The Duke Blue Devils (7-0) and Ohio State Buckeyes (6-0) will meet up Tuesday night in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge inside the Value City Arena.
Duke Blue Devils at Ohio State Buckeyes
Duke will be searching for its fifth straight victory in games featuring two teams ranked in the top five and will look to improve upon its 11-1 record in this event. The Blue Devils have won five consecutive games against teams from the Big Ten Conference, while producing an outstanding 49-15 mark versus such foes under the direction of coach Mike Krzyzewski. It’s important to note that the program has already taken down other Big Ten teams, handing Michigan State and Michigan losses earlier this year. Duke is 3-4 ATS on the season and the ‘over’ is 5-2 in those contests.
The Blue Devils will try to preserve their 35-game winning streak in November, while the team has also proven victorious in 30 of its last 32 games versus non-conference competition. Playing in this type of environment will not intimidate a program that has tallied a 16-5 record against ranked teams since the start of the 2009-10 season. From an offensive standpoint, Duke is one of eight schools nationally that has five players averaging in double figures, with junior guard Seth Curry leading the way with 15.1 points. He has knocked down 16-of-28 (.571) shots from beyond the arc.
Ohio State sits just behind Kentucky in the polls and a spot above tonight’s opponent, coming off a dominating 80-47 win over Valparaiso, hitting 31 of 60 shots from the field. The Buckeyes will rely heavily on their one-two punch of William Buford and Jared Sullinger offensively, averaging 17.7 and 18.8 points respectively. “You can’t give Sullinger easy ones,” stated Blue Devils forward Mason Plumlee. “You’ve got to stay between him and the basket.” Ohio State is 37-26 all-time versus ACC opponents, looking to even its record with Duke in this being just the sixth meeting between the two schools. Over the last two-plus seasons, Ohio State is 35-26 ATS as a favorite.
The Buckeyes are opening their 2011-12 schedule in a favorable manner, playing their first eight games at home, which hasn’t happened in over 100 years. Ohio State’s current home win streak is tied for its third longest, as the team is still a way away from tying the school mark of 50 set between the 1960-64 seasons. One of the key factors in terms of preparation for this prime-time contest is former Duke guard Greg Paulus being the video coordinator in Columbus. It will be interesting to see how Buckeyes coach Thad Matta uses his knowledge in developing a game plan.
Bettors will likely back the Buckeyes due to their 4-1 ATS mark versus the ACC, while the Blue Devils are 2-5 ATS against the Big Ten.
Recommendation: Ohio State Buckeyes -6
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