Duke didn’t finish with the best record in their conference, but they might be the biggest threat to Kentucky’s undefeated season. The Blue Devils enter the ACC Conference Tournament with the best odds of winning an automatic bid to the field of 68, and they are the second favorite to win the national championship.
Despite finishing one game behind Virginia in the regular-season ACC standings, Duke finds themselves as the No.2 team in the country. Going 15-3 in the ACC and not losing a game outside of conference play, head coach Mike Krzyzewski and Co. has 5/4 betting odds to win the ACC Tournament, according to Bovada.lv.
Ending the regular season with 11 consecutive victories, Duke beat North Carolina, 84-77, on Saturday night. It was their second win over the Tar Heels this season, giving them eight victories against ranked opponents.
Even though No.3 Virginia finished atop the ACC standings, their odds of winning the conference tournament are 9/5. Duke went on the road and defeated Virginia in their only head-to-head matchup of the 2014-2015 season, handing the Cavaliers one of their two losses.
If the two teams meet in the ACC Championship, it would be a rematch of last year. Virginia beat Duke, 72-63, giving them their first ACC title in 38 years. The Blue Devils went on to lose to No.14 Mercer in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Duke has won the tournament 10 times since 1999, though they’ve failed to win the championship in three straight years.
Duke has had a number of disappointing finishes during March Madness in recent years, reaching the Final Four in just one of the last 10 seasons. But, this year’s team might have a better chance of making the national title game than most of the Blue Devils’ teams in the past decade. Duke finished this season with their best conference record since 2005-2006, and they have the likely No.1 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.
Jahlil Okafor was named the ACC Player of the Year, averaging 17.6 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. His 66.8 field-goal percentage is tops in the conference, and he finished the regular season with 11 double-doubles, scoring in single-digits just once in 30 games.
Before the final week of the regular season, Duke’s national championship odds were 17/2. Only undefeated Kentucky ranked ahead of them with 1/1 betting odds.