Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#801 Duke vs.
#802 Purdue
Sunday, November 27, 2022 at 3:30pm EST
Written by Mark Ruelle

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It will be an ACC vs. Big Ten matchup in the championship game of the Phil Knight Legacy Tournament as the Duke Blue Devils will take on the Purdue Boilermakers. Duke arrived here with wins over Oregon State in their opener and then Xavier on Friday night. The Boilermakers reached the championship game with wins over West Virginia on Thanksgiving and then a win over favored Gonzaga on Friday night. The opening tap for the championship game is set for 3:30pm EST.

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Duke Getting it Done

The Duke Blue Devils are now 6-1 and are in prime position to provide new head coach Jon Scheyer with his first trophy, albeit not the one Duke fans ultimately want, with a win on Sunday in the Phil Knight Legacy Tournament. On Friday night, after struggling through a defensive battle in their opener vs. Oregon State, Duke got a bit more offensive in a 71-64 win over Xavier. The key to the team's resurgence on the offensive end was the play of Jeremy Roach. After struggling through a 3-of-14 shooting performance against Oregon State, Roach delivered 21 points on 9-0f-15 shooting and added five assists in the win.

“There’s a lot that falls on your shoulders so you can end up overthinking it a little bit,” Scheyer said. “The thing that I love for him today is he just was him. And when he’s that way, he is to me the best guard in the country.”

Duke has won their two games primarily with quality defense. They have been equally adept offensively and defensively this season. They are ranked in the top 30 in both, with the 14th most efficient offense and the 26th most efficient defense. After struggling with their shot on Thursday, they bounced back by shooting 50% overall and 41% from three-point range. The Blue Devils held Xavier to 39% from the field overall.

Road Tough

The Purdue Boilermakers have had possibly the toughest schedule to start the tournament with games against West Virginia followed by a matchup with Gonzaga. They have passed the test thus far with a win in each game. They took down West Virginia 80-68 in the opener and followed that up with an even more resounding 84-66 win over Gonzaga. Big man Zach Edey continued his stellar play in this tournament with another 20-point performance, scoring 15 of his game-high 23 points in the second half. Edey was supported by Braden Smith and Fletcher Lover, who each had 14 points.

“I think everyone was really psyched up for this game and that kind of came up that first few minutes with those early game jitters,” Edey said. “I thought as the game went on we did a really good job of sticking to our scouting report.”

The Boilermakers have scored over 80 points in each of the first two games of the tournament. On Friday night, Purdue showed off its defense against the highly efficient Gonzaga Bulldogs. Gonzaga shot just 40% from the field, nearly 10% below their season average. Along the way, they only allowed Gonzaga and it's inside the paint offense to take four free throws total in the game. Meanwhile, the Boilermakers took 22 free throws.

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Purdue will be facing the most stout defense they've seen in the tournament on Sunday. Duke's defense has held the opposition to under 40% all season. This will be a good test of the Blue Devils' ability to protect the paint as the Boilermakers will certainly feature Edey in the middle. Freshman Kyle Filipowski will get the first crack to slow down Edey and he's surrounded by two more big men in Dereck Lively II and Ryan Young. Scheyer will certainly deploy all three to disrupt Edey in the game. The key will be Jeremy Roach. Roach struggled in the opener and so did the Blue Devils. He rebounded in the second game and the offense responded in kind. Roach should have his way with a Purdue backcourt that features two freshmen. Look for the Blue Devils to take down the undefeated Boilermakers.

Take Duke -2.

Prediction: Duke -2

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The Blue Devils are in the bottom 40 in pace of play this year. And, unlike the majority of teams that face the Boilermakers, they can match up with Edey with three big men and do damage on the glass. Purdue has put up 80 points in each of the first two games but this is the first team that has the kind of size in the paint that can bother Edey. In addition, the Blue Devils are adept at getting out on shooters. This will be a good test for Purdue's freshmen backcourt, one they may very well pass later, but one they will fail against the pressure of Duke.

Take the under, 135.5 points.

Prediction: Under 135.5
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Written By Mark Ruelle , "Mark Ruelle"

Mark has been a sports fanatic since childhood. He is also an avid follower of sports analytics and has used it in his own betting analysis for over two decades. Now we have Mark on our team here at Stat Salt. He holds degrees in marketing, broadcasting, and English and uses this vast array of assets to dissect and analyze game matchups. Mark will provide you with a wide variety of statistics to consider and a strong opinion in each matchup that he covers. Please follow him daily for an up-to-the-minute analysis of all the important games.