Red Foxes face uphill battle as year begins
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski may not get to show his full arsenal in tonight’s season opener against Marist. Still, the No. 1 team in the nation promises to pack plenty of punch at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
The two schools meet for the first time ever at 7 p.m. ET. Online sports book Bovada.lv lists the Blue Devils as 28.5-point favorites in Durham. The Red Foxes, on the other hand, represent massive underdogs.
During their abbreviated exhibition schedule, the Dukies made do without much-ballyhooed freshmen Jayson Tatum (foot) and Harry Giles (knee surgery). Tatum should at least see some minutes this evening, while Giles probably won’t suit up in the first weekend. Then there’s the curious case of Marques Bolden. The program recently announced that the 6-foot-11 center could miss multiple contests due to a leg injury.
Of course, Krzyzewski ostensibly boasts the deepest roster in college hoops. Grayson Allen and Luke Kennard are the leading returning scorers, and they’re salivating at the prospect of facing a Marist squad coming off a pair of seven-win campaigns. Under the tutelage of Mike Maker, the Red Foxes were picked by the media to finish eighth in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
Fifth-year senior guard Khallid Hart, who averaged 20.3 points per game in 2015-16, will likely cause the Blue Devils a little trouble in the early going. Yet the disparity in terms of frontcourt athleticism is jarring. Just don’t expect the hosts to push for a historically lopsided victory. After all, they’re right back in action tomorrow vs. Grand Canyon.
FRIDAY NCAA FREE PICK: MARIST +32