The 8th ranked Duke Blue Devils will meet up with Xavier on Saturday night in the winner's bracket of the Phil Knight Legacy Tournament. Duke improved to 5-1 on the season with a low-scoring win over Oregon State to open the tournament. Xavier, just out of the Top-25, improved to 4-1 with a high-scoring win over Florida in Thanksgiving day action. The opening tap is scheduled for 9:00pm EST.
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Duke RulesThe Duke Blue Devils won their fifth game of the season with a surprisingly difficult 54-51 win over Oregon State. The Blue Devils were led by Kyle Filipowski, who had a double-double in the game with 19 points and 14 rebounds in the win. Duke also had another double-double from Ryan Young, who scored 11 points and had 15 rebounds off the bench. Duke pulled out the win on a night they shot just 28% from the field overall and 17% from 3pt range. The Blue Devils dominated the glass, led by Filipowski's 14 boards, out-rebounding Oregon State 45-29.
“Some big-time winning plays,” Duke coach Jon Scheyer said. “You have to find a way to gut it out. I’m proud of figuring out a way to win.”
The Blue Devils will take another step in their progression with new coach Scheyer on Saturday against Xavier. The Blue Devils will undoubtedly look to dominate the glass in this matchup. Coming into the tournament, Duke has been out-rebounding the opposition by an average of +19.3 rebounds per game. Duke's defense has been outstanding as well, holding teams to under 40% shooting overall and under 25% from 3pt shooting.
Musketeers Riding High into Round 2Xavier is now 4-1 after winning a high-scoring affair against Florida. The Musketeers shut down Florida's leading scorer Colin Castleton 14 points below his scoring average thus far this season. Xavier was led by Colby Jones and Souley Boum, each player scoring 22 points in the win. Jack Nunge had a strong game as well, narrowly missing a double-double with 16 points and nine rebounds. Xavier shot 56% from the field overall and 50% from 3pt range in the win.
Xavier's shooting on Thursday fell in line with their season averages. Heading into the tournament, the Musketeers were shooting 52% from the field overall and 44% from the 3pt line. The Musketeers will need to shoot well against a Duke team that dominates the glass. For their part, Xavier owns a +6 average rebound differential thus far.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Xavier has shot the ball at an extremely high rate thus far but will meet their match against a big and athletic Duke team. Duke has a resounding +19.3 rebounding differential this season and have held the opposition to just 21% shooting from 3pt range. The Musketeers can also be sloppy with the basketball and will succumb to the Blue Devil's defensive pressure. Duke will control the pace of play and tempo in this game thanks to their defense and rebounding.
Full-Game Total Pick
Duke is in the top 20 in offensive and defensive efficiency and are in the middle of the pack in pace of play. Xavier likes to move at a fast pace of play, ranking 70th in the nation in pace but they will be held at bay by the Blue Devil's length and ability to dominate the glass. Xavier will also feel the pinch of Duke's top-flight perimeter defense and will shoot well below their average in this game.
Take the under.