Sport Duke comes to Michigan State for marquee non-conference matchup, NCAA Tournament rematch
NCAA is wide open this season, and NCAA tourney will be better for it
There are no great teams in men’s college basketball this year.Duke’s loss to Stephen F. Austin is the biggest upset in college basketball in the last 15 seasons, according to @ESPNStatsInfo. Duke was favored by 27.5.
EAST LANSING -- Michigan State’s play anybody, anywhere non-conference scheduling philosophy is finally resulting in the game that Spartans fans want most.
The biggest name in the sport, Duke, is coming to Breslin Center for one of the most significant non-conference matchups in the program's history.
Duke solidifies No. 1 in AP Top 25 poll after tourney win
Duke solidified its grip on No. 1 while Maryland jumped North Carolina into the top 5 in the AP Top 25 men’s college basketball poll after a relatively quiet week on the schedule. That could change with an abundance of holiday tournaments tipping off this week. The Blue Devils blew through California before beating Georgetown 81-73 on Friday to win the 2K Empire Classic at Madison Square Garden. Those performances on back-to-back nights helped earn Duke 53 first-place votes from a 65-member media panel in The Associated Press poll released Monday.Louisville received seven first-place votes and remained second, followed by Michigan State with four No. 1 nods.
After spending the first month of the season traveling to New York, Newark and Maui to play in five high-major games, Tom Izzo is happy to return home to play the Blue Devils in front of a home crowd.
"Fans that are so loyal, deserve to have some of the best teams here," Izzo said. "…It's going to happen tomorrow night and that's going to be exciting."
No. 11 Michigan State (5-2) will host the No. 10 Blue Devils (7-1) in an ACC/Big Ten Challenge game on Tuesday night (9:30 p.m., ESPN).
It will mark a rematch of a 2019 Elite Eight game won by Michigan State. And while this one won't be for a Final Four berth, it will mark the first time that Duke has played at the Breslin Center since 2003.
"That's what you come to Michigan State for," Spartans point guard Cassius Winston said. "You're going to get a chance to play the best, you're going to get a chance to beat the best. To have them come here, it's going to be a big game for us, but it's going to be a big game for them, too."
No. 10 Duke dominates No. 11 Michigan State, 87-75
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) Vernon Carey Jr. had 26 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks to help No. 10 Duke dominate No. 11 Michigan State in an 87-75 victory Tuesday night. The Blue Devils (8-1) looked like one of the top teams in the country and not a rebuilding one a week after losing at home to Stephen F. Austin.Duke guard Tre Jones scored 20 points, matched a career high with 12 assists and made three steals as part of a defensive effort that forced 14 turnovers.BOX SCORE: NO. 10 DUKE 87, NO.
A week ago, this game had the potential to be a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup, before both teams suffered upset losses in the leadup to it.
Duke lost its first game of the year in shocking fashion, falling at home to Stephen F. Austin on Tuesday to snap a 150-game home non-conference winning streak.
Michigan State, meanwhile, fell to Virginia Tech in its Maui Invitational on Wednesday opener before winning the last two games of the tournament. By Monday, though, the Spartans were feeling good about their performance in Maui as a whole.
"I don't look at that game as quite as negative," Izzo said. "We're trying to find ourselves as a team."
While Tuesday's game is technically a rematch of last year's NCAA Tournament game, players say it feels little like that given the amount turnover on both teams.
Duke's three key players from that game -- Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish -- are all gone to the NBA, replaced by a new crop of heralded freshman.
College Football Playoff picture: 4 in, 3 to watch ahead of conference championship weekend
Sporting News takes a look at the College Football Playoff picture heading into conference championship weekend.Alabama's 48-45 loss to Auburn and Minnesota's 38-17 loss to Wisconsin trimmed the potential Playoff field down to seven teams with one loss or fewer. There's still room for the chaos factor in the final week of the season, however.
Vernon Carey, a five-star prospect who picked Duke over Michigan State, is the Blue Devils' new leading scorer (18.4 points per game) and rebounder (9.5 per game).
After Tillman was successful at slowing down Williamson last year, he'll face a new challenge in the more post-oriented Carey (6-foot-10, 270).
"He's a guy who just takes advantage of his easy ones in the paint," Tillman said "He's dunking a lot of them as where I would lay them up. He gets to the foul line a lot, getting physical."
Tre Jones, meanwhile, returns to the Blue Devils to create a matchup of two of the top point guards in the game. Cassius Winston scored 20-plus points in Michigan State’s last two games in Maui and shot better than 50 percent from the field. Jones is averaging 6.9 assists per game.
Yet what has Izzo most concerned is the potential for turnovers. The Blue Devils have forced 20-plus turnovers three times already this season, including 26 against Kansas in a season-opening win.
Michigan State will gladly take on the challenge, though, and gladly do so in front of its home fans.
“It doesn’t get much bigger or better than this,” Izzo said.
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