This is one of the best non-conference matchups in all of college basketball. Duke has been impressive in their two games this season without Coach K and also Kansas has looked good after winning the Championship last year. This should be an interesting matchup because it will be the first big test for each team. Let’s take a look at the odds and make some picks and predictions for this game!
Duke vs. Kansas Odds
Duke is a 1-point favorite on the neutral site in Indianapolis against Kansas. There are no money line odds out just yet for either team. The over/under is also at 141.5. These two teams seem to be more equal than not, but it’s still early in the season too. The over/under seems about right because both of these teams play very good offense and hold up on the defensive end. Since this is a neutral site game, this truly feels like a toss-up and the odds reflect that too.
Duke vs. Kansas Prediction & Pick
The Pick: Kansas +1
Kansas is my pick here because while they lost a lot after winning the title last year, they still are loaded with talent and have looked impressive in the early season so far. The Jayhawks are also starting the season without their head coach with Bill Self suspended for the first four games. That suspension was due to Kansas self-imposing a punishment from some of the FBI cases that came out five years ago. Despite that, the Jayhawks seem like they haven’t missed a beat. In the Big 12, they are a top two scoring team, a top three team in field goal percentage, the best rebounding team, top four in point differential, and top two in blocks. Also, Jalen Wilson might be the best player on the court for either team. He’s taken a huge step forward so far, after flirting with the NBA last season. Duke’s also been very good and so far, hasn’t missed a beat under Jon Scheyer. The issue with Duke is that they are very young and don’t have a ton of experience, which will matter in some way, especially in the Tournament. Kansas has a good mix of experienced players and younger talent, which is why they are the better pick, just slightly, against the Blue Devils in Indianapolis.
Duke vs. Kansas Key Matchups
Can Duke’s wings contain Jalen Wilson? Can Kansas’ front court slow down Dereck Lively?
Jalen Wilson vs the Duke Wings
Jalen Wilson is the go-to player for Kansas across the board. In Kansas’ short season so far, Wilson is averaging 20 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 46.2 % from three-point range, and 45.5% from the field overall. All he’s doing is making his NBA Draft stock rise a ton. The two starters for Duke that will see the most time defending Wilson are Jacob Grandison, a transfer from Illinois, and one of their very talented freshmen, Dariq Whitehead. Grandison will probably spend the most time on him because he is the more experienced player, and there’s a more evidence of him being a good defender. Duke may even try Kyle Filipowski on him just to have a size difference too. However, Wilson has proven to be a matchup nightmare, so Duke’s first order of business is to slow him down.
Dereck Lively vs the Kansas Front Court
Dereck Lively is the best player Duke has and he’s just a freshman. In the Blue Devils short season so far, he’s only played in one game due to an early injury, but he has the ability to have a huge game against Kansas. He was also not that impressive in his debut, only scoring 4 points, having 2 rebounds, and 2 blocks. He will be the tallest player on the court in this game, and could definitely cause issues for the Jayhawks. Zach Clemence is going to see the majority of his time on Lively here and he’s three inches shorter, but 10 pounds heavier. To throw Duke off, Kansas could also throw a combination of Gradey Dick and Jalen Wilson at him as well, depending on how much he scares Kansas. He hasn’t done much for the Blue Devils yet, but Kansas needs to be prepared here because of his potential.