With one day in the books in the Round of 64, Duke will start off Day 2 of the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
The Blue Devils are scheduled to play the Albany Great Danes in the first of 16 games on Friday. The two teams will square off in Philadelphia at 12:15 p.m. ET. The contest will air on TV on CBS, but viewers can watch a free live stream online at ncaa.com.
Duke starts play in the Midwest region as the No.2 seed. They are heavily favored over No.15 Albany. The point spread at most Las Vegas casinos has the Great Danes getting 18.5 points.
It’s extremely unlikely that Albany will pull off the upset, but Duke knows all too well that they will get Albany’s best effort. Last year, Duke lost their first March Madness game as a No.2 seed. They were shocked by Leigh in a 75-70 loss.
The No.15 seed has won in the first round (now the second round) six times in the history of the tourney. In 2012, No.15 Norfolk State also beat No.2 Missouri last year.
On Thursday, No.14 Harvard pulled off one of the all-time greatest upsets by defeating No.3 New Mexico. No.1 Gonzaga barely escaped No.16 Southern University, almost becoming the first top seed to lose their opening game.
Albany might not be the best candidate to be this year’s Cinderella. They finished fifth in the America East, losing seven games in one of the worst Division 1 conferences. The Great Danes are 250th in the nation in scoring, compared to the Blue Devils, who come in at sixth with 78.3 points per game.
For much of the season, Duke played shorthanded with Ryan Kelly out of the lineup. The power forward, however, is healthy and ready to help his team go on a run to the Final Four. The club is 17-1 when Kelly plays, but 10-4 with him on the bench.
Led by Mason Plumlee and Seth Curry, Duke has five players that average at least 12.4 points per game. Albany’s Mike Black is the only Great Dane player that scores that much.
Prediction: Duke may have been upset last year, but that is very unlikely to happen in 2013. The club has been very consistent against the lower echelon teams, only losing to clubs that won at least 22 games. This one should be decided by the early part of the second half.
Predicted Score: Duke 82, Albany 59