Duke basketball: Crystal Ball lead grows for Blue Devils

Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports) /

With two weeks to go, a Duke basketball recruiting race is getting intense.

Despite a planned April 4 announcement date, there’s no guarantee Duke basketball target Trevor Keels is finished with his decision-making process.

Perhaps the Paul VI (Va.) five-star senior is still waiting on a few stay-or-go decisions from the Blue Devils as well as possible transfers and pro departures by guys on the rosters of his other three finalists: Kentucky, Villanova, and Virginia.

Yet regardless of whether Keels’ mind is made up or not, even the most minuscule perceived movements in the pursuit are worth pointing out here.

That is due in part to the fact the 6-foot-5, 210-pound Swiss Army Knife prospect is a pure sharpshooter and ranks highest among undecided shooting guards at No. 20 overall on the 247Sports 2021 Composite.

And Keels seems more likely to actually end up in Durham — he’d join the program’s two five-star signees to date in power forward Paolo Banchero and small forward AJ Griffin — than the other two remaining five-star Duke basketball targets in small forward Patrick Baldwin Jr. and center Charles Bediako.

ALSO READ: Final predictions for Duke’s remaining 2021 recruiting targets

Besides, unlike at Villanova and Virginia, Blue Devil March Madness wrapped up eons ago, so it’s not as if there is an endless supply of rousing topics for us Dukies to discuss here at the moment. So let’s glance yet again at the 247Sports Crystal Ball for the 17-year-old as there has been yet another shift in what the majority of insiders continue to see as a two-horse race…

Is the Duke basketball recruiting team gaining momentum?

In what has been a back-and-forth affair for months, Duke now boasts a Crystal Ball advantage over Villanova of 71-29, which factors in confidence levels and expert values of the five entered predictions.

Three of the five picks for Trevor Keels now favor the Blue Devils, including the only one from a lead expert, Eric Bossi. Plus, after the Wildcats held a clear lead entering this past week, two Duke insiders who had previously flipped from Duke to Villanova both decided to flip back to their original forecasts.

The latest to do so was Adam Rowe; also, for what it’s worth, the 8-out-of-10 confidence level next to his Duke pick on Thursday now stands as the highest of any expert’s pick.

Meanwhile, the Trevor Keels sweepstakes remains a tie between Duke and Villanova in the eyes of the Rivals FutureCast with two picks apiece.

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Needless to say, while observing Duke basketball fans and all their thirsty-for-blueblood Villanova counterparts arguing on Twitter and across social media over an upcoming answer that not even Trevor Keels may know just yet, it is safe to say that the heat will keep on rising in this one all the way to the April 4 decision day.