After a spirited and hard-fought victory in the NCAA Tournament first-four, the NDSU Bison get the unfortunate draw of facing the number one overall seed Duke Blue Devils and Zion Williamson. Duke is fresh off the heels of a thunderous run through the ACC tournament and Zion Williamson seems to be playing with an edge we haven’t seen from him all year.
#1 Duke Blue Devils vs #16 NDSU Bison Betting Line
(Betting Line and Total courtesy of Oddsshark.com)
- Duke Blue Devils vs NDSU Bison
- Friday, March 22nd – 7:10 pm ET
- Point Spread: Duke Blue Devils -27
- Point Total: 148.5
Duke vs. NDSU March Madness Projection & Picks
This matchup really shouldn’t be too close. Despite last season where Virginia became the first one seed to lose to a 16 seed, Duke is simply too big, fast, and skilled for NDSU to really pose much of a threat. Virginia has never been known for having supremely athletic teams and have more so been built on the backs of disciplined defense and unselfish offense from typically unheralded recruits (though this year’s Virginia shapes up to be a bit different). That makeup made them prime candidates for an upset, compared to a team like Duke that should make the Bisons look like a high school JV team based off sheer athleticism alone.
Zion Williamson produced some of his best games of the season after coming back from his notorious exploding shoe incident. Moreover, he put up those stat lines against some of the best programs the ACC has to offer. With all due respect to NDSU, the Summit League is a far cry from the ACC and the caliber of opponent Zion has already shown the ability to dominate. Oh, also they have some R.J. Barrett kid who is projected to go second behind Zion in most mock drafts.
The NDSU Bisons pulled off an impressive win over North Carolina Central but struggled at times and were in a position where they almost let the game slip away. Duke is far bigger, much faster, and considerably more talented than NCC and the Bisons will almost certainly not be up to the task of stopping the Zion Williamson train. NCC big man Raasean Davis exposed the Bisons lack of a presence down low and if Davis can wreak havoc to the tune of 20 points and 16 rebounds, it is a little scary to think what Zion might do.
Don’t expect this game to be even remotely close. Look for Duke to have the starters out of the game by the early second half at the latest. Also, look for Duke to cover the gaudy spread that oddsmakers have thrown their way.
Projected Score: Duke – 85, NDSU – 53
Pick: Duke -27
Other East Region Matchups
#2 Michigan State vs #15 Bradley
#3 LSU vs #14 Yale
#4 Florida State vs #13 Vermont
#5 Mississippi State vs #12 Liberty
#6 Maryland vs #11 Belmont
#7 Louisville vs #10 Minnesota
#8 VCU vs #9 UCF