The tournament is down to six teams and Duke has played four of them and beaten them all: Texas Tech, Virginia twice, Auburn and Kentucky.
Just for reference, Duke beat Auburn by six in Hawaii, Texas Tech by 11 in New York, Virginia by two in Durham, sans Tre Jones, and by 10 in Charlottesville.
And of course Duke severely shook Kentucky’s confidence in the season opener, winning by a shocking 34.
Well all five are vastly improved and before Duke can play any of them, it must defeat Michigan State.
You can read our preview to see our extended thoughts but as always, we don’t bet against Duke.
As for the other game, wow is that interesting. We’d feel better about Auburn if it wasn't going without Chuma Okeke (side note: he’s from Atlanta which means Josh Pastner isn’t protecting his home turf).
As Dean Smith used to say though, a team can overcome an injury for one or two games. It’s harder to sustain the loss indefinitely but one or two?
Auburn was frankly incredible against UNC. Our theory is that it’s hard to have two great games twice in a row, that you don’t maintain your peak for that long. So what to expect here?
Auburn’s offense was incredible against UNC but the Tigers manhandled the Heels on defense. If they beat Kentucky, it’s going to be on defense, not offense. That means shutting Tyler Herro down among other things.
Auburn also has a 27 point beatdown to avenge (just as UK would love to get another shot at Duke).
We’ll take UK here regardless. The Wildcats have been here so many times and even though it’s a young team the program knows the ropes and expectations. For Auburn it’s a first. So the smart money, we think, is on UK here.
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