Ranked Team Battle: #24 Temple Owls at #1 Duke Blue Devils

#24 Temple Owls at #1 Duke Blue Devils
Feb 23, 2011 at 7 PM EST,
Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, NC
Opening Line:  Duke -14
Current Line:  Duke -13.5
Opening Total:  138
Current Total:  139
Opening Moneyline:  Duke -1200 / Temple +600
Current Moneyline:  Duke -1500 / Temple +900

Is Nolan Smith more Grant Hill or is he more Chris Duhon?

Tonight represents a big challenge to Duke, one that Duke guard Nolan Smith accepts.  “We always use (games like this) to simulate the (NCAA) tournament, playing a team that’s going to be a high seed,” Smith said. “They’re a Top 25 team, and it’s going to help us stay focused. … It’s going to be a big-time game.”

Duke has only lost two games all season; one to FSU and the other to St. John’s.  They disposed of #4 Kansas by 14 points, and have beaten every ranked opponents they’ve played.  One remarkable fact is that the Blue Devils havent’t lost to a non-conference team since a loss to Saint John’s on February 26, 2000.

“They haven’t lost a non-conference game there in forever,” Temple Owls senior Lavoy Allen said. “It’s gonna be a great opportunity for us. It’s a tough place to play.”

Some betting trends:

Temple is 18-6 SU in their last 24 games on the road and 0-5 SU in their last 5 games on the road against the Blue Devils.

Duke is 5-0 SU in their last 5 games and the total has gone UNDER in 5 of Duke’s last 6 games.  Duke is 2-4 ATS in their last 6 at home and they are 5-0 SU in their last 5 at home.  The total has gone UNDER in 4 of their last 6 home games and Duke is 5-0 SU in their last 5 games against Temple.  Duke is also 5-0 SU in their last 5 home games against the Owls.

Temple is led by 6’4″ junior guard Ramone Moore.  Moore averages 15.4 points per game, 4.3 rebounds per game, and 3.2 assists per game.  He’s more than doubled his scoring average from his second season at Temple and will likely return for a senior year.  Moore is shooting 43.8% from the field and 39.5% from three and has scored in double figures in all but three Temple games, 2 of which Temple lost, which accounts  for half their total losses.  Moore has scored 20 or more in 3 of his last 5 games and he has launched double digit field goal attempts in all 4 of his last 4 games.  If he continues to get up a lot of shots, as he has, he surely will score more than 20 tonight which will give Temple a decent shot at winning this game.

Duke ranks near the top of every major statistical category.  Their 83.0 points per game rank 7th in the nation, their 38.3 rebounds – 34th, 15.2 assists – 40th, and 47.5% FG – 24th.  And Duke has been blowing out their opponents badly.  Their point differential is +19.  To score 83 a game while only giving up 64 shows a lot of outright dominance.  Nolan Smith, Kyrie Irving, and Kyle Singler all combine to score 55.9 points per game (67% of Duke’s scoring).  Smith puts up 21.7 points per game, along with 5.3 assists per game.  He shoots 37% from three (46 of 122) and 48.2% from the field.  This is his senior year at Duke, and where he goes in the draft is anybody’s guess.  A lot of times players that play four years are penalized in the draft as not having any upside or being that much closer to being out of their prime.  Look at what happened with Sam Young.  He was 25 when drafted and it caused a first round talent to go in the middle of the second round.  Nolan Smith could go anywhere.

Duke’s dominance at home should be enough to shine through in this game and produce a win.  They are near impossible to beat at Cameron Indoor Stadium and have one of the most raucous student bodies in the nation.

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