Underdog March Madness Picks: Duke Vs. Houston Sweet 16 Friday Night

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Written By Derek Wagner | Last Updated

In one Sweet 16 matchup tonight, the top-seeded Cougars are favorites against the fourth-seeded Duke Blue Devils. As a result, Jon Sheyer’s squad is a underdog to win outright for the first time since Feb. 24 at Wake Forest. The Over/Under for the game is set at . Let’s examine two players for potential Underdog March Madness picks.

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UNDERDOG PICKS: duke VS. houston

Duke Forward Kyle Filipowski: Lower Than 14.5 points

The pace of play is a major concern in this one, as the Cougars rank 346th in adjusted tempo. Should they slow this game down and limit possessions, Filipowski could go under this number, similar to how he went under this amount against Notre Dame, Baylor, and most recently Vermont, who all rank in the bottom-90 in D-1 in possession length.

Furthermore, the Houston defense ranks in the 82nd percentile of opponents’ at-the-rim field goal percentage. Filipowski has struggled with stout interior defenses this season, such as Clemson and Notre Dame, who rank in the 99th percentile and the 70th percentile of opponents’ at-rim field goal percentage, respectively.

Fouls are another issue with Filipowski, having logged 15 games this year where he committed four or more fouls per game. This includes three of the team’s previous four games, where he’s committed 4 or more.

Kelvin Sampson’s Cougars remain a defensive juggernaut despite losing Joseph Tugler to injury in late February. They tend to double the low post and emphasize protecting the paint over all else. If they don’t double Filipowski in the post, Ja’Vier Francis should provide plenty of issues for the Duke center in the low post, as he ranks in the top 15 in the nation in block percentage.

Houston Guard Jamal Shead: Higher Than 6.5 assists

Meanwhile, the Cougars’ point guard, Jamal Shead, provides plenty of intrigue. His usage has skyrocketed thus far in the tournament, and Duke will likely do everything they can to force it out of his hands and make someone else beat them. With Emanual Sharp heating up and knocking down 10 threes in the last two games, I’d consider Shead assists tonight.

Best of luck with your own underdog picks in the Sweet 16!

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Duke Vs. Houston PLAYER PROP Odds

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Duke vs. houston Spread, Moneyline, Total