NCAA Basketball

Wildcats Will Push Blue Devils To The Limit

Mason Plumlee and Miles Plumlee hope to keep the Blue Devils' home streak aliveMarch Madness betting players are getting ready for the Sweet 16 as the NCAA Tournament is coming off one of the craziest opening weekends in recent memory, but we’re sure that it’s only going to continue on Thursday as Arizona takes on Duke in the West region in Anaheim.

Arizona Duke Betting – Thursday, 9:45 PM ET

The fifth-seeded Wildcats almost lost an 11-point halftime lead, and needed a late three-point play by Derrick Williams to edge Texas 70-69. Williams, who stepped up with a big play at the end of the game for the second straight matchup, led the way with 17 points and nine boards, while Solomon Hill stepped up with 16 points and eight boards for the Wildcats, who hit eight of their 14 attempts from beyond the arc, while holding Texas to 3-of-11 from long range. Those who are keeping a March Madness blog have likely been keeping up on Williams, but now people on a national level are seeing why many think he is going to be the No.1 pick in the NBA draft.

The top-seeded Blue Devils were given all they could handle and more by a young and scrappy Michigan squad in a 73-71 win, powered by Nolan Smith’s 24 points. While all of the attention surrounded the returning Kyrie Irving, who had 11 points, but coach Mike Krzyzewski knows who got him to this point while Irving has been injured most of the season with an ailing toe. Smith is one of the three favorites for national Player of the Year, along with BYU’s Jimmer Fredette and Connecticut’s Kemba Walker, and once again, he came up big when it counted for Duke, who also did a good job defensively by holding Michigan’s three-point gunners to 7-of-21 from behind the line.

Even those checking out NBA scores will be watching this game, as it is a slow night in the pros, and they’ll be able to see a couple of players who should end up in the League. Duke is an 8.5-point favorite in their third meeting with the Wildcats, and the first two meetings were wins for the Blue Devils, an eight-point win in Tucson in 1997, and a 10-point victory in the 2001 national title game.

We think this will end up in a Duke win, but we’re betting on Arizona to push the Blue Devils. North Carolina and Florida State showed that Duke can be handled in the paint if you’re physical, and the Wildcats have the size to do this with Williams and Hill. The Blue Devils have a big edge on the perimeter with Smith, Irving and Seth Curry, but the Wildcats will keep it close with their inside advantage, so take Arizona to cover the sports betting spread.

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