Regarding last night’s loser on the Steelers: WTF? Nobody informed me there would be a Byron Leftwich sighting. (This is why the good lord invented in-game wagering.) As for tonight’s play on Duke, it’s really more of a play against Kentucky. Why play against the defending national champs when they’re catching points on a neutral court against an opponent that they’re beating in recruiting with regularity? Because John Calipari’s unofficial NBA farm team is extremely raw, with three true freshmen in the starting lineup. That won’t be a big deal come March, when the kids will have had four months to gel, but it’s going to be a problem tonight. That’s because Duke has an experienced roster that includes 6-foot-11 senior Ryan Kelly and 6-foot-10 senior Mason Plumlee down low, with senior Seth Curry and junior Tyler Thornton roaming the perimeter.
The Kelly-Mason combination is the key here, as Kentucky got manhandled on the boards in Friday’s season opener against Maryland (the Terps fell 72-69 despite a 54-38 edge in rebounding). Another key: Kentucky starting guard Ryan Harrow is expected to miss this game because of the flu. Harrow’s backup: a former walk-on.
Finally, this game is especially personal to Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who has lost blue-chippers to Calipari in recent years, so you know he not only wants to win badly, but he wants to
win big. Put it this way: The Blue Devils, who are ranked ninth and haven’t covered a point spread in any of their last seven games dating to February, are favored against the third-ranked, defending-national-champion Wildcats. Seems like the oddsmakers are trying to tell us something, no?
Rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Monday’s Result: Steelers -12.5 vs. Chiefs (loss)