#1 Duke Blue Devils
#4 Purdue Boilermakers
Vegas Odds: Duke -8
How Duke Got Here: Duke 68 - California 53
How Purdue Got Here: Purdue 63 - Texas A&M 61
Why Watch? For all the talk about Duke not deserving a #1 seed, they've certainly played like it, winning their first two games with ease. Purdue, despite being a 4 seed, has surprised most by getting this far. The #2 offense in the country against the #4 defense makes for a good chess match.
Why Purdue will win:
Despite all the Robbie Hummell talk, Purdue has still worked their way into the Sweet Sixteen. The formula is simple: Chris Kramer provides the grit, E'Twaun Moore provides some scoring punch, JaJuan Johnson controls the paint, and the rest of the team plays solid defense.
Boilermaker to Watch:
Chris Kramer, G - 7 ppg, 3 rpg, 2 apg
Simply put, without Kramer's 17-point effort (not to mention his leadership) against A&M, the Boilers would have lost by 10. Against Duke, only having 2 players score will not cut it, and either Kramer or Keaton Grant will have to provide consistent scoring punch.
Why Duke will win:
People railed against Duke's #1 seed, but this team has earned it every step of the way. The #2 offense, the #3 defense, the #12 SOS, 3rd in the RPI, a 31-5 record, and 14 wins in their last 15 games. What's not to like?
Blue Devil to Watch:
Kyle Singler, F - 18 ppg, 7 rpg, 2 apg
The stat-line looks pretty good, but Singler's season was somewhat disappointing to due to weak shooting %'s and an overall lack of dominant play. If Duke hopes to overcome the Boilers 4th ranked defense, they'll need Singler to not just be good, but to be the great player many think he can be.
How it will go down:
Duke hasn't been past the Sweet Sixteen since 2004, so you almost expect them to choke here.. but I think this is a rare underrated Duke squad that will win by a score line similar to the Cal game.. something like 70-58.
Betting Pick: Duke
Real Pick: Duke