No. 12 Yale stunned No. 5 Baylor, 79-75, in first-round action Thursday, setting up a Round-of-32 matchup with No. 4 Duke this weekend.
Can the Bulldogs (23-6) actually beat the Blue Devils (23-10)?
“Can they? Yes,” CBS Sports college basketball analyst Jon Rothstein said in studio on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “The key in this game is going to be two things. When you really split the atom, Yale has an advantage because Yale has a pure point guard in Makai Mason, who only had two turnovers in 39 minutes (against Baylor).”
He also shot 9-of-18 from the floor, made two threes and went a perfect 11-of-11 from the foul line to finish with 31 points – a school record for an NCAA Tournament game. Let’s not forget the six rebounds and four assists, either.
Duke, meanwhile, barely survived UNC-Wilmington, 93-85.
“You really saw yesterday when Duke was in a bit of a fight with UNC-Wilmington, the lack of a pure point guard has affected Duke,” Rothstein said. “That’s one thing to look at – the point guard matchup. The other thing is this: Yale has Atlantic-10-level front-court size with Brandon Sherrod and Justin Sears. But they’re traditional bigs. How is Yale going to match up defensively against Brandon Ingram at the 4, who obviously has the advantage with his skill and his overall upside?
Indeed, Ingram and Marshall Plumlee combined to shoot 16-of-22 from the floor and finished with 43 points against UNC-Wilmington. Grayson Allen added 23 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and shot 15-of-17 from the foul line.
“So that’s the thing to watch,” said Rothstein, referring to Yale’s ability to match up with Duke down low. “But Yale obviously proved yesterday it can hold its own on the boards. The Bulldogs have been doing that all season.”
This marks the second meeting between Yale and Duke this season. Duke beat Yale, 80-61, on Nov. 25, but the game was played at Cameron Indoor Stadium, Duke led just 38-36 at halftime and Amile Jefferson, who had nine points and 12 rebounds, is out for the season.
Saturday’s rematch tips off at 2:40 p.m. ET.