College Basketball West Region First Round: #13 UNC-Wilmington Seahawks vs #4 Duke Blue Devils

2016 NCAA Tournament
West Region – First Round
#13 UNC-Wilmington Seahawks vs #4 Duke Blue Devils
Dunkin’ Donuts Center – Providence, Rhode Island
Thursday, March 17, 2016, 12:15 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
Opening Line: Duke -9 1/2
Current Line: Duke -10 1/2
Opening Total: 156 1/2
Current Total: 156 1/2
Opening Money Line: Duke -525 / UNCW +415
Current Money Line: Duke -630 / UNCW +465

Duke takes on UNC-Wilmington in the West region first round in Providence.
Duke takes on UNC-Wilmington in the West region first round in Providence.

The defending national champion Duke Blue Devils had a little bit of a rebuilding year. In fact, January there was some slight doubt if the Blue Devils would even make the field in the NCAA Tournament when they lost 3 straight games. Duke would finish 23-10 though and are the #4 seed in the West Region. The Blue Devils will take on #13 seed UNC-Wilmington in the first round Thursday in Providence. The winner will play either #5 seed Baylor or #12 Yale in the second round Saturday. Despite being only 158 miles from each other, this is only the second meeting between Duke  and UNC-Wilmington. The Blue Devils won in 1982 for what’s it worth.

The UNC-Wilmington Seahawks tied with Hofstra for the regular season title in the Colonial Athletic Conference at 14-4. The Seahawks are 25-7 and beat Hofstra 80-73 in the CAA Championship game. UNC-Wilmington is making their fifth trip to the dance and first since 2006.

Duke was tied for fifth in the ACC with Notre Dame at 11-7. The Blue Devils lost to Notre Dame in the ACC  quarterfinals 84-79. Since 1984, Duke has played in the NCAA Tournament every year except for 1995. The Blue Devils have played in 12 Final Fours in that stretch with five national titles.

UNCW is coached by Kevin Keatts. The Seahawks have road losses at Georgetown, Radford, and East Carolina, Towson and William & Mary, plus home losses to Northeastern, and Hofstra. UNC-Wilmington has won four straight games. The Seahawks have home wins over Eastern Kentucky and Western Michigan, plus a road win at East Tennessee. In conference, UNCW has wins over Hofstra twice, James Madison twice, Northeastern twice, and Charleston three times. The Seahawks did not play any other tournament teams this season. UNCW is 15-13 ATS and the total is 16-12 this season. The Seahawks were  2 point underdogs against Hofstra and the total was 147.5.

Duke is coached by Mike Krzyzewski. The Blue Devils have neutral site losses to Kentucky in Chicago and Utah in New York and Notre Dame in the ACC Tournament. Duke has road losses at Clemson, Miami, Louisville and Pittsburgh, along with home losses to Notre Dame, Syracuse, and North Carolina. The Blue Devils have neutral site wins over VCU and Georgetown in New York and NC State in the ACC Tournament, plus road wins at Boston College, Wake Forest, North Carolina State, Georgia Tech, and North Carolina. Duke has home wins over Siena, Yale, Utah State, Indiana, Buffalo, Long Beach State, Virginia Tech, NC State, Louisville, Virginia, Florida State, and Wake Forest. The Blue Devils are 6-8 against NCAA Tournament teams this season. Duke is 13-17-2 ATS and the total is 14-18 this season. The Blue Devils were 2 point favorites against Notre Dame and the total was 154.5.

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UNC-Wilmington is outscoring teams 79-71 this season. The Seahawks are #39 in scoring nationally. UNCW is shooting 45.6% from the field and 33.6% from 3 point range. The Seahawks make 70.2% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 41.7% from the field and 33.7% from three point range. Wilmington averages 37.6 rebounds per game and opponents average 33.8. The Seahawks averages 13.4 assists, 11.4 turnovers, 7.5 steals, and 4.4 blocks per game. Opponents average 10.4 assists, 15.2 turnovers, 5 steals, and 3.1 steals per game.

Chris Flemmings averages 16.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.3 steals per game. Denzel Ingram averages 12.5 points, 2.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Craig Ponder averages 11.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. C,J, Bryce averages 9.9 points and 4 rebounds per game. Jordan Talley averages 8.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 4 assists per game. Five other players will get significant time in the rotation.

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Duke is outscoring teams 82-72 this season. The Blue Devils are #17 nationally in scoring. Duke is shooting 45.9% from the field and 38.7% from 3 point range. The Blue Devils are #22 in three point shooting nationally. Duke makes 72.2% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 44.5% from the field and 33.9% from 3 point range. Duke averages 36.3 rebounds per game and opponents average 33.4 per game. The Blue Devils average 13 assists, 9.6 turnovers, 6 steals and 4.3 blocks per game. Opponents average 13.8 assists, 11.7 turnovers, 4.3 steals and 3.2 blocks per game.

Grayson Allen averages 21.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.3 steals per game. Brandon Ingram averages 16.9 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.4 blocks per game. Luke Kennard averages 11.5 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. Matt Jones averages 11.2 points, 2.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1 steal per game. Marshall Plumlee averages 8.2 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Derryck Thornton averages 7.8 points, 2.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. Amile Jefferson is out indefinitely with a foot injury.

UNCW is 2-0-2 ATS in NCAA Tournament games, 4-1 in non-conference games, 5-2 against ACC teams, 3-8 in Thursday games, 1-4 after a straight up win, against teams with winning records, and overall.

Duke is 6-0 ATS in NCAA Tournament games, 5-2-1 in non-conference games, 1-3-1 against teams with winning records, 0-4 after failing to cover, 0-5 overall and 0-6 in neutral site games.

Wilmington hasn’t played a team as talented as Duke this season. The Blue Devils don’t have a lot of depth and could struggle later in the tournament. Still, I think duke wins this game with relative ease.

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