The Champions Classic is a sign that it is officially college basketball season. The first game of the night gives us a rare treat: No. 1 Duke vs. No. 2 Michigan State just four days into the start of the season.
Duke heads into coach Mike Krzyzewski’s 38th season with monumental expectations. The Blue Devils again signed the top recruiting class in the country, led by Bagley and point guard Trevon Duval. Duval had 12 assists and only a single turnover against Utah Valley Saturday. Bagley III broke the Blue Devil record for most points in a debut with 25, adding 10 rebounds in what was a dominant debut win over Elon.
Wins over Elon and Utah Valley were nice, but Michigan State is entirely new challenge.
The Spartans also started their season off with a rout, theirs over North Florida by a score of 98-66. Miles Bridges scored 20 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and rejected three shots during his game against the Ospreys. Bridges is ready to prove to the country that he is the best player in the NCAA.
Michigan State isn’t a one-man show. Freshman Jaren Jackson Jr. is also considered a potential NBA lottery pick and he’s hoping to make a statement against Duke. Against the Ospreys, Jackson had a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds, but only shot 2-for-6 from the field. The Spartans will need better shooting from everyone, especially from three-point range. In their opening win over North Florida, they shot 3 of 12 from behind the arc. Such a paltry showing won’t cut it against a Duke team that will be looking for the smallest weaknesses to exploit.
Time, TV Channel, and streaming info:
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
- Location: United Center, Chicago, Illinois
- TV: ESPN
- Streaming: WatchESPN
- Odds: Duke favored by 1.5
Duke Vs Michigan State news:
- Anybody in the Blue Devil lineup can score at will, and that will make this team especially hard to defend.
All five Duke starters scored in double figures, led by the human-highlight reel known as Marvin Bagley, 24 points and 10 rebounds. Allen added 18, Trent 17 and Carter a dozen.
Then there’s Duval, with 15 points, 12 assists and three steals.
“I keep finding open people and they keep hitting shots,” Duval says.
- Duke to this point has shown great maturity for such a young and talented team.
Look, anyone can recognize the talent on this team. Duke has at least seven guys who are likely to be drafted and most of those in the first round.
What’s most impressive though is the maturity. No one is selfish. No one is coasting. Everyone seems to realize they have an opportunity to be part of something unusual and, potentially, freakishly good.
- Michigan State is ready for another run at an NCAA title, and its fans expect nothing less from their über-talented squad.
The Michigan State basketball team enters this season with one goal, hang banners. Big Ten, conference tournament, Final Four, and National Champion. Those are the banners this team wants to hang in the Breslin Center. Anything short of a Final Four will be seen as a disappointment.
We know this team is loaded with both talent and depth. We know it is more experienced than last year’s squad. We know that Coach Izzo will do his best to keep the team grounded despite the lofty pre-season expectations.
- Cassius Winston is the most important Spartan you haven’t heard of, and as the primary set-up man, his continued selflessness will be important to watch.
Cassius Winston was a filthy, filthy man in the win. His passing was out of this world and we can look forward to that all season. Miles Bridges and Jaren Jackson may be the biggest names on this team, but I can easily see Winston being a reason for victory in at least five games this year.
His selflessness was incredible — seven assists before even attempting a shot — and he was smart with his shot selection as he went 3-4 on his way to 12 points. Winston had a flaming hot start to the season.
How will each team respond to their first true test of the year?
Duke and Michigan State have both had easy schedules to this point, with the Blue Devils playing two weak teams and Michigan State playing one. Neither team has been challenged in the way they will be against each other. This game will shape a lot of the early season narratives around both teams and all the future lottery picks involved. Michigan State has always prided itself on a stout defense and they’ll get no better chance to test that skill than against one of the most offensively gifted teams in the country.
Duke vs Michigan prediction:
This early in the season there hasn’t been enough games to really get feel for either team or how they’ll play. Because we’re so early in the season, Michigan State should pull this one out. Their best player is a returning sophomore and that should lend them just a tiny bit more in the consistency department against a relatively new Duke team aside from Grayson Allen. This game should be a fantastic showcase for some of the best young basketball stars in the country.