Duke basketball: Crystal Ball flips back in favor of Blue Devils

Duke basketball (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /

A Crystal Ball clash involving Duke basketball is almost too close to call.

Prior to this week, in the recruiting battle for Paul VI (Va.) five-star shooting guard Trevor Keels, there had already been several lead changes inside the 247Sports Crystal Ball between the Duke basketball coaches and their Villanova counterparts.

Add another.

As of Tuesday, thanks to a pick from Blue Devil insider John Watson, the Crystal Ball now once again shows the Blue Devils as frontrunners to land the 6-foot-5, 210-pound versatile backcourt prospect who ranks No. 20 overall on the 247Sports 2021 Composite. And this is despite the fact that only two of the now-five entered predictions actually favor Duke over Villanova.

How, then, can Duke basketball have the edge?

OK, so the Crystal Ball formula, outputting a 57-43 advantage for Duke, weighs in confidence levels and awards extra points for “lead expert” picks.

In this case, Eric Bossi is the only such top-shelf expert to have forecasted the Trevor Keels sweepstakes. He entered a pick for the Blue Devils in February; all four of the lower-expert picks, including the three giving the edge to the Wildcats, have either flipped or arrived this month.

So no matter how you decide to look at either the Crystal Ball or the present Rivals FutureCast tie between Duke and Villanova, it’s obvious the general consensus on the recruiting trail is that this pretty much remains a two-horse race.

Finally, keep in mind that the 17-year-old Trevor Keels provided notice this week that he is gearing up to announce the winner from his four finalists — Virginia and Kentucky being the other two — on April 4.

Meanwhile, the 2021 Duke basketball class consists of two five-stars in O’Dea (Wash.) power forward Paolo Banchero and Archbishop Stepinac (N.Y.) small forward AJ Griffin.

Hot. Blue Devils reach out to productive transfer. light

Plus, as this recruiting cycle nears the finish line, Mike Krzyzewski and his staff technically remain in contention — yet not as a Crystal Ball favorite — for two more high school seniors, also five-stars: Hamilton (Wis.) small forward Patrick Baldwin Jr. and IMG (Fla.) center Charles Bediako.