Arkansas Razorbacks vs Duke Blue Devils Pick – NCAA Tournament March 26, 2022

Today marks the start of the Elite Eight, as we are down to the final 8 teams left vying for the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship! Later today we will have the Villanova Wildcats and Houston Cougars square off for a spot in the Final Four. And after that, we will have a game between the Blue Devils of Duke and the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Tomorrow, the action will continue, as we will have games between the Miami Hurricanes and Kansas Jayhawks, as well as a contest between the upstart St. Peter’s Peacocks as they play the Blue Blood Tar Heels of North Carolina. By tomorrow night, we will be down to the Final Four, but before we get there, I want to take a quick look back on how we got to the Elite Eight.

On Selection Sunday, the general consensus around the country was that the ACC was way down and that the Big 12, SEC, and Big 10 were the top leagues in the country. But after nearly 2 full weeks of madness, we are all left questioning those theories, as the ACC has rampaged through this field, with an 11-2 record and 3 teams still playing for their shot at the national title in Duke, North Carolina, and Miami.

Those leagues that we all agreed were the best of the best? Well, the SEC hasn’t performed well at all, as they are down to just the Arkansas Razorbacks left in the field, and at just 5-5 in the madness, a loss today from Arkansas against Duke, would have the conference finish with a losing record overall, something that would have been shocking just a couple of weeks ago. The Big 10 has had it even worse, as their combined 9 losses are the most of any league, and they are done already, as they don’t have a single team still dancing.

It looks like while our collective opinions on the ACC, SEC, and Big 10 may have been off, the Big 12 has been as good as advertised, as the league has a combined 10 wins, the most of any conference, and while they only have 1 team left playing, it is a really good one, in the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks. Now that we know how we got here, we will switch gears and see where we are going next, as we break down all of the action in the West Region between the 2-seed Duke Blue Devils and the 4-seed Arkansas Razorbacks.

Arkansas Razorbacks (28-8)

Arkansas head coach Eric Musselman is a superstar in the making in Fayetteville. Coach Muss made a name for himself at Nevada, where he took the Wolfpack to 3 consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament, and he has wasted no time turning the Hogs into a powerhouse in the SEC. The Razorbacks won 20 games in his first season at the helm and followed it up with 25 wins last season, and now 28 wins this year.

Arkansas surprised a lot of folks last year when they made a run all of the way to the Elite Eight, but now that they have done it again this year, in back-to-back seasons, they aren’t many people that are all that surprised. The path was an easy one for Arkansas in that first weekend of the madness, as they played 13-seed Vermont and 12-seed New Mexico State, and while they won both of those games, they were both highly competitive, and the Razorbacks knew that they would have to play much better this weekend if they wanted to survive and advance to the Final Four.

And to say that they did just that would be a massive understatement, as Arkansas was tasked with having to play the nation’s number 1 overall team, the Gonzaga Bulldogs, in the Sweet 16, and they were more than up for it, sending the Zags home with a 74-68 victory.

Now, the Razorbacks certainly got some help from the refs in that game, as they had no answer for Gonzaga big man Chet Holmgren, but caught a huge break, as he was in foul trouble the entire game, and was sent to the bench for good down the stretch, giving Arkansas the boost that they needed to win the game.

The Hogs became the first team ever to beat a team that was ranked number 1 overall during the regular season, a win over the Auburn Tigers, and then go on to beat the top-ranked team in the NCAA tournament as well, when they beat the Zags. Nobody is questioning whether or not Arkansas can beat elite teams, as they have wins over Kentucky, Tennessee, and LSU, to go over those wins over the number 1’s in Auburn and Gonzaga. There isn’t a program in the SEC that is hotter than Arkansas right now, as Musselman is recruiting at an elite level, and has shown that he can win meaningful games in March, no matter who his Hogs are matched up against.

Duke Blue Devils (31-6)

By now, the entire planet knows that every game that the Duke Blue Devils play the rest of the way out could potentially be the final game of their Hall of Fame head coach, Mike Krzyzewski’s storied career in Durham. Coach K is either the GOAT, or close to it, as he has been at Duke for 42 years and has the longest track record of success of any coach in college basketball history.

Before the brackets were announced, it was looking like the pressure of trying to deliver a 6th national title to Coach K on his way out was going to be too much for the Blue Devils, as they lost their last game of the regular season, getting blown out by archrival North Carolina at home, and they lost in the ACC tournament to Virginia Tech in the finals. Neither of those losses were bad ones, as North Carolina is still dancing, and the Hokies were a tough out in the madness as well, but when you are trying to win a national title, those are the types of teams that you are going to need to be able to beat.

