Duke vs Arkansas prediction: NCAA Tournament Elite 8 pick and college basketball game preview.
Duke vs Arkansas Game Preview, How To Watch
Date: Saturday, March 26
Game Time: 6:09 pm
Venue: Chase Center, San Francisco, CA
How To Watch: TBS
Records: Duke (2 seed, 31-6)
Arkansas (4 seed, 28-8)
Why Arkansas Will Win
Size doesn’t seem to be an issue.
It’s not like Arkansas is small, but Duke is one of the bigger teams in the tournament. Gonzaga was one of the bigger teams in the tournament, and the Hogs didn’t get destroyed on the boards in the 74-68 win.
Speed isn’t an issue.
Yeah, Arkansas likes to bog teams down at times – at least that’s the party line – but it really is at its best on the move. It’s more than happy playing defensive slugfests, but when this group gets running and gets to use its passing ability and creativity, that’s when it takes things up a few notches.
The key will be to hold down Duke when it gets a little late momentum. No one was able to spurt out points this season than Gonzaga, and Arkansas kept that from happening.
The Hogs aren’t shooting well, but they’re forcing a ton of turnovers, they kept Gonzaga to under 40% shooting and New Mexico State under 35%, and Duke is 13-6 this season when it shoots under 50% and 18-0 when it shoots that or better.
How many teams have hit 50% or better from the field against Arkansas? Exactly two. Oklahoma did it, and Texas A&M did it twice.
Why Duke Will Win
Texas Tech had one of the nastiest most suffocating defenses in the tournament, and Duke ripped through it like butter in the second half.
Seriously, who shoots 52% from the field against the Red Raiders and basically doesn’t miss over the last seven minutes?
TCU made 50% of its shots against Texas Tech in a late February win, and that’s the only team to get to the mark until Thursday night. By a mile, that was the best shooting performance by anyone against the Red Raiders all year.
The Blue Devils have found their groove.
They’ve hit 51% or better in each of the last three games and hit 49% or more in eight of their last nine.
It’s a young team that seemed to grow up over the last two weeks. Anyone else buckles against Texas Tech in that game after taking what seemed to be a knockout punch early. Now the NBA talent is coming through inside and out, the rebounds are there, and this group is playing a little D, too.
And Duke has a coach who seems to know what he’s doing.
Duke vs Arkansas: What’s Going To Happen
Okay, let’s just say it out loud.
Nothing against the great win by Arkansas, but Gonzaga was always just a weeeeeee bit overloved for most of this season. Then again, no one in this tournament seems to have a lick of respect for the teams that rocked throughout the regular season – Arizona, Auburn, and Kentucky were all rudely shown the door – and Arkansas certainly wasn’t intimidated.
Yeah, the retirement of Mike Krzyzewski angle is being played up a bit much, but he and his staff really are pitching a slew of gems.
Here’s the thing about beating Arkansas. You can’t turn the ball over against that D, and Duke has been careful. You have to make the extra pass – Gonzaga had only nine assists – and Duke has been okay at that.
And you have to hit your threes. You don’t have to make a ton of them, but you have to make them when you take them.
Arkansas is 0-3 when teams make more than 47% from three, and it’s 5-5 when teams hit 40% or better. It’s 15-1 when teams make fewer than 29% of their threes.
As long as Duke makes the open shots when it has the opportunity, it’ll be fine. As long as Duke gets to the free throw line it’ll keep the Krzyzewski era going.
Duke vs Arkansas Prediction: NCAA Tournament Sweet 16, Lines
Prediction: Duke 75, Arkansas 71
Line: Duke -3.5, o/u: 147
ATS Confidence out of 5: 2
Duke vs Arkansas Must See Rating: 5
5: North Macedonia