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Duke basketball: Safest bet for Blue Devils versus Bellarmine

Duke basketball's prowess on the glass through four games looks ridiculous.
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Perhaps the one guarantee for Monday night is that the Duke basketball squad will outrebound the Bellarmine Knights (2-2, 0-0 ASUN) in their 8:30 p.m. ET matchup in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

RELATED: Predicted scores of every 2022-23 Duke game

The No. 7 Blue Devils (3-1, 0-0 ACC) enjoy the services of four 7-footers, including two of the starter variety in heralded freshmen Dereck Lively II and Kyle Filipowski. Meanwhile, the Knights have zero 7-footers and employ a four-guard starting lineup featuring only one player taller than 6-foot-6 in 6-foot-8 sophomore Curt Hopf.

It's worth pointing out that Hopf is roughly the same height — yet 20 pounds lighter, according to the official rosters — as Duke's projected starter at small forward, freshman Mark Mitchell.

Plus, Duke basketball's bigs have help from an abundance of rebound-savvy perimeter talents, including first-year combo guard Tyrese Proctor, who posted his first double-double as a Blue Devil via 13 points and 10 boards in Friday night's 92-58 home win over the Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens.

RELATED: Duke's double-double gang shares an encouraging exchange

Speaking of Duke's most recent victory, it marked the first time since 2019-20 that the Blue Devils have outrebounded each of their first four opponents by double-digit margins. Their 46-35 edge on the glass in last week's Champions Classic loss to the Kansas Jayhawks is their smallest margin.

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Now, per GoDuke.com, the Blue Devils rank No. 6 in the country in rebounding average at 47.3 per game, No. 3 in offensive rebounding average at 18.3 per game, and No. 2 in average rebounding margin at +19.2 per game.

In Jon Scheyer's first year as the program's head coach, the Blue Devils have already put together two games with 20 offensive rebounds or more, a total they didn't reach in any game across the last two seasons with Mike Krzyzewski at the helm.

Duke's combined edge over opponents on the offensive glass stands at an insane 73-32 thus far, leading to a 72-26 advantage in second-chance points this season.

Ten Blue Devils are averaging at least 2.0 rebounds per game, eight are over 3.0, and four are over 5.0.

The team's leading rebounder, Kyle Filipowski, ranks No. 16 in the country and sits in a tie among all first-year college players with his 11.0 rebounds per game. His three double-doubles remain tied for the most in the country, and he came up only two boards shy of tallying his fourth against Delaware.

As for Bellarmine, the Knights have outrebounded only one opponent, the Campbellsville-Harrodsburg Tigers. The Morehead State Eagles, another team with a four-guard starting lineup, outrebound the Knights, 47-33, in their 62-55 home win on Nov. 12.

Yes, it feels like a safe bet that Duke basketball will win the battle of the boards against Bellarmine.

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