Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 7:00 PM
It’s become quite a rivalry in a very short time. Even though Miami of Florida is more known for football than basketball, the program has made a few statements in recent history by embarrassing Duke in national TV games. They’re certainly hoping to do the same Wednesday Night in a game that will be nationally televised by ESPN2. It’s a matchup that sees BOTH teams trying to rebound from disappointing starts in ACC action
Duke 3-2…currently tied for fifth with losses to Clemson and Notre Dame
Miami 2-3….currently tied for eighth with losses to Virginia Tech, Syracuse, and Florida State
Duke was supposed to be a national championship contender with young star Jabari Parker leading the way. They’ve already dropped two league games and they haven’t faced many of the ACC’s best yet. Miami was far from certain to match last year’s run in the Big Dance. But they were small favorites in those losses to Virginia Tech and FSU. The Hurricanes did play Syracuse tough though, suggesting good things are on the way.
Obviously, Duke doesn’t want to fall to 3-3 in the ACC and raise even more questions about how overrated they are. And, Miami can’t afford a 2-4 start given where they stand in bubble discussions. Both teams are going to bring everything. Let’s see how they match up in our key indicator stats.
Duke: #20 in Pomeroy, #14 in Sagarin
Miami: #60 in Pomeroy, #82 in Sagarin
Wow…big difference of opinion from college basketball guru Ken Pomeroy and USA Today computer whiz Jeff Sagarin about where Miami stands in the big picture. These methodologies usually don’t vary by that much. Miami traditionally plays such a weak early schedule that it’s hard to get a true read until fairly deep into ACC action. Right now, the computers are suggesting they’re not even a Dance-caliber squad. And, the computers are suggesting Duke may not even be a Sweet 16 caliber squad!
Offensive Rank (Adjusted for Schedule)
Duke has been terrific on offense. They usually rate well here anyway because they make three pointers at home and draw fouls all over the place from friendly refs. This year, they have legitimate star talent that can attack the basket too. Miami has struggled very badly on offense. They’re not going to be a team that matters unless they make significant strides forward.
Defensive Rank (Adjusted for Schedule)
Duke’s defense has been a disaster by the standards of elite play. They’re still top 100 out of 300. But, compared to GOOD teams, they’re way off the pace. In fact, they’ve become a laughingstock in some circles because they’re so soft in the paint and on the boards. Miami has the much better defense, and is the much tougher team physically (like usual). Here in the NOTEBOOK, we’ve spent a lot of time over the years blasting Duke for their poor defense and rebounding within the subset of tournament caliber teams. They’re even worse than normal this year!
HUGE differences there. Duke is running the floor aggressively this season while Miami is one of the slowest teams in the nation. Clearly, Miami will try to slow things down and pound Duke in a halfcourt game. The Blue Devils will try to push tempo to get easy baskets. As we’ve said often, it’s typically the HOME team that enforces its preferred tempo on a game. Duke really needs to bust that tendency here or they’re going to be in big trouble.
Against the Spread
One of the few high points of the Duke season is that they’ve been a money-maker for backers. They’re 0-2 ATS on the road in ACC play, but 10-6 in all other situations. This offense is so explosive that they can cover tall spreads when things are clicking. Miami has disappointed thus far, but has rallied from slow starts in the past.
Wednesday Nights are like Saturdays in terms of schedule volume, so it’s far from clear at press time if Duke/Miami is going to be part of the NETWORK card. You’ll have to purchase the final plays online Wednesday afternoon to find out! There are several games of interest in the colleges that may grade out stronger, and there are 10 games in the NBA worth pondering as well.
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Back Thursday to run the numbers in Colorado at #1 Arizona. Big game previews will continue through the weekend. The home for serious handicappers and Las Vegas bettors who want to GET THE MONEY is JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!