|-2.5 DUKE (-112) @ Draftkings|
My 9* play is on Duke at 9:00 ET.
Duke opened No. 9 in the AP's preseason poll but the team's Jan 12 loss at Va Tech saw 5-3 Duke (3-1 in the ACC) fall out of the AP poll on Monday. It ended the nation's second-longest streak of consecutive weeks in the top-25 at 91. The Blue Devils have been idle since that Jan 12 loss and will travel to Pittsburgh 7-2 / 3-1 ACC) to take on the Panthers. Pittsburgh has played just TWO games across a 25-day period, BOTH against Syracuse, winning each time fueled by second-half comebacks.
Coach K lost his top-two players to the NBA, the 6-10 Carey (17.8 & 8.8) will play this season for the Hornets and PG Jones (16.2-4.7-6.4) was taken by the Spurs. Coach K has seamlessly transitioned into the One-and-Done era and freshman guard Stewart has opened averaging 14.0 & 5.0, while 6-9 freshman Johnson is averaging 9.6 & 6.6 The 6-9 Hurt (9.7 & 3.8 last season) leads the team this season with 19.6 PPG and 8.3 RPG. Guards Goldwire (7.5-3.4-4.3) and Roach (11.1) plus SF Moore (6.5 & 3.9) and 6-8 freshman Brakefield (5.4 & 3.5) are also contributors.
Pitt will have standout Justin Champagnie in the lineup when it hosts Duke. He's back in action after a knee injury, scoring 24 points and grabbing 16 rebounds in last Saturday's win over Syracuse. The 6-6 Champagnie is averaging 18.7 & 12.9 in seven games and along with the outstanding guard duo of Toney (15.9 & 6.1) and Johnson (15.1-4.4-5.6) give the Panthers a terrific trio. The only other significant contributor is guard Horton (9.4).
The Blue Devils are tied with Wake Forest for the fewest games of any ACC team (each with eight) and this is the second contest of a three-game road trip (at Louisville is next). Coach K badly needs a win here and I'll back the Blue Devils, even if Jalen Johnson misses with that foot injury.