Michigan State Spartans at Duke Blue Devils College Basketball Expert Picks

Michigan State Spartans at Duke Blue Devils
Saturday, 12/1/10, 9:30 PM EDT, TV:  ESPN
Opening Point Spread:  Duke -11
Current Betting Line:  Duke -11.5
Opening Total:  150.5
Current Total:  151.5

The Duke Blue Devils have a 10-1 SU record in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and will host the Michigan State Spartans on Wednesday night

Michigan State travels to Durham, North Carolina to play top-ranked Duke in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.  The Spartans are hoping to help the Big Ten Conference win the challenge for the second-straight season.  One area the team will need to clean up before Wednesday night’s contest is turning the ball over, as it comes in averaging 17.0 turnovers a game in the last six contests.  “I’m shocked we’re turning the ball over as much as we are,” said coach Tom Izzo.  The program is 5-5 overall in the challenge, which includes an 0-2 mark against tonight’s opponent.  Michigan State is 3-16 all-time against teams ranked No. 1 in the AP Top 25.  The squad is 1-4 ATS in its last five games and the NCAA basketball lines page has them listed as a double-digit underdog.

The Spartans are shooting a surprising 41.7 percent from 3-point range this season, which is tops in the Big Ten and would be the best mark from beyond the arc under Izzo.  Michigan State is scoring 79.3 points per game while allowing opponents to score 68.2 a contest.  The last meeting between these perennial national powers took place in the Sweet 16 of the 2005 NCAA Tournament, with the Spartans defeating Duke, 78-68.  In order to pull off the upset tonight, Michigan State will need to improve upon its 64.7 percent shooting from the charity stripe.

Duke finished its first month of the season with a perfect 6-0 record and many experts are impressed with how the team picked up where it left off after winning the 2010 national championship.  “We’re not looking to be good,” said freshman Kyrie Irving.  “We’re looking to be great.  It’s not going to come right away.”  The Blue Devils have won 16 consecutive games entering tonight’s contest and are looking to open the season 7-0 for the 16th time under head coach Mike Krzyzewski.  “We need to develop like our team last year developed,” he commented.  “We need to give them a chance to grow in the system.”  Duke is 9-2 ATS in its last 11 games overall.

The Blue Devils have a +11.2 scoring margin in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and have won five of their 10 games by 15 or more points.  Duke is 3-0 at Cameron Indoor Stadium during the challenge and the program is the winningest team in the event’s history with a 10-1 mark.  It’s hard to imagine that things will change, considering the Blue Devils have lost two home games in the past four seasons, posting a 51-2 mark over that span.  The team has also won an NCAA-best 80 consecutive non-conference home games.

Bettors will be interested in knowing that the Spartans are 5-11 ATS in their last 16 games versus a team with a winning record, while the Blue Devils are 21-8-1 in their last 30 home games.

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