Duke, Indiana on upset alert
Making picks for college basketball's biggest games on Saturday
Every Friday during the college basketball season, Ted Sevransky (better known as Teddy Covers) will provide ESPN Insiders with his picks on Saturday's biggest games, along with a few under-the-radar matchups. He'll give a projected point spread and pick for each.
The era of teams going undefeated for an entire season in college basketball is decades in the rearview mirror. At 15-0, Duke is going to lose a game (or two or three) at some point this season, and its short trip to Raleigh is a prime upset-alert type of ballgame.
The Blue Devils never even sniffed a point-spread cover in their five-point win against NC State in the lone meeting between these two teams last season. In fact, Duke needed to rally from 20 points down at home in the final 12 minutes just to steal the straight-up victory. It's a loss the Wolfpack most assuredly remember well -- and one that they're poised to avenge.
NC State's focus is clearly not an issue. Neither is the Wolfpack's talent level, with four upperclassmen and a pair of stud freshmen all averaging in double figures, led by frontcourt mates C.J. Leslie and Richard Howell and point guard Lorenzo Brown.
The Wolfpack lead the nation in offensive field goal percentage, hitting 53 percent of their shots. They've been even better at home, connecting at a 56 percent clip for the campaign while averaging 87 points per game.
Duke lost its first two true road games last season (at Ohio State and at Temple), and this will be its first true road game of 2012-13. Coming off arguably their best defensive game of the season -- holding Clemson to just 40 points on 28 percent shooting -- I expect the Blue Devils to be hard-pressed to achieve similar results against a much better, more balanced offensive squad. Upset alert!
The ATS pick: NC State
Indiana has an exceptional talent level that has carried it to a 14-1 record heading into the heart of Big Ten play, but its level of execution has been mediocre at best. The Hoosiers have played sloppy basketball on a fairly consistent basis over the past month.
To read all of Teddy Covers' against-the-spread picks for Saturday's biggest games, you must be an ESPN Insider.
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