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Is Duke a Good Bet to Win the 2022 NCAA Tournament?

By Dan Vasta in College Basketball
| September 1, 2021 8:32 am PDT

March and Duke basketball are often used in the same sentence, but this wasn’t the case last year.

The Blue Devils had a disappointing and underwhelming 2020-21 campaign. They started in the preseason Top 10 and failed to make the dance for the first time since Coach K missed most of the 1994-95 season due to a back ailment.

The expectations are lofty, and most believe Duke will start the season in the Top 10 for the 14th straight season.

It is time to discuss whether or not the Duke Blue Devils are a good bet to win the 2022 NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Duke’s 2022 March Madness Odds

The Blue Devils look like a stellar value this season across most sportsbooks.

Is Mike Krzyzewski capable of winning one final national title? The odds keep Duke in the mix, and Sportsbetting.ag is presently the best site to back the Blue Devils if you feel so inclined.

Duke has been one of the more watchable teams in NCAA Tournament history. Many folks enjoy seeing them get upset, and many argue the sport is at its best when Duke is competing for the national title.

So, is Duke a great bet to win it all this year? Let’s break things down from both sides to assess whether or not the Blue Devils can win the NCAA tourney in 2022.

Why Duke Will Win It All

Duke has been one of the best programs in college basketball. They haul in the top recruits and have been able to post successful regular seasons.

The expectations will remain high, and the team has one final chance to win one for Coach K.

Here are the top reasons why the Blue Devils will win the national title in 2021-22.

Mike Krzyzewski

There may not be a better coach in the history of college basketball. John Wooden has the most titles (11), but Krzyzewski has the wins (1,170), and the month of March dominance since seeding began in 1979 (five championships).

Duke has been one of the most loyal and hated programs in all sports. The amount of hatred towards classic Dukies has been the talk around college hoops. Christian Laettner, JJ Redick, and Grayson Allen have been unlikeable for most, but they were known for winning.

Coach K has recruited star-studded players over the decades. The recruiting classes have been among the best in the country, and his ability to turn them into future NBA stars has been impressive.

Duke has one of its more talented rosters heading into the year, but the assistants Coach K has at his disposal have helped the program. Jon Scheyer, who is taking over from him after next season, is one of the many former players now coaching at Duke.

The team has had a belief that they can win it all every season, but even a Hall of Fame legend can struggle at times.

Duke was left for dead last year and nearly backed their way into the dance. They will have a chance to be a top seed with a few freshmen leading the way to put Duke basketball back on the map before Krzyzewski calls it a career.

ACC Knows How to Win Titles

The ACC has been the best basketball conference in America over the years. They continue to dominate the tournament with Final Four squads.

The ACC plays its best in April, having won the most tiles and having appeared in several Final Fours since 2000.

  • Most Titles Since 2000 (eight)
  • Duke has three of the eight titles
  • Duke has been a 1-seed, ten times since 2000 (most)

The program has not won a national title or appeared in the Final Four since 2015.

The ACC has gone 8-2 in national title games since 2001. The Big Ten is 0-7, and the Big 12 is only 2-3. The ACC has also seen a pair of 1-seeds in the same tournament on six occasions. It has only happened 14 times in the history of the sport.

The ACC is the SEC of football and will continue to dominate due to its rich history. North Carolina is arguably a top-two program, and Duke isn’t far behind. Adding the likes of Syracuse and Louisville has only added to the conference after losing Maryland in 2014.

The conference will be good like it often is, and Duke will benefit from that on Selection Sunday.

Why Duke Won’t Win It All

Duke will try to win one final title for Coach K before he rides off in the sunset.

Sadly, this is real life and not a Disney movie. They missed the dance last season and have a way to go in terms of competing for a national title.

Here are the top reasons why Duke comes up short of winning a title this season.

The Lack of Dominant Guards

The lack of guards that could create or connect from the outside was appalling last season. Duke is known for its shooting ability, but they have struggled a bit lately.

They had issues from long range last year, and the problems stretched to both ends of the floor.

  • 35.6% three-point percentage allowed (269th)
  • 35.2% three-point percentage made (101st)

Jeremy Roach, Joey Baker, Wendell Moore, AJ Griffin, and Trevor Keels are capable guards/wings, but their shooting ability is a question mark.

The hope is that Keels and Griffin will be able to knock shots down in pressure situations. Moore did not do well in stretches last season, and there were times that he sat the bench.

Baker is a respectable shooter, and is a jump shot one at that. Creating his shot is not his game. Keels and Griffin have athleticism, but they are unproven freshmen that will go through struggles.

The elite programs that win titles have often had experienced players that come through in the clutch. Gonzaga and Baylor are prime examples from last season.

If Duke cannot get back to one of the better offenses in the ACC, they could struggle in the powerhouse conference.

Missing the tournament was a disaster last season, and many believe they can win it all. If they don’t improve by a ton, a team that hovers in and out of the Top 25 will not cut it. The guards need to produce, or Coach K won’t get half the sendoff that he would like.

Pressure, Expectations, and Inexperience

Duke has been one of the younger teams for years. Many point to youth as a reason why they have failed to reach the Final Four since 2015.

There were times when most of the five on the court were all freshmen or sophomores. Jordan Goldwire and Matthew Hurt are no longer on the roster, so they will need to rely on a collective effort from the team.

Paolo Banchero should be one of the top players in the country, and he alone could make Duke a problem.

Mark Williams could become a double-double monster in the paint, too, but their lack of experience could haunt them down the stretch of the season.

Their non-conference features Gonzaga, Ohio State, and Kentucky. All three could be one of the better teams in the nation. The team will have its obstacles in front of them, and the pressure could mount during coach Krzyzewski’s final season.

The ACC has many tough outs once the New Year hits. If there are enough losses, being a top seed could be out the door before the conference season begins.

Are the Blue Devils a Good Bet in 2021-22?

Duke has more talent than most teams heading into the 2021-22 season, but they still have a way to go before becoming a national title contender.

They are amongst the top five teams betting favorites across most college basketball betting sites.

They bring decent value based on their talent level, but the obstacles will be there all season.

Jeremy Roach needs to become a stud at point guard. If not, they will have some issues like last year. Duke’s best teams always have premier guards that can defend the ball with the best of them. Roach will improve defensively, but he barely cracked double-digit points last season (12 games, three games of 15-plus).

I am selling the Blue Devils as a national title contender with many others around them capable of advancing further in the dance. They will be a Top 20 squad, but don’t buy a national title ticket in the final season of Coach K’s career.

You may also enjoy these NCAA Tournament odds articles.

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