There were doubts in my mind about Duke for sure, with the pressure mounting each and every game, but somehow the Blue Devils have been able to play somewhat carefree in this tournament, with wins over Cal State Fullerton, Michigan State, and Texas Tech. The win over the Spartans was particularly impressive, as it came over Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo, who is a guy that is going to be the next generation’s version of Coach K, as he is one of the absolute best coaches in the nation.

When you look back on the season that the Blue Devils have had this year, it is hard not to be impressed. Duke beat Kentucky and Gonzaga in the non-conference, and while the public didn’t give them much credit for winning the ACC regular season title, as we were all convinced that the ACC sucked, that 16-4 league record is looking much better now after watching the ACC dominate this tournament. The only story that would be bigger than Duke winning a national title in Coach K’s final season would be St. Peter’s winning it as a 15-seed, as love him or hate him, Coach K has been an enormous part of college basketball for the last 4 decades.

Arkansas Razorbacks vs Duke Blue Devils Betting Odds And Team Statistics

The following odds are courtesy of BetOnline:

Teams Spread Moneyline Total
Arkansas Razorbacks +3.5 (-110) +160 Over 147 (-110)
Duke Blue Devils -3.5 (-110) -185 Under 147 (-110)
Team Data Arkansas Razorbacks Duke Blue Devils
Overall Record 28-8 31-6
ATS Record 21-14-1 19-15-3
Points Per Game 76.1 80.2
Points Against Per Game 68.0 67.4
Field Goal % 43.4% 49.2%
Three Point % 30.4% 36.9%

Arkansas Razorbacks vs Duke Blue Devils Prediction:

The poet Jagger once proclaimed, that you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you’ll find, you get what you need. And something tells me that with everything going on in the world right now, we just might need one last Coach K trip to the Final Four. We are always quick to call something or someone, the greatest of all-time, and I am sure that we throw that term around far too loosely these days. But Coach K is the actual GOAT, as he holds basically every record ever when it comes to coaching basketball and winning in March.

Beating Coach K in the NCAA tournament is amongst the toughest things to do in all of sports, as this is his 17th trip to the Elite Eight, and the Blue Devil’s win on Thursday over Texas Tech was his 100th in the NCAA tournament, the most of any coach ever. His record in those 16 previous trips to the Elite Eight? A sizzling hot 12-4. To put it simply, no coach in the history of our game has been able to get to, and win, in the Elite Eight more than Mike Krzyzewski.

Arkansas Razorbacks vs Duke Blue Devils Betting Trends:

Arkansas Razorbacks
  • Arkansas is 12-4-1 ATS in their last 17 games
  • The total has gone OVER in 7 of Arkansas’ last 9 games
  • Arkansas is 17-3 SU in their last 20 games
  • Arkansas is 8-2 SU in their last 10 games this season
  • Arkansas is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games when playing as the underdog
Duke Blue Devils
  • Duke is 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games
  • The total has gone OVER in 8 of Duke’s last 9 games
  • Duke is 12-2 SU in their last 14 games
  • Duke is 5-1 SU in their last 6 games this season
  • Duke is 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games when playing as the favorite

I am not going to lie, I am still a bit salty about what the refs did to Gonzaga in their game with Arkansas. The Hogs were on the right side of basically every call in the 2nd half, and there were really bad misses by the officials at several key moments in the game. While I certainly don’t want to take any credit away from Arkansas, if some of those calls would have gone the Zag’s way, it would very likely be the Bulldogs trying to end Coach K’s career tonight in the Elite Eight, not the Razorbacks.

And if you think that the Razorbacks are going to be feeling that same love tonight against Duke, you are out of your mind! Coach K has made a living working the refs and between his ability to scream the loudest and carry the biggest stick, the Blue Devils are known for getting more than their fair share of the calls. This has been unarguably the worst officiated tournament of all-time, with some glaringly bad games from the zebras, and while I never want to go too far down the rabbit hole with conspiracies, if this game ends up being another poorly officiated game, it would just be par for the course after what we have watched unfold so far.

I think the Blue Devils are going to win this game. Coach K has been too good, for too long, to lose this one, and I see Duke gutting out the victory and taking him to yet another Final Four. We are going to sweat out this spread the entire way, as Arkansas didn’t come this far to just lay down to Duke, but I think at the end of the day, the Blue Devils will pull away late for the win and cover. Give me the Duke Blue Devils tonight from San Francisco, as they send the Razorbacks home in the Elite Eight for the 2nd consecutive year!


Arkansas Razorbacks vs Duke Blue Devils Pick
Duke Blue Devils (-3.5)
Jason Gray / Author

Jason is a true Las Vegas insider as he has called the sports betting capital of the world his home for sixteen years. Jason started out his career in gaming by running the biggest poker tournaments in the world and managing some of the biggest sportsbooks on the strip. Jason has transitioned out of casino operations and has been covering sports betting for the sports geek for just over two years. His main focus is on baseball, college basketball, and the NFL

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