Top-ranked Duke, No. 7 Florida clash in title game (Nov 26, 2017)
The final game of the Phil Knight 80 Invitational on Sunday will feature the tournament's best player in Duke's Marvin Bagley III and the highest scoring team in Florida.
Not only will the winner will be crowned champion of the "Motion" bracket, an early statement will be made as a true national championship contender in Portland, Ore.
Bagley has been unstoppable all tournament long. He's posted double-doubles in both wins, averaging 26 points and 15 rebounds. Most importantly, he's been the go-to guy for the No. 1-ranked Blue Devils when they've needed him most, not shying away from the moment and completely taking over games.
"I believe ultimately in this kid. I knew he was going to be good, but coaching him every day, he's a treasure, really," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "Because he wants to be really good. All of his teammates love him because he's as hard of a worker as we have."
While Duke (7-0) has one guy doing the majority of the scoring, the No. 7 Gators (5-0) have four different players who have scored at least 23 points in a game during the tournament -- six have posted double figures.
As a team, they're averaging 102.6 points on the season and 109.5 in the tournament. Florida is a phenomenal 3-point shooting team, connecting on 55.2 percent (32 of 58) from beyond the arc.
Jalen Hudson is the breakout star for the Gators, averaging 26 points with six 3-pointers made per game in the tourney.
Chris Chiozza was sensational against Gonzaga in the second round, finishing with 26 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds. KeVaughn Allen, although struggling with his shot, continued to attack the rim and went a perfect 11-of-11 from the charity stripe against the Bulldogs.
"We played really tough. We never quit," Hudson said. "We just never quit, never folded."
Where Florida lacks will be down low, a source of strength for the Blue Devils.
Duke already has Bagley but Wendell Carter Jr. is another future NBA player, averaging 15 points and 11 rebounds in the tournament. Between he and Bagley, the Blue Devils can afford to slow the game down and if their guards can get to the rim, it provides the big men with ample opportunities to clean up the offensive glass.
Duke also has an early favorite for national player of the year in embattled star Grayson Allen.
While only averaging 13 points and seven assists in the tourney, Allen is known for stepping up in big games. He posted 37 points on 7-of-11 shooting from 3-point range in Duke's big win over No. 4 Michigan State earlier in the season. Where he's struggled is defensively, fouling out against Texas and finishing with four fouls against Portland State.
If the game is close in the end or extends into overtime, fatigue could really set in for both teams.
Florida needed double overtime to beat Gonzaga in the second round, with three players logging at least 44 minutes.
"We had several opportunities to fold and our guys were extremely resilient and tough," Florida head coach Mike White said.
Duke finished off Texas in overtime to win its semifinal as four freshmen in its starting lineup all played at least 37 minutes.