Beats' picks: Will Duke men's basketball pass its first true road test against Ohio State?

Freshman Paolo Banchero scored 20 points in the first half against Gonzaga, leading to his ACC Freshman of the Week honors this week.
Freshman Paolo Banchero scored 20 points in the first half against Gonzaga, leading to his ACC Freshman of the Week honors this week.

No. 1 Duke is on the road Tuesday for its first true away game of the season against Ohio State. This was supposed to be a ranked matchup heading into the year, but the Buckeyes have dropped two games already. That being said, the Blue Devils will have a tall task in front of them as three-point favorites to avoid the upset in Columbus, Ohio.

Jake Piazza: Duke 78-68

I don’t know if I’ve ever seen more of a trap game on a schedule. Duke is coming off of a monumental win against then-No. 1 Gonzaga, just checked in at No. 1 itself in this weeks’ AP poll and is facing off against an unranked Ohio State team that is easy to overlook with its two losses. And it’s on the road. But even with all that, I still think the Blue Devils take this one with relative ease. Ohio State’s EJ Liddell is a remarkable scorer and produces at a high level of efficiency with his 56% clip from the field, but any hiccups that come about will be quelled by the veteran presence of Wendell Moore Jr., as he leads Duke to its eight straight win.

Sasha Richie: Duke 82-70 

Duke’s leapfrog win against Gonzaga was revealing, but Ohio State will arguably be the Blue Devils’ harder test. It’s their first true road game—at a school with a zealous fanbase just three days after losing its biggest sporting event of the year in the Michigan football game—so Duke will be facing hostility in the stands for the first time. Not to mention, after playing in Friday’s physically taxing game, the Blue Devils have just a handful of days to turn around and play in this one. The intangibles are pretty stacked against Duke. Luckily, the tangibles are overwhelmingly in its favor. Don’t get me wrong, Ohio State is good enough to compete, but Duke is objectively the better team for a myriad of reasons. Thus, I think this is the game where the Blue Devils prove that they are not only talented, but resilient; they will be unfazed by adversity and notch another win.

Micah Hurewitz: Duke 79-66

Ohio State started this season in the top 25, then had a rocky first two weeks. It is a talented squad with Liddell, who can do anything on the court, but this may not be the Buckeyes team that has what it takes to beat a Duke team riding the high of a win against Gonzaga and the No. 1 spot in the rankings. If Banchero and Williams can dominate the smaller Ohio State lineup on both sides and the backcourt steps up efficiency-wise, the Blue Devils can really run away with this one. Ohio State is not going to quit, and might not go away until late, but this looks like a premier road win incoming for the Blue Devils.

Jonathan Levitan: Duke 71-60

I hate to beat a dead horse, but this Ohio State team should be a formidable foe for the Blue Devils in their first game since toppling Gonzaga for the top spot in the AP Poll. The Buckeyes haven’t had the cleanest start to the season, but they still rank within the top ten offenses on KenPom and Liddell is an elite offense all by himself. The prospect of this being Duke’s first true road game does concern me, but I think the Blue Devils limit Liddell—the only Buckeye averaging double-digit scoring—and take control of a slow, hard-fought battle in Columbus from the tip. Duke is only getting better, and Tuesday night’s matchup will see it take another notable step forward. 

Max Rego: Duke 75-69

The Buckeyes’ 4-2 record might not jump off your screen, but do not be fooled–Ohio State is still a likely top-four team in the Big Ten and will test Duke for 40 minutes. Liddell is terrific at both ends of the floor; not many players are capable of his efficiency at all three levels and add 3.8 blocks per contest. Look for the Buckeyes to slow the game down and make this a slog of a night, which may force Mike Krzyzewski to go small a bit more often in order to allow his group to dictate the pace. That being said, I expect Duke to handle the hostile crowd fairly well down the stretch, and two closeouts in key spots against Kentucky and Gonzaga do wonders for a team’s confidence.  Thanks to the individual brilliance of Banchero and Moore, the Blue Devils survive, but this one comes down to the wire.

Max Rego profile
Max Rego

Max Rego is a Trinity senior and an associate sports editor for The Chronicle's 118th volume. He was previously sports managing editor for Volume 117.

Jake C. Piazza

Jake Piazza is a Trinity senior and was sports editor of The Chronicle's 117th volume.

Sasha Richie profile
Sasha Richie | Sports Managing Editor

Sasha Richie is a Trinity senior and a sports managing editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.

Micah Hurewitz

Micah Hurewitz is a Trinity senior and was previously a sports managing editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.

Jonathan Levitan

Jonathan Levitan is a Trinity senior and was previously sports editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.


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