No. 5 Duke hosts Michigan State in ACC-Big Ten Challenge
DURHAM, N.C. — Duke is ready for another test from an established opponent, while Michigan State has probably seen enough of the elite teams so far this season.
The teams clash Tuesday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium as part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
“They're going to be hungry,” Duke guard Matt Jones said. “It should be a good matchup for us. I know our guys will be ready for it.”
Fifth-ranked Duke (6-1) is riding a four-game winning since losing to Kansas. Michigan State responded to place third in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, but it has been a treacherous opening stretch for the Spartans (4-3), who've fallen out of the national rankings under coach Tom Izzo.
“Tom's team has a played a heck of a schedule and they've had some injuries as well,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
Duke won't have heralded freshmen Marques Bolden, Harry Giles or Jayson Tatum for this game, Krzyzewski said, as none of them has made a collegiate debut due to various injuries. However, Bolden and Giles both appear closer to being available after going through warm-ups with the Blue Devils prior to two games last week.
Izzo said his team has looked fatigued during the opening weeks.
“With this travel schedule we're on, we're bound to be fatigued a little bit,” Izzo said. “And worse than anything is we looked soft inside. That almost never happens here. Some of it is due to injury.”
But the Blue Devils are expecting Michigan State's top effort.
“They're tough and we're playing against a program, not a team,” Krzyzewski said. “…I admire what they do. Hopefully, I won't admire a lot of what they do on Tuesday, but we know we're in for a big-time game, which is good because that's how we'll get better.”
Duke has won at least six of its first seven games for the 17th season in a row. Plus, the Blue Devils own a 129-game homecourt winning streak against non-conference competition.
Michigan State has not allowed an opponent to shoot 50 percent this season, while five of the foes have checked in at less than 40 percent from the field.
The Blue Devils have scored at least 70 points in every game. Only three Michigan State opponents have eclipsed 70 points, and the Spartans won two of those games.
Duke is trying to excel in different types of games.
“Game by game, play by play, possession by possession, we are starting to learn each other and we're getting better,” said Jones, a senior who's expected to be one of the team's leaders. “I think that we're leading the guys better and those guys are working hard. Guys are getting experience.”
Most of concern to Izzo this month has been shortcomings in toughness and rebounding, the latter coming in part because of a lack of size.
“We're going to find a way,” Izzo said. “There's a lot of encouragement. We're going to find a way to get that back.”
Krzyzewski called Michigan State freshman swingman Miles Bridges “a big-time player.” He has scored at least 20 points in four of his seven games.
Duke freshman guard Frank Jackson has led his team in scoring three times, scoring in double figures in every game.
After Tuesday, the Spartans, who've already traveled to Honolulu, New York and the Bahamas, will play their next five games at home.
Duke has won 10 of 12 meetings with Michigan State, including the last five. This will be will the sixth meeting between the programs since 2010.
The Blue Devils are 15-2 all-time in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, marking both the most victories and best winning percentage of any team in either league. Duke is 3-0 against Michigan State in ACC-Big Ten Challenge games, while the Blue Devils are 7-0 in Challenge games at Cameron Indoor Stadium.