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The Morning Line: Duke-UNC, MSU-Michigan, and plenty of rivalries today

Duke is favored at North Carolina in college basketball’s most famous rivalry, but it’s not the only rivalry game today.

Duke Blue Devils forward Joey Baker reacts after making a three pointer during the second half against the Boston College Eagles at Conte Forum. Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a huge board today with plenty of games to be seen. We’ll check out the biggest and best of what’s available here.

You can check out all the lines at DraftKings Sportsbook.

No. 16 Michigan State -2.5 at Michigan

The Wolverines have found their form after a mid-season swoon, with a three-point loss at home to Ohio State last time out following two wins. But Michigan State has played what is possibly the toughest schedule in college basketball, and the Big Ten this year gives no days or nights off. The Spartans need this one, with two straight losses to Wisconsin and Penn State blunting their momentum. But the beauty of the Big Ten this year is almost every night is a chance for a Q1 win.

Right now 82% of the bets and 91% of the action are on the Spartans on the road.

No. 18 LSU +5 at No. 11 Auburn

Five years ago this would make a great football game but a lousy hoops one, yet today it’s one of only two Top 25 matchups on the board. Will Wade and Bruce Pearl are two of college basketball’s most notorious characters, and they both bring teams with elite athleticism to a great non-Kentucky SEC game.

Auburn opened winning 15 in a row, dropped a pair to Alabama and Florida, but has won five in a row since, two in overtime. Big man Austin Wiley is worth watching, and they have length and bounce everywhere.

LSU is one of the most offensively efficient teams in college basketball, with a vaulted-high ceiling and a basement-low floor. Their dumbfounding first SEC loss came on Wednesday night to Vanderbilt, who got Jerry Stackhouse’s first conference win. Skylar Mays makes them go, and when the ball gets into the post they’re as dominant as anyone.

There’s no way the Tigers lose this game, but the LSU Tigers are getting 42% of the tickets and 48% of the action.

Duke -7 at North Carolina

Your favorite college basketball trope goes here.

With perhaps deference to our friends in Lexington and Louisville, this is the college basketball game that brings more casual fans than any other. Despite getting Cole Anthony back, UNC just isn’t that good: they’re 10-12, 3-8 in the ACC, and will need to make a run to qualify for the CBI.

This isn’t Duke’s best team, but it’s not their worst either (shoutout Jeff Capel from half-court). Vernon Carey is a Top 10 pick, and he should dominate inside as UNC can struggle on the block.

But it’ll be the Carolina Blue Super Bowl in the Dean Dome tonight, and you might have heard that anything can happen in a rivalry game.

Louisville -7 vs. Virginia

It’s almost a freeroll for the Cavaliers: they’re getting a shot at a Top 5 team on the road, in a spot where a loss might not hurt them. Tony Bennett’s style of basketball often frustrates more athletic opponents, and they’ll have the chance to do that here. But with 56% of the tickets and a whopping 86% of the action on the Cardinals, the betting community thinks Virginia’s bubble season continues.

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