The race for regular season conference titles in men’s college basketball continues to heat up this Monday with a pair of huge showdowns on the slate. Duke will most likely drop further in the rankings after Saturday’s loss to Clemson and it will face another stiff challenge in the ACC, while Iowa State will try and bounce back from a loss to Oklahoma in the Big 12 that will knock it out of the top 10.
Virginia Cavaliers at Duke Blue Devils (ESPN, 7:00 p.m. ET)
The Cavaliers started the season ranked No. 24 in the nation, but an early loss to VCU ended their brief stay in the rankings. They come into this matchup with an overall record of 12-4 straight up and a 3-0 record in conference play after Saturday’s 76-45 romp over North Carolina State as three-point road favorites. Virginia has now covered in four of its last five games to improve to 6-6 against the spread and the total has stayed UNDER in four of its last seven games.
Defense is still the name of the game for the Cavaliers. They are holding opposing teams to just 55.2 points a game, which is the third lowest total in the country. On the other end of the court Virginia is averaging 65.9 points a game and shooting 44.3 percent from the field. There is a trio of players averaging around 10 points per game led by Joe Harris (10.7 PPG). He is also the team’s top shooter; hitting 48.7 percent of his shots from the floor and 40.7 percent from 3-point range.
The Blue Devils’ 13-point loss (72-69) to the Tigers as 5 ½-point favorites on the road dropped them below .500 in ACC play at 1-2. They opened conference play with a stunning 79-77 loss to Notre Dame as 5 ½-point road favorites before beating Georgia Tech 79-57 as 15 ½-point favorites at home on Jan. 7. Duke is now 12-4 SU on the year with a 9-7 record ATS. The total has stayed UNDER in seven of its last 10 contests.
After the game, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski expressed his frustration with his team. He said, "We're not some powerhouse. We need to get a lot better."
This offense is generating an average of 82.7 PPG, but Duke has not reached that total in eight of its last 10 games. The 59 points scored against Clemson was by far its lowest total of the season. Freshman phenom Jabari Parker leads the Blue Devils with 19.5 PPG and 7.6 rebounds and he is shooting 49.6 percent from the field and 40.4 percent from beyond the arc. Rodney Hood remains the team’s best pure shooter with 52.2 field goal percentage and he is chipping in another 18.6 PPG.
The Blue Devils opened as 7 ½-point home favorites over Virginia for Monday.
The road team in this matchup is 15-5-1 ATS in the last 21 meetings and the total has stayed UNDER in eight of the last 10 games between these two.
Kansas Jayhawks at Iowa State Cyclones (ESPN, 9:00 p.m.)
Kansas should make a slight move up the rankings this week after pasting No. 25 Kansas State 86-60 this past Saturday as an 11 ½-point home favorite. The Jayhawks are now 11-4 SU with a 2-0 record in the conference. They opened play in the Big 12 with a 90-83 victory over Oklahoma on Jan. 8 as six-point road favorites. Kansas is still below .500 ATS with a record of 7-8 after failing to cover in six of its last 10 games. The total has gone OVER in five of its last six outings.
Freshman Andrew Wiggins has led the way for the Jayhawks with 15.7 PPG. He is shooting 44.6 percent from the field and pulling down 5.4 RPG. Joel Embiid leads the team with 7.3 RPG and he is one of four players scoring in double figures. Kansas, as a whole, is averaging 79.1 PPG and shooting a solid 50.1 percent from the field. It has scored 80 points or more in five of its last six games.
The Cyclones’ loss to Oklahoma this past weekend snapped a 14-game winning streak to start the year. During this impressive run they knocked off Michigan and Iowa in the Big Ten and they opened conference play with an 87-72 victory over then-No. 7 Baylor on Jan. 7 as 7 ½-point home favorites. Iowa State is 5-2 ATS in its last seven games (9-4 ATS overall) and the total has stayed UNDER in five of those games.
This is another team that can put points on the board with an average of 86.7 PPG, which is ranked sixth nationally. Iowa State is shooting 49.5 percent from the field and 35.6 percent from 3-point range while converting on 70.3 percent of its attempts from the foul line. The Cyclones have four players scoring in double figures led by Melvin Ejim’s 18 points a game. DeAndre Kane is second with 16.5 points and he leads in assists with 6.1 as part of a team average of 18.9 assists that is the highest total in the country.
Kane injured his ankle in Saturday's game at Oklahoma and his status is 'questionable' for Monday.
The Cyclones come into this conference clash as slight two-point home favorites over Kansas.
Kansas is 12-1 ATS in its last 13 conference games but this series is tied 3-3 ATS in the last six meetings. The Jayhawks swept last season’s series SU including an 88-73 victory as 5 ½-point favorites in the Big 12 Tournament’s title game. The total has gone OVER in six of the last seven meetings.