Final Four Betting Preview: West Virginia vs. Duke

The NCAA Tournament will be whittled down to just two teams after Saturday night's college basketball betting action is complete, and in the second half of the double header from Lucas Oil Stadium, the Duke Blue Devils will take on the West Virginia Mountaineers.

What's At Stake: The Blue Devils, once one of the proudest programs in the NCAAs, hasn't been to a Final Four since 2004 and a National Championship Game since winning the 2001 title. West Virginia will be in search of its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament Championship Game since 1959, the only time that the team ever reached the Final Four. The Mountaineers have never won a title in men's basketball.

College Basketball Odds: Duke -2.5 at JustBet Sportsbook

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West Virginia Notes: It is unlikely that G Darryl Bryant will be able to take the court on Saturday night for the Mountaineers, meaning more playing time for G Joe Mazzulla, who scored 17 points in the Elite 8 against Kentucky. The 'Neers aren't a particularly deep team without Bryant in the starting five, as only six players will probably play more than five minutes or so on Saturday. Still, this is a squad that is averaging 72.8 points per game this year, which is a very respectable number considering that fact that it plays its regular season ball in the Big East.

Duke Notes: The Blue Devils aren't a very deep team either, and HC Mike Krzyzewski knows that he is going to have to rely on his main three scorers to pick up the slack. Both G Jon Scheyer and G Nolan Smith are coming off of 20+ point games in the Elite 8 against Baylor, and they'll need to be big once again for the Dookies to play for all of the marbles on Monday night. Duke has the second best three point shooting defense in the country, allowing just 27.8 percent of its three point field goal attempts to be made.

Players to Watch

F Kevin Jones, West Virginia Mountaineers: With all due respect to F Da'Sean Butler, we already know that he's going to get his points and his rebounds. Hopefully for HC Bob Huggins' sake, Butler can keep up with Smith in scoring for Duke. It's Jones that is going to be charged with keeping F Kyle Singler under wraps defensively and will be asked to keep up with Scheyer's scoring abilities. Jones was second on the team in both scoring (13.7 points per game) and rebounding (7.2 boards per game) in '09-'10.

F Kyle Singler, Duke Blue Devils: For the first time in his four year collegiate career, Singler put up a big, fat goose egg in the field goals made column for the Dookies in the Elite 8 against Baylor. He averaged 17.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per game this year, so scoring just five points from the charity stripe for an entire game was shocking to say the least. Singler will absolutely have to do some damage in the paint for Duke to have success, as the outside game probably won't be able to stay hot forever.

Trends of Note

-West Virginia is 12-2-1 ATS in its L/15 NCAA Tournament betting affairs
-West Virginia is 5-1 ATS in its L/6 games against the ACC
-West Virginia is 5-0-1 ATS in its L/6 NCAA Tournament games as an underdog
-Duke is 4-0 ATS in its L/4 NCAA Tournament games
-Duke is 2-6 ATS in its L/8 NCAA Tournament games as a favorite of less than seven points
-Duke is 1-5-1 ATS in its L/7 games against the Big East

Final Analysis: The Mountaineers ended Duke's run in the 2008 tourney with a 73-67 win. The tide probably won't turn on Saturday night. West Virginia is just too athletic of a club to deal with, and unless the Scheyer/Smith/Singler combination can really get it going again and eclipsed their 53+ points per game scored on the season, the Dookies are going to be in a lot of trouble.

Selection: West Virginia +2.5

Lou Palumbo is the founder and part owner of the Sports Handicapping Community. He's been writing and posting free picks and sports handicapping strategies on the Cappersinfo forums and website for 15 years now. He enjoys handicapping just as much as he did from the very first day he built the original Cappersinfo website.

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