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NCAA Tournament Betting - Utah's Assignment: Slow Down the Duke Freight TrainThe last time the Utah Utes won the national championship was 1944. And the last time they went up against the Duke Blue Devils was 1970. Now they are in the Sweet 16 for the first time in ten years, when Andrew Bogut, the eventual #1 NBA draft pick, took them there. On Friday night they will try to get to the Elite Eight as they tangle with Duke in college basketball betting action that is scheduled to get underway at 9:45 PM ET at NRG Stadium in Houston. After the game, BetAnySports customers have the opportunity to bet sides, totals and props through the facilities of Live Betting Extra.

Utah comes into this game with a record of 26-8 straight-up, and they are a more-than-solid 21-11 against the basketball pointspread. Duke is 31-4 straight-up and 21-14 ATS. Both of these teams are high-percentage shooting squads – Duke has hit 50.7% of its shots this season, while Utah is at 48.7%.

Duke Blue Devils -5/Utah Utes +5

Over 134.5 points -110/Under 134.5 points -110

It is no coincidence that five of the top seven teams in the category of Adjusted Defensive Efficiency are still remaining in the Sweet 16. Utah is one of them. The Utes have allowed their opponents to make just 41.2% of their two-point shots this season, and as a result they have permitted only 57 points per contest. Among all of the teams left in the tournament, they are the second “slowest,” ranking 332nd in Adjusted Tempo. So it is no secret what they’re going to try to do against Duke, which, at 80.7 points per game, wishes to operate at a very fast pace. The question for BetAnySports patrons is, what can Utah do to affect the tempo the game is being played at, where other teams of their ilk have not been able to?

Seriously – look at what Duke did in an early-season meeting against Wisconsin, which actually plays at a slower pace than Utah. The Blue Devils shot 65% in scored 80 points. They had previously scored 81 against Michigan State. They shot 51% against Virginia in a regular-season game at Charlottesville. And they hit 54.5% against San Diego State, trucking up a 68-49 victory over team that is renowned for its defense.

Yet here is an interesting thing for BetAnySports customers to ponder – Duke has played six of its last seven games under the total. Of course, all of these performances are relative to the oddsmaker’s expectations. Utah won’t be so accommodating from that standpoint, but the question remains whether they can slow down this Duke squad, which would seem to have enough outside shooting to stretch Utah in the half court, with a very potent inside scorer in freshman Jahili Okafor, who shooting 77% thus far in the tournament.

Is actually kind of hard to gauge where Utah is right now; they lost four out of their last seven Pac 12 games, including a 67-64 defeat at the buzzer against Oregon in the conference tournament. Losing to Washington in a late-season game was almost shameful. And they got here by beating Stephen F Austin and Georgetown, and both of those teams are somewhat limited. This is a new ball game for Utah, which lost both of its meetings against and athletic Arizona squad, and was also beaten by Kansas where they could manage only 39% shooting.