing #8 VCU by a score of 73-58.
B.J. Taylor, who’s scoring a team-best 16 points per game, lead the Knights with 15 points, but it was Fall who proved the real difference maker, with 13 points and 18 rebounds.
Despite having Fall in the post, the Knights don’t crush opponents on the boards. They are currently 154th in the nation, hauling in 33 rebounds a game.
The Knights will be facing a Duke squad that is adept on offense, ranked 18th in offensive rating. That has led to the Blue Devils scoring 84 points a night, 8th in the nation. They connect at an impressive 43-percent from the floor, but just 31-percent from three (337th), and 69-percent from the line (255th).
The key to beating this team is to force them to shoot from the perimeter.
But even if their offense is faltering, the Blue Devils can smother opponents at the other end. They pair their potent offense with a stout defense, which sits 6th in defensive rating and is allowing just 67 points, on average, heading into their tilt with Central Florida. Finding weak points in this team is no easy task.
Duke is led by two stud freshmen, RJ Barrett (23 PPG) and Zion Williamson (22 PPG, 9 RPG).
Williamson’s freak athleticism has helped Duke dominate the glass, generally. As a team, they rank 2nd on the glass, averaging 40 RPG.
The Blue Devils cruised to an easy win in round one, beating North Dakota State 85-62. Barrett and Williamson led the team in scoring, as usual, both pouring in 26 points in the win. They became the first pair of freshman teammates ever to eclipse 25 points in one NCAA Tournament game.
For betting purposes, Duke has covered a majority of its games, going 18-16-1 ATS. But Central Florida has been considerably better, going a solid 19-12-1 ATS.
Find the latest odds, line movement, and score prediction for Central Florida vs Duke in the tables above. Best of luck out there.