Representatives from the ACC and the Big XII collide in a tremendous Elite 8 betting battle between the Duke Blue Devils and the Baylor Bears on Sunday night at the Toyota Center in Houston.
What's At Stake: The fourth and final ticket to Indianapolis and the Final Four, as well as the title of the South Region winners for 2010 will be awarded to the winner of this college basketball betting duel.
Baylor Notes: The Bears have gotten stronger as this tournament has progressed, beating #14 Sam Houston State by nine, #11 Old Dominion by eight, and #10 St. Mary's by 23. The defense has held the three foes to an average of 58.7 points per game in the dance. The offense hasn't been up to stuff, averaging just 72.0 points per game, but this is still a Baylor team that averaged 77.1 points per game this year and can explode for 85+ on anyone in the country.
Duke Notes: The Blue Devils are one of just two teams that enter the Elite 8 saying that they have an average margin of victory of more than 15 points per game and won all three of their NCAA Tournament betting bashes by double digits (Kentucky). They've looked like one of the best sides from top to bottom in the dance, scoring easy wins against #16 Arkansas-Pine Bluff, #8 California, and #4 Purdue. Many recognize Coach K's crew as a fantastic offensive team at 77.4 points per game, but few realize that they're only allowing 60.9 points per game this year as well, making them one of the best defensive clubs left standing as well.
Players to Watch
F Ekpe Udoh, Baylor Bears: In Udoh, the Bears have an incredibly long, lanky, big man that can be a real pain in the neck on the inside for the opposition. Udoh is averaging 13.4 points and 9.8 rebounds per game, but he has also blocked a whopping 123 shots this year. The Blue Devils are going to have to throw the kitchen sink at him to keep up, and on the other end of the court, F Brian Zoubek is going to be challenged by the best big man that he has faced in quite some time.
G Jon Scheyer, Duke Blue Devils: The Blue Devils badly need Scheyer to step up once again and take over the reins of this team. He hasn't scored above his 18.9 points per game average in almost an entire month, and he has only put up 38 points in this tournament to date. Scheyer is clearly one of the cogs in this lineup, and for a team that isn't very deep, him not contributing could be fatal.
Trends of Note
-Baylor is 8-1 ATS in its L/9 games outside of the Big XII
-Baylor is 10-3 ATS in its L/13 neutral site games as an underdog
-Baylor is 10-4 ATS in its L/14 games as an underdog
-Duke is 4-1 ATS in its L/5 games against the Big XII
-Duke is 5-11 ATS in its L/16 NCAA Tournament games as a favorite
-Duke is 7-3 ATS in its L/10 neutral site games as a favorite
Final Analysis: Athleticism. That's how you beat the Dookies. That's how North Carolina did it for all those years, and that's how Baylor is going to do it on Sunday night. The Blue Devils just don't have the bodies to be able to keep up with the talent level of Udoh, F LaceDarius Dunn and G Tweety Carter. The Bears are ready for the next step, and they'll pronounce themselves as one of the best programs in the country by taking out the Dookies and moving on to the Final Four.
Selection: Baylor +4