In recent years, Mike Krzyzewski has transformed Duke into a one-and-done NBA farm team. Many of the elite recruits who once would have picked Kentucky are now opting to wear blue for the evil empire in Durham.
Virginia coach Tony Bennett wins in a different way. He recruits blue-collar players who defend with the intensity of hungry dogs.
The Cavaliers-Blue Devils clash Saturday is a prime example of contrasting styles. Coach K puts it on cruise control and allows his Olympic-like superteam to roll. Bennett controls every possession as if he’s coaching the Hickory Huskers.
The second-ranked Cavaliers own the nation’s No. 1 scoring defense by allowing 51.6 points per game. The No. 4 Blue Devils lead the nation in scoring at 91.7. This is another Duke team that bombs 3s and barely defends. Virginia will hope to keep the score in the low 130s.
For those who have been watching football and have not seen him yet, Marvin Bagley is the opposite of Tom Cruise, a miniscule phony who makes lame movies. Duke’s 6-foot-11 freshman is the real deal and he entertains every night. Bagley (21.6 points, 11.5 rebounds) and senior guard Grayson Allen form arguably the best scoring duo in the nation.
The Blue Devils boast the nation’s most offensively talented team. The Cavaliers are not offensively inept. Kyle Guy, a sophomore guard, can really score. Isaiah Wilkins cannot score but can really defend on the other end.
In Ken Pomeroy’s ratings (Kenpom.com), Duke’s defensive rating of 69th pales in comparison to top-rated Virginia. But do the Cavaliers simply lack the scoring punch to keep pace with Bagley and Allen?
Allen and the Blue Devils were tripped up twice on the Atlantic Coast Conference road, but it’s tough to bet against Coach K as a small home favorite. The line is moving in Duke’s direction, so lay the points and hope to see Bagley dominate.
Eight college basketball plays for today (rotation numbers listed):
520-SOUTH CAROLINA (plus-3½) over Texas Tech; 534-DUKE (-3½) over Virginia; 552-BUTLER (-8) over St. Johns; 589-Texas A&M (plus-9) over KANSAS; 639-Virginia Tech (plus-3½) over NOTRE DAME; 650-NEBRASKA (-3½) over Iowa; 660-UNLV (pick) over San Diego State; 665-Stanford (plus-6) over UCLA.
Last week: 5-3 against the spread