Arkansas basketball vs. Duke in NCAA Tournament Elite 8: Scouting report, score prediction

·2 min read

SAN FRANCISCO — Eric Musselman and Arkansas basketball have had plenty to say about the Razorbacks being underrated and doubted throughout the NCAA Tournament. In his postgame TV interview Thursday night after beating No. 1 overall seed Gonzaga, Musselman thanked "everybody who said we had no chance."

Beating the tournament's top team to advance to a second straight Elite Eight has given Arkansas fans a new hope and visions of a Final Four. The Razorbacks will play for a chance to realize that dream on Saturday (7:49 p.m. CT, TBS) against No. 2 Duke (31-6) at the Chase Center.

The Blue Devils beat Texas Tech 78-73 on Thursday. It's a rematch of the 1994 national title game, when Nolan Richardson and Arkansas defeated Mike Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils.

Here's what to know about Arkansas' Elite Eight opponent.

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Paolo Banchero leads Duke offense

Forward Paolo Banchero's 17 points per game leads the team. Against Texas Tech on Thursday, he scored 22 on 7-for-12 shooting. Banchero is one of only five Division I players to average at least 17 points, 7.9 rebounds and three assists.

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Five Blue Devils average double-digit points, making Duke one of 16 teams that can say the same. Gonzaga was among them, too.

Duke's offense ranks No. 8 in the country in scoring, averaging 80.2 points per game. Granted, Arkansas' defense just held the nation's leader in that category to 68.

Duke's road to the Elite 8

The Blue Devils were seeded No. 2 after a late loss to North Carolina and an ACC Tournament championship loss to Virginia Tech. But Duke got past Cal State Fullerton and Michigan State to make the trip to San Francisco, where it took down Texas Tech.

Duke has shown fight in its tournament games, especially against Michigan State. The Blue Devils were down five with five minutes to play but went on a 20-6 run to secure the win.

Score prediction

Duke 74, Arkansas 68: The Blue Devils will be motivated to get Coach K to one last Final Four and their high-powered offense will overcome a challenge from Arkansas' defense.

Christina Long covers the Arkansas Razorbacks. You can email her at clong@swtimes.com or follow her on Twitter @christinalong00.

This article originally appeared on Fort Smith Times Record: Arkansas basketball vs. Duke in Elite Eight: Score prediction