College Hoops Picks: #5 Miami Hurricanes vs #3 Duke Blue Devils

#5 Miami Hurricanes vs #3 Duke Blue Devils
Saturday, March 2, 2013, 6:00 pm Eastern, TV:ESPN
Cameron Indoor Stadium – Durham, North Carolina
Opening Line: Duke -6 1/2
Current Line: Duke -7 1/2
Opening Total: 135 1/2
Current Total: 137
Opening Money Line: Duke -300 / Miami +250
Current Money Line: Duke -355 / Miami +295

Duke is a 7.5 point favorite at home against Miami in a key ACC clash.
Duke is a 7.5 point favorite at home against Miami in a key ACC clash.

The 23-4 Miami Hurricanes are 14-1 in the ACC and can clinch their first ever outright conference title in school history. The Hurricanes tied for the 2000 Big East title, the only other conference championship the program won. It won’t be easy, as the Hurricanes travel to the 24-4 Duke Blue Devils who are 11-4 in conference. Even if Miami loses they can still clinch the conference title with a win in at least one of their last two games. Both schools could be in line for #1 seeds in the NCAA tournament.

Duke leads the series 15-4 against Miami including 7-1 at Cameron. Miami has won 2 straihgt in the series, including a 90-63 beat down of the Blue Devils in Coral Gables January 23. It was one of the worst losses for Duke in the Mike Krzyzewski era. Reportedly, Krzyzewski took the team straight from the airport after returning to Durham after that game  to the gym where they practiced until the wee hours of the morning. Miami got their first win in Cameron last season 78-74 in overtime.

Miami is coached by Jim Larranaga. The Hurricanes have losses at Florida Gulf Coast, to Arizona and Indiana St in tournament in Hawaii and at Wake Forest. Miami has key wins over Detroit, Michigan St, at UMass, Charlotte, at Central Florida, at Hawaii, LaSalle, at Georgia Tech, North Carolina twice,   Maryland, Boston College twice, Duke, Florida St , Virginia, at Virginia Tech, at NC State and Virginia Tech Wednesday 76-58. Miami is 16-7-1 ATS and the total is 7-14-1 this season.

Miami is outscoring teams 69-59 this season. The Hurricanes are #27 in points allowed nationally. Miami is shooting 45.9% from the field and 35.5% from 3 point range. The Hurricanes make 65.9% of their free throws. Miami averages 36 rebounds per game, and give up 30.3. Hurricane opponents are shooting 38.4% from the field and 30.5% from 3 point range. Miami is #15 in opponents’ field goal percentage and #38 in 3 point defense. The Hurricanes average 11 assists, 7 steals, 5 blocks, and 11 turnovers.

Guard Shane Larkin averages 13.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 2.1 steals per game. Guard Durand Scott averages 13.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.7 steals per game. Forward/center Kenny Kadji averages 13 points, 6.4 rebounds, an assist, and 1.4 blocks per game. Center Reggie Johnson averages 8.8 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game. Guard Trey McKinney-Jones averages 9 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game. Julian Gamble and Rion Brown each average around 6.6 points per game. Garrius Adams has missed the whole season with a knee injury and is out indefinitely. Guard Bishop Daniels left the team in December.

Duke’s other losses this came season came at North Carolina St, Maryland, and Virginia Thursday 73-68. The Blue Devils have key wins over Kentucky in Atlanta, Minnesota, VCU, and Louisville in a tournament in the Bahamas, Ohio St, Temple in East Rutherford, New Jersey, Davidson in Charlotte,  Wake Forest, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Wake Forest, Florida St, North Carolina St, Boston College twice, North Carolina, and at Virginia Tech. The Blue Devils are      15-13 ATS and the total is 15-12 this season.

Duke is outscoring teams 79-65 this season. The Blue Devils are #8 in scoring nationally. Duke is shooting 47.4% from the field and 41.1% from 3 point range. The Blue Devils are #22 in field goal percentage and #4 in 3 point shooting nationally. Duke makes 72.8% of their free throws. The Blue Devils average 34.2 rebounds per game and give up 32.3  per game. Duke opponents are shooting 41.8% from the field and 29.5% from 3 point range.  Duke averages 15 assists, 7 steals, 4 blocks, and 11 turnovers a game.

Forward Mason Plumlee averages 17.3 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1.6 blocks per game. Guard Seth Curry averages 17.3 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game.  Forward Ryan Kelly is probable after missing 13 games with a foot injury. He averages 13.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.7 blocks per game. Guard Quinn Cook averages  12.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. Guard Rasheed Sulaimon averages 12.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 2.2 assists. Tyler Thornton, Amile Jefferson, and Josh Hairston make up the rest of the rotation. Hairston started in place of Kelly, but none of those three players average more than 4.6 points per game.

Miami is 10-1 ATS in Saturday games, 11-3-1 after a cover, 14-6-1 against teams with winning records, 1-3-1 overall, and in ACC games, 1-4-1 in road games, and against teams with winning home records, and 0-3-1 after a  straight up win. The Hurricanes are 6-1-2 ATS in the last 9 against Duke, and were the underdog in each of those match-ups. Miami is 5-0-1 ATS in their last 6 trips to Durham. The road team is 5-1-1 ATS in this series recently.

Duke is 5-1 ATS at home, 9-3 after failing to cover, and 5-2 after a straight up loss. The over is 11-1 in the last 12 in this series, and 6-1 at Cameron.

With their win here last year, Miami will not be intimidated by the Cameron Crazies. The Hurricanes have a 3 game cushion in the ACC, so this isn’t a must win game. They want to win certainly to cement their status as an elite team. Getting Kelly back will help, but Duke doesn’t have a lot of depth. I can’t see Duke losing two straight games. Duke wins but Miami keeps it close.

Our colelge basketball handicappers are red hot right now. Don’t miss out on any winners from now until they cut down the nets in Atlanta next month

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