- No. 2 seed Duke is a 4.5-point favorite over Arkansas in the NCAA West Region finals Saturday
- No. 4 seed Arkansas is 9-2 in its last 11 games, 6-4-1 ATS
- Read below for analysis and a betting prediction
No. 2 seed Duke (31-6, 19-16-2 ATS) is a 4.5-point favorite over Arkansas in the NCAA West Region finals Saturday at 5:49 pm ET at the Chase Center in San Francisco on CBS. The Blue Devils are 5-2 straight up and 2-5 ATS in their last seven and are 6-9 ATS since a 20-point win at North Carolina on February 5.
No. 4 seed Arkansas (28-8, 21-15 ATS) in the March Madness bracket is making its second straight Elite Eight appearance. The Razorbacks’ victory over Gonzaga on Thursday was their first over an NCAA Tournament No. 1 seed in 11 matchups.
Arkansas vs Duke Odds
|Arkansas Razorbacks||+165||+4.5 (-110)||Over 147.5 (-110)|
|Duke Blue Devils||-200||-4.5 (-110)||Under 147.5 (-110)|
Odds from FanDuel on March 24
No. 2 East seed Duke is a 4.5-point favorite over Arkansas in the NCAA West Region finals with the total at 147.5, in line with what the Blue Devils have seen in their first two NCAA games. Duke is -200 in the college basketball odds, meaning the Blue Devils have a 66.7% implied win probability. The Razorbacks are +165 on the moneyline, which translates into a 37.7% implied win probability.
Duke (+400) and Houston are the second choices in odds to win the NCAA Tournament. Arkansas is +1000.
Roach, Zone Push Devils Forward
Duke’s Jeremy Roach replaced Trevor Keels in the starting lineup for the NCAA Tournament for a simple season — he is the only true point guard in the Duke rotation, and point guard play here is paramount.
Roach had 15 points and five assists in the 78-73 victory over Texas Tech, six of those points coming in a late 9-2 run as the Blue Devils took their largest lead. His jumper from the foul line made it 73-68 with 1:30 remaining, and the Red Raiders never had the ball with a chance to lead again.
That run came after Duke abandoned its man-to-man defense for a 2-3 zone with 14:30 remaining while trailing 46-42. Texas Tech missed its next three shots and the Blue Devils went on a 7-1 run to take their first lead of the half. The Blue Devils used that momentum to shoot 71 percent in the second half and make their last eight field-goal attempts.
Jeremy Roach lost his starting spot in mid February. He gained it back for Duke's first NCAA Tournament game.
The man didn't win this many games by not knowing how to push the right buttons.
— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) March 25, 2022
One-and-done 6’10 freshman Paolo Banchero was the go-to guy with 22 points, four rebounds, four assists, three steals and three 3-pointers. Banchero will be a tough cover for Arkansas’ 6’10 sophomore Jaylin Williams, although both are comfortable on the perimeter.
Roach, a 6’1 sophomore, has 42 points and 13 assists in three tournament games. On Thursday, Duke trailed Michigan State by five with five minutes remaining before an 85-76 victory in the second round.
Arkansas Brings the D
Razorbacks’ coach Eric Musselman does not get enough credit in general, but especially for designing and implementing a defensive game plan.
The Razorbacks slowed Gonzaga to a relative crawl in their 74-68 Sweet 16 victory Thursday, effectively keeping the Zags out of their transition game. It’s what Baylor did while cruising to its 86-70 victory in the 2021 NCAA title game.
Gonzaga had 17 fast-break points Thursday, but the athletic and well-coached Arkansas defenders prevented the Zags from getting up the floor quickly enough often enough to mount the kind of run that deflates opponents. The Porkers held Gonzaga to 37.5 percent shooting, 5 of 21 from three-point range.
Hogs’ go-to guard JD Notae had 21 points (on 29 field goal attempts), Jaylin Williams (15 points, 12 rebounds) and Trey Wade (15 points) carried the offense. The 6’10 Williams is the first player in school history with double-doubles in the first three rounds of the tournament.
The bigger plays were made on defense by Williams (one blocked shot, two charges drawn) and Pitt transfer Au’Diese Toney, who blocked Drew Timme’s drive with 23 seconds remaining in a 66-62 game and blocked Andrew Nembhard’s layup with eight seconds left at 70-65.
The Porkers held opponents to 40.1 percent shooting in the regular season and held 11 opponents to 60 points or fewer.
AU’DIESE TONEY ON SOME LEBRON SHIT!!! pic.twitter.com/aBbeBHE5rQ
— James Kroeger (@james_kroeger9) March 25, 2022
Arkansas vs Duke Head-to-Head Results
Arkansas and Duke have met three times, all in the postseason. Corliss Williamson and the Razorbacks beat Grant Hill and the Blue Devils 76-72 in the 1994 NCAA championship game in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The Porkers won in 98-88 in the 1990 preseason NIT after Duke beat them 97-83 in the 1990 NCAA Final Four before losing to UNLV in the title game.
When considering strategies for betting on March Madness the total has gone under in Arkansas’ last two NCAA games after going over in the Porker Pigs’ final seven in the regular season. Their victory over Gonzaga broke an 0-3 ATS streak.
Eight of Duke’s last nine games have gone over the total. Duke is 2-5 ATS in its last seven
Coach K Still on Track
Duke remained on track to send coach Mike Krzyzewski out a winner in his 42nd and final season, a motivational factor that cannot be overlooked as the Blue Devils prepare to play Arkansas in a rematch of the 1994 NCAA championship game.
The Blue Devils have won five titles, the first in 1991 and the last in 2015. Krzyzewski has 100 NCAA tournament wins.
Arkansas vs Duke Prediction
Before making your bet on this game be sure to check out some of the best March Madness betting promos. The Porkers are 17-2 since moving South Dakota transfer Stanley Umude into the starting lineup in mid-January, a change that added another physical defender to the group. Arkansas was the least likely of the SEC big four to make it this far, but they have proven they belong. Duke has a handful of NBA first-round talent, and the Blue Devils have worn down their last two opponents down the stretch. Duke covers late.
The pick: Duke -4.5 (-110)
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