Can Army West Point rise to the occasion and make this contest closer than expected or will Duke roll over the Black Knights for an easy win this home opener? BookMaker.eu is the place for the latest odds and to get a part of the action on this game.
Army Black Knights vs. Duke Blue Devils
Date and Time: Sunday, November 11, 2018, 1 p.m. ET
Location: Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, NC
College Basketball Odds: Check Back Later
Black Knights vs. Blue Devils TV Coverage: ESPN
This Army team from West Point won just 13 games last year, the same total they put up the season prior. They’ve lounged in the same area for the first two years under head coach Jimmy Allen, but this is the year they’ve been building towards.
The team is full of experience with Jordan Fox, Jacob Kessler, Tommy Funk and Matt Wilson all upperclassmen. That’s a lot of experience in the starting lineup for Army, particularly compared to four freshman starting for Duke. We’ll get to that in a moment.
Back to the Black Knights, they’ve got a solid backcourt with Funk and Fox. They’re solid shooters on the outside and the team has several other sharp shooters on the outside that the duo can feed on the perimeter. That’s where the Black Knights will have to live if they’re going to surprise Duke - and the nation - and keep this game from being a complete blowout.
Army was a higher scoring team last year and will need to tighten its defense, particularly against a high-powered team like Duke.
The Black Knights come into this game fresh off a win in their season opener, topping Marist by four. In that game, Funk and Fox combined for 29 points. Funk nabbed six assists. Matt Wilson, meanwhile, shot 8-for-8 from the floor and sank eight free throws for 24 total points.
On the other side of this matchup, Duke lacks the experience of Army, but has just as much depth and a collection of truly elite freshman.
In an epic recruiting class, Coach K brought in four freshman who stepped right into starting roles: R.J. Barrett, Zion Williamson, Cam Reddish and Tre Jones.
Barrett and Williamson both broke the Duke record for points scored by a freshman in his debut, topping the 25 scored by Marvin Bagley III last year.
In the opener, Barrett scored 33 points, sinking half of his shots and adding six rebounds. Williamson scored 28 points, going 11-for-13. Cam Reddish added 22 points of his own. That’s 83 points from three freshman.
Off the bench, Alex O’Connell is a great shooter and scored nine in just 11 minutes while Jack White had 11 rebounds and nine points of his own.
As impressive as these numbers are on their own, they’re even more impressive when you consider they came against Kentucky. The Wildcats also entered the season as a preseason top-5 team and Duke scored 118 points against them, the most they’ve ever given up under Coach Calipari. Duke beat another elite program in Kentucky by 34 points.
After shocking the college basketball world with such an offensive explosion and easy win over a very good, and more experienced, Kentucky team, there is a threat of a letdown against a team like the Black Knights. While we could see Army hold close early in the first half, that figures to be short lived. A home opener still brings a bit of excitement and the Duke freshman core are still early enough in their college hoops careers to maintain excitement and energy regardless of opponent.
The Army team has good experience and good depth, but Duke is a beast with one of the best recruiting classes we’ve seen for any program in a long, long time. Talent wins. Look for the online sportsbooks to favor them as a result.
Player to Watch
With the Blue Devils going off on Kentucky and three freshman scoring at least 22-points, it’s hard to pick just one, but while Williamson and Barrett are the premier talents, Cam Reddish is the ideal fit into Coach K’s system.
The small forward didn’t shoot as well from the floor against Kentucky as Williamson or Barrett and didn’t score as many points, putting up 22, behind the record-setting numbers of the other two superstar freshman, but he sank all seven of his free throws which is key. He also had six assists in 24 minutes on the floor.
Reddish is almost an afterthought on this team with Williamson and Barrett the stars and Jones getting notoriety because of his brother.
With Williamson and Barrett pulling defensive coverage and Jones helping set up a threat outside, Reddish could be the one to take advantage. He’s the one that helps this offense truly go. Tuesday was the first time he suited up due to injury in the preseason and he didn’t disappoint. His presence helped Duke explode in their regular season debut. There are so many threats and Army just doesn’t have the man power to give that much attention to Williamson, Barrett and Reddish.
Black Knights vs. Blue Devils Live Betting Free Pick
It took all Army had to topple Marist in their season opener while Duke annihilated Kentucky in their opener. That doesn’t bode well for the Black Knights.
There is a letdown game narrative here for Duke and it’s reasonable to think Army will step up its game to the competition a bit, but the freshman starting lineup in Durham made a statement. This is a highly talented team and they don’t need any time to come together as a unit. Look for more big performances by Barrett, Williamson and the lot on their way to another major win on Sunday afternoon. Experience is great, but talent is the ultimate trump card.
Check out all the live betting at BookMaker.eu for this week’s college basketball matchups.
Army vs. Duke ATS Pick: This should ultimately be an easy win for the Blue Devils. Keep an eye on the online sportsbooks for the latest NCAA basketball betting spread and total. In the end, look for a blowout win for Duke despite the potential letdown storyline in this one. Give the points and take Duke at BookMaker.eu.
Army vs. Duke Score Prediction: Duke 101, Army 68
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