Phil Knight Legacy Top Picks: Will Duke & Gonzaga Meet in Finals?

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Jeremy Roach #3 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts after making a three-point shot against the Bellarmine Knights. Grant Halverson/Getty Images/AFP

Even though lines aren’t out yet, that isn’t stopping us from making NCAA basketball picks for the first day of action at the Phil Knight Legacy, where Duke and Gonzaga are expected to ultimately square off for the title.


Duke Blue Devils vs. Oregon State Beavers

Thursday, November 24, 2022 – 03:00 PM EST at Veterans Memorial Coliseum

Featuring one of the country’s most talented and deepest frontcourts, the Duke Blue Devils tip the event off with a clash against an Oregon State squad that is coming off an upset loss and will be looking to pull off an upset of its own.

First Meeting Since 1963 NCAA Tournament

First-year head coach Jon Scheyer and the Blue Devils enjoyed one final tune-up for this event when they took down an underrated Bellarmine bunch by a 74-57 count Monday night in Durham. The final was not enough to cover -24 on the closing NCAA basketball odds.

Oregon State was upset at home by Portland State last Saturday night, and it will be as interesting to see how the Beavers bounce back from that loss as it will to watch those Vikings take on Gonzaga in the nightcap of the first day of this tourney.

Beavers Struggling from 3-Point Range

We should expect Duke to be favored by a dozen or so, and if the Blue Devils are finding the net from outside, it’s going to be tough for Oregon State to keep up since the Beavers are really struggling from beyond the arc. Bite the bullet and lay the points on Duke.

NCAAB Pick: Duke -21.5 (-110) at Bookmaker (visit our Bookmaker Review)

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Florida Gators vs. Xavier Musketeers

Thursday, November 24, 2022 – 05:30 PM EST at Veterans Memorial Coliseum

A rematch from the second round of last year’s NIT follows the Blue Devils and Beavers, and it should have the same do-or-die feel to it for Florida and Xavier as the Gators and Musketeers each look to avoid picking up their second loss of the season.

Gators Seeking to Avenge NIT Loss

Though the rosters have changed from when Xavier bounced Florida from the NIT last March as 3-point chalk at Bookmaker (visit our Bookmaker Review), both teams are healthy and both coaches used the transfer portal wisely to replace their departed players.

X-Men in Bounce-Back Mode After Tough Defeat

This is the first year for Todd Golden down in Gainesville, and he’s got the Gators pumped up after they beat rival Florida State on the road Friday night after taking it on the chin before that in an upset loss to Florida Atlantic.

Sean Miller and the Musketeers are hoping to rebound from a tough setback at home on Friday when the Indiana Hoosiers were small chalk and survived Xavier’s late rally for an 81-79 victory.

The odds should be tight for this one, with a total in the mid-140s, and I like the low side of the scoreboard target.

NCAAB Pick: Under 150.5 (-110) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Purdue Boilermakers vs. West Virginia Mountaineers

Thursday, November 24, 2022 – 10:00 PM EST at Veterans Memorial Coliseum

Purdue and West Virginia each lost a ton of scoring from last year, but just as you’d expect coaches the caliber of Bob Huggins and Matt Painter to do, they found talent to replace the departures and bring their teams into this event with unblemished records.

Newcomers Leading Mountaineers

Neither the Boilermakers nor the Mountaineers got much respect from the college basketball futures in their conference races, Purdue running sixth in the Big Ten while West Virginia was relegated to the second division of the Big 12.

Led by South Carolina transfer Erik Stevenson (14.4 ppg), West Virginia’s top 5 scorers are all newcomers who have quickly adapted to Huggins’ system, while Miller is slowly working freshmen in around his big man Zach Edey in the middle.

Backing the Boilers

Edey is an incredible force inside and the reason why Purdue will be favored by 3-4 points.

The 7-4 Canadian is also the reason why the Boilermakers win and cover.

NCAAB Pick: Purdue -1.5 (-115) at BetOnline

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Portland State Vikings vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs

Friday, November 25, 2022 – 12:30 AM EST at Veterans Memorial Coliseum

The final college basketball matchup of Thursday – actually the first game on Friday – finds the Gonzaga Bulldogs taking on the Portland State Vikings in a contest that should feature the largest spread and total for the first day of the Phil Knight Legacy.

Vikings Coming Off Upset of Beavers

Portland State comes in having already beaten one team in the event, and the Vikings should be full of piss and vinegar to take down a giant like Gonzaga after they beat Oregon State on the road Saturday night, their first win against the Beavers after 16 losses.

Gonzaga also felled a giant this weekend. The Bulldogs scored a wire-o-wire win over Kentucky in Spokane on Sunday, not only beating the Wildcats by 16 as 4-point favorites but also getting their shooting touch back after a poor effort earlier in the week at Texas.

Take the Vikings Plus the Points

It has been 14 years since the Vikings and Bulldogs met, and Portland State upset a then-No. 7 Gonzaga in Spokane. The Vikings should be good as 23+ point underdogs this time.

NCAAB Pick: Portland State +28.5 (-108) at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.