Michigan #15 vs. Duke #6
Maui Invite Second Round
Spread: Duke -7
Moneyline: Duke -300, Mich +250
Tip off: 4 PM EST
(Betting Odds taken from Bodog)
The sixth ranked Blue Devils are undfeated but now face the tough task of the 15th ranked Michigan Wolverines. Duke has started 5-0 out of the gates, and is 13-0 at the Maui Invite after their 77-67 win over the Volunteers on Monday. Duke has won 4 titles, the most of any program in the Invite’s history.
Michigan has been hot too. They are 4-0 and beat 8th ranked Memphis 73-61 in the first round of the trournament on Monday. Duke beat Michigan 73-71 in March last year, so this is a big game for both programs to use as a measuring stick to see how well they stack up in comparison to last year. Duke added Austin Rivers, and a host of other talent, while Michigan will rely heavily upon returning guard Tim Hardaway Jr. Through 5 games, Rivers is averaging 14.2 points per game and looks like he is going to be a legit NBA prospect, possibly the #1 pick as speculated. Coach K said “He’s not afraid. He’s going to be a terrific player for us.”
Another terrific player for the Blue Devils is Mason Plumlee, who is now averaging a double double with 11.4 points per game and 10.6 rebounds per night. Plumlee, a 6’10″ senior center, has shown glimpses of ability as a post scorer at times and shot 60% from the floor last season. He’s also proven to be the best defensively of the Plumlees.
Coach K isn’t discounting the talent of Michigan.
“It will be difficult for us,..John does a great job. He’ got a veteran team.”
Last season, part of that veteran team, the 6’5″ son of former NBA legend Tim Hardaway came out and began to show signs of being much more than just the spot up shooter he had been up until last year. He avearged over 16 points per game over the final 15 games of the season and hit 46% from behind the arc. They may have lost Darius Morris to the NBA, but Hardaway promises to be an NBA prospect in his own right. Really, if he can develop as a creator for others, the sky is the limit for Hardaway. Ultimately, it will lie on Hardaways shoulders as to whether Michigan can improve on its 21-14 record they held one year ago.
Hardaway scored 15 in the NCAA tournament game against Duke and he had 21 points, 7 rebs, and 5 asts in the win over Memphis on Monday. Hardaway is averaging 16.0 points per game so far while playing 32 minutes per game. He’s shooting 47.8% from the floor and 30% from 3 point range. The only other Wolverine in double figure scoring average is Trey Burke, who is putting up 11.0 points per game this year, while dialing up 35.3% of his threes. Michigan must improve their free throw shooting to have a chance in close games. Thus far this season, they are 62.1% as a team from the line.
So far it is Seth Curry leading the way in scoring for Duke. He is averaging 16.0 points per game and 3.6 rebounds per game, to go with 3.2 assists per night and 2.0 steals. He and Rivers are the only Blue Devils averaging more than 30 minutes per game, while Andre Dawkins is seeing 26.6 minutes per night in the backcourt and putting up 10.2 points per game on 45.7% field goal percentage. Rivers is the only of Duke’s backcourt not shooting above 40% from behind the arc. Curry is at 52.4%, while Dawkins is a solid 44% and Ryan Kelly is 40%, as well. So far, Josh Hairston has not been a factor, and Tyler Thornton has been very ineffective.
This game should be a great show down between two programs that clashed last March. It meant an early exit from the tournament for Michigan, a popular underdog bet for bettors last year. Hardaway is going to have to get bigger contributions from his teammates for Michigan to win this game, though covering the 7 point spread is of course far more likely.
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