|College Basketball: Eastern Kentucky at Duke Preview & Picks|
|Written by Anthony Rome|
|Sunday, 25 November 2007 02:49|
Kyle Singler has had little trouble adjusting to college basketball.
Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Duke -31 point spread favorites (View College Basketball odds) for today’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 67% of bets for this game have been placed on Duke -31 (View College Basketball bet percentages).
Singler, a 6-foot-8 forward, overcame a leg injury to score 25 points, grab seven rebounds and sink the clinching free throws with 13 seconds to play in the Blue Devils' 77-73 win over No. 11 Marquette on Wednesday in the championship game of the Maui Invitational.
The win gave Duke (5-0) its fourth Maui title and Singler the tournament's MVP honors.
"I felt honored to win the MVP, but the main goal coming to Maui was to win the championship and that's what we accomplished,'' said Singler, who averaged 18.0 points and 6.7 rebounds in three tournament games. "I just wanted to do what I had to do and it meant I got the MVP.''
Singler, a McDonald's All-American from Oregon, is off to a strong start to his college career, averaging a team-leading 15.8 points and 6.6 rebounds. He's also shown tremendous poise, especially against Marquette as he went 8-for-8 from the free-throw line.
"He's got real good talent and he plays every second, so that makes him extremely good," said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, whose team also beat Princeton and Illinois on its way to the tournament title.
Singler has helped Duke jump out to a hot start after it finished 22-11 and lost to Virginia Commonwealth in the first round of the NCAA tournament last season. The Maui title could help fuel the Blue Devils to further success this season.
"We talked about that since the beginning of the year. It was our first chance to be a champion," said Duke guard DeMarcus Nelson, won scored 16 points and had seven rebounds versus Marquette. "At this time last year we didn't do that. We've improved and gotten better.''
Duke's schedule should get a little more challenging after Sunday, with a home game against Wisconsin on Tuesday and a trip on Dec. 1 to Charlotte to face Davidson, which went 29-5 last season and lost to Maryland in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.
The Blue Devils look to extend their home winning streak against non-conference opponents to 54 games as they face Eastern Kentucky (2-2) for the first time. Duke lost 83-82 to St. John's on Feb. 26, 2000 for its most recent loss to a non-conference team at Cameron Indoor Arena.
Eastern Kentucky, meanwhile, looks to avoid a third straight road loss and overall after a 64-50 defeat to Alabama-Birmingham on Wednesday. Darnell Dialls scored 15 points and was the only player in double figures for Colonels.
Despite returning three players from last season's team that won the Ohio Valley tournament and lost to North Carolina in the first round of the NCAA tournament, Eastern Kentucky is averaging just 60.0 points through three games.
The Colonels have lost their last 10 games against ranked opponents.
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