Injuries Could Lead To Upsets For Top 10 Teams Duke, Missouri On Saturday
There were two key injuries on Tuesday night in college basketball that could lead to No. 1 and unbeaten Duke falling at No. 20 North Carolina State and No. 10 Missouri being upset at Ole Miss on Saturday.
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Duke (15-0) beat Clemson for the 27th time in the past 29 meetings on Tuesday 68-40. The Blue Devils had a 15-point lead at the half, holding Clemson to just 10 points. The Tigers shot a woeful 3-for-25 from the field in scoring their fewest points in the first half of a game since 2001.
Blue Devils star Ryan Kelly outscored Clemson by two points himself before intermission. However, Kelly didn't play in the second half after re-injuring his right foot. That foot has been a problem of late for the 6-foot-11 inside/outside force. Kelly hurt it back in December and it's the same foot that forced Kelly to miss last season's ACC and NCAA Tournaments. Without Kelly, Duke was upset in the ACC semifinals by Florida State and then stunned by No. 15 seed Lehigh in the Blue Devils' NCAA Tournament opener.
As of this writing, X-rays were inconclusive on Kelly, but it seems likely he'll miss Saturday's game at the Wolfpack at a minimum. The senior averages 13.4 points - shooting a very good 47.2% from the field and an excellent 52.1% from three-point range - 5.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. He was last week's ACC Player of the Week.
Certainly a Kelly absence would affect Saturday's line. Duke and NC State played just once last season, a 78-73 Blue Devils win at Cameron Indoor Stadium. It was one of the most memorable comebacks in school history as the Blue Devils were down 16 at halftime and 20 with just under 12 minutes remaining. It was the largest halftime deficit ever overcome by Duke under Mike Krzyzewski and second-largest overall in school history. NC State hasn't beaten Duke since upsetting the then-No. 6 Blue Devils 88-74 in Raleigh on January 20, 2010. Before that, the Wolfpack hadn't beaten Duke since 2007 and hadn't beaten the Blue Devils at home since 2004.
There will be Live Betting on the Duke-NC State game at the book.
Meanwhile, No. 10 Missouri (12-2, 6-4 ATS) looks like an SEC title contender in its first season in the conference. The Tigers rolled in their SEC debut on Tuesday, beating Alabama 84-68. Mizzou was a 10-point favorite and covered for the fourth game in a row.
However, the Tigers lost their best player, senior forward Laurence Bowers, to a right knee injury with about six minutes remaining in the game. The school feared the worst because Bowers missed all of last season due to a torn ACL, although that was in the left knee. On Wednesday, it was announced that Bowers has just a sprained MCL. He will certainly miss Saturday's game at Mississippi and at least one more. Bowers leads Missouri in scoring at 16.8 points per game and is second in averaging 6.9 rebounds. The Tigers lead the nation in rebounding.
Saturday will be only Missouri's second true road game, and the Tigers lost the first: 97-94 in overtime to UCLA in late December. Ole Miss is 8-0 at home this season (3-0 ATS) but has played only one BCS conference team there: Rutgers. The Rebels haven't faced a ranked foe yet. They are also a very good rebounding team, ranking No. 20, so Bowers' absence could be costly for Missouri. Ole Miss' Murphy Holloway, a 6-foot-7, 240-pound bruiser, leads the SEC in rebounding, while guard Marshall Henderson leads the conference in scoring.
Other Live Betting Games
The book will offer Miami (Fla.) at North Carolina and Kentucky at Vanderbilt on Thursday night. The Hurricanes are looking to open ACC play at 2-0 for the first time but they are five-point road underdogs. Miami is 2-18 all-time against UNC and 1-10 in Chapel Hill. UM hasn't beaten the Heels since 2006. Carolina has covered in four of the past five meetings and is 7-0 at home this season (4-1 ATS).
Kentucky is a 12.5-point road favorite at Vandy in the SEC opener for both. The Wildcats can get a little payback. UK ran the table in the SEC regular season in 2011-12 but was upset by the Commodores in the SEC Tournament Championship. Essentially every key player on both sides is gone. This season, Vanderbilt is one of the nation's worst offensive teams (59.7 ppg, 42.0% shooting), while UK is one of the best (79.2 ppg, 49.2% shooting). Kentucky has lost its two true road games this season and has covered just once in its past five against Vanderbilt.
Also available live at the book this weekend is North Carolina at Florida State (Saturday) and No. 2 Michigan at No. 15 Ohio State (Sunday). The Wolverines could be the lone remaining unbeaten team in the nation when they take the floor. The Buckeyes already have lost at home to ranked team this season, falling to Kansas.
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