Madison Square Garden is the host site for one of the best games in college basketball this week. The Duke Blue Devils and Texas Tech Red Raiders will square off in a top-12 battle of teams that should be tough to beat come March. Duke is the number-two ranked team in college basketball, while Texas Tech checks in at number 12 in the latest AP rankings.
Texas Tech brings a perfect 10-0 record into the game on Thursday night, but the Red Raiders have played a horrible schedule to this point. Their biggest win of the season came in a game against Nebraska earlier this season. Duke has improved their record to 10-1 entering this game, and have several impressive wins on their resume. The Blue Devils are an 8.0 point favorite in this game.
Duke Freshmen Continue to Shine
The Duke Blue Devils are led by a trio of terrific freshmen that all look like one and done players. Zion Williamson gets all of the headlines, but RJ Barrett might be the best college basketball player in the country this season. Barrett leads the Blue Devils with 24.5 points per game while shooting 36 percent from the three-point line. Williamson has chipped in with 20.1 points and a team-high 9.1 rebounds per game. If you throw in the shooting ability of Cam Reddish, you have a trio that can lead Duke on a deep run in March.
Duke is able to use their length and athleticism to limit teams on the defensive end of the floor. The Blue Devils are giving up just 64.3 points per game, and are one of the best rebounding teams in college basketball. Duke is grabbing over 46 rebounds per game, which is the second-best total in the country. Defense and rebounding lead to easy transition buckets for the explosive offense.
Red Raiders Can Defend
The Red Raiders don’t have the offense to keep up with Duke, but they do feature the best defense in the country. Texas Tech is giving up just 51.2 points per game this season, although most of this work has been done against inferior opponents. The Red Raiders have limited opponents to just 32.2 percent shooting from the field, but that number will be tested on Thursday night.
Texas Tech has just two players averaging double-figures on offense this season, and they must get better offensively. Sophomore guard Jarrett Culver is leading the team with 19.1 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game. Culver will need to lead the team in a big way if they are going to pull off the upset. Matt Mooney is the only other Red Raider in double-figures, averaging 11.0 points per game. Texas Tech will need to get more offense against the Blue Devils.
Blue Devils Roll Over Texas Tech
Texas Tech has gotten off to a great start this season, but it is hard to tell just how good they really are. The Red Raiders can defend, but their offense doesn’t resemble anything close to a top-25 team. Duke has been impressive in every game this season, and they are clearly the most talented team in the country. Look for the Blue Devils to assert their dominance over Texas Tech in a blowout win over the Red Raiders. Bet Duke -8.0 over Texas Tech on Thursday night.