Arkansas vs. Duke – March Madness, Saturday, March 26, 2022
A spot in the Final Four is on the line as the No. 4 seed Arkansas Razorbacks take on the No. 2 seed Duke Blue Devils. Arkansas knocked out No. 1 Gonzaga, while Duke used a late surge to take down Texas Tech.
Duke wants to send Coach K out on top, but Arkansas will have something to say about that. Arkansas hasn’t made the Final Four since 1995, but they look like a National Championship caliber team.
Bovada continues to give us the early odds for all March Madness games. Let’s check them out for the West Region final.
Arkansas vs. Duke Odds for March 26th
It’s hard to pick a favorite for this matchup, but the Duke Blue Devils hold a four-point advantage. It looks like the sportsbooks aren’t quite buying into the Arkansas Razorbacks’ big victory over Gonzaga.
Arkansas has been great against the spread all season, but it has gone in the other direction. They’ve only covered three of their last eight games. They had a stretch of going over their point total in seven straight games but hit the under in their previous two games.
Neither team has anyone on the injury report, so we’ll see both teams at full strength for this Elite Eight matchup.
Both teams only need one more victory to make the Final Four. Let’s see what they have to do to advance.
Arkansas Razorbacks Preview
The Arkansas Razorbacks were the lone SEC team to make the Sweet 16. Arkansas came into the NCAA Tournament on the heels of an 18-point loss to Texas A&M in the SEC Tournament.
Then, they narrowly escaped with close wins over Vermont and New Mexico State. Arkansas played two different games, with their first-round matchup being 75-71. Their defense came up clutch with a 53-48 victory over New Mexico State.
Arkansas’ high-scoring offense returned with a big 74-68 victory over Gonzaga. They had three players with 15+ points, but no one was better than JD Notae.
- 21 points
- 6 rebounds
- 6 assists
- 3 steals
- 2 blocks
Notae stuffed the stat sheet with a team-high 21 points. His only issue is he needs volume to put up big scoring numbers. Arkansas victory over Gonzaga was his seventh straight game shooting under 35 percent. I don’t know how much longer he can get away with that.
Notae has received much attention, but Jaylin Williams has been putting up quality numbers. He has a double-double in three straight games, with his best performance coming against Gonzaga.
- 15 points
- 12 rebounds
- 3 assists
- 1 block
We’ve seen Arkansas’ offense and defense perform at a high level. They haven’t been a big defensive team this season, but that’ll have to change against an elite Duke Blue Devils offense. If not, their offense better put up big numbers.
We know Arkansas is capable of that. They beat a pair of great offenses in Vermont and Gonzaga. They have to knock off one more if they want to make their first Final Four in nearly 30 years.
Can Notae and Williams continue to put up big numbers? That’ll be the key for Arkansas.
Duke Blue Devils Preview
The Duke Blue Devils entered the NCAA Tournament in an interesting spot. I don’t think anyone questioned their talent, but we often saw them underperform. I’d say most expected that in the NCAA Tournament, but it hasn’t happened.
Duke didn’t have an issue with CSU Fullerton but faced a stiff test from Michigan State. They ultimately held them off to advance to the Sweet 16.
It looked like their run would end as they trailed Texas Tech most of the game. Then, they went on a 7-0 run to take a late five-point lead. Duke hung on to score a 78-73 victory.
Ahead of the Sweet 16, Paolo Banchero was one of my top sleepers for the 2022 March Madness MVP. Check out his numbers against Texas Tech.
- 22 points
- 4 rebounds
- 4 assists
- 3 steals
- 7-12 field goal shooting
- 3-4 three-point shooting
Between his great performance and Gonzaga’s loss, Banchero must be near the top of the leaderboard. He has 17+ points while shooting over 50 percent in all three NCAA Tournament teams.
Banchero has been firing on all cylinders, but he is far from their only offensive star. Duke has had five players score double-digits in each of their NCAA Tournament games. It’s hard to beat a team when their offense has that many weapons.
While Duke’s offense has been playing at a high level, I want to see what their defense can do against the Arkansas Razorbacks. They did a solid job against CSU Fullerton, but check out their points allowed in their last two games.
- Michigan State: 76 points
- Texas Tech: 73 points
It hasn’t been an issue because of their offense, but what if one or two of their stars has an off game? That could end Coach K’s career in the Elite Eight.
Arkansas vs. Duke Pick
Duke to Win-180
Both teams have looked strong in the NCAA Tournament, but the Duke Blue Devils offensive gives them the edge. I know the Arkansas Razorbacks have been scoring at a high clip, but how long can they continue to get away with a poor field goal percentage?
Arkansas had a nice run, but I think Duke makes the Final Four for the first time since 2015.
Fans can tune into Saturday’s Elite Eight matchup at 8:49 p.m. ET on TBS. Feel free to check out our basketball picks for more March Madness and NBA content.