The Big Ten/ACC Challenge continues Tuesday night with an all-star matchup of Duke and Michigan State highlighting the night. A week ago, these teams were ranked No. 2 and 3, respectively, in the country, but now they’ve dropped to 10 and 11 after losing games to unranked opponents such as Stephen F. Austin for Duke and Virginia Tech for Michigan State. It was the first time Duke has lost at home to an unranked opponent since 2000, which is pretty incredible.
Duke is 7-1 on the season, its only loss being to SFA, and yet people are starting the underestimating early this year. The Spartans are 5-2 heading into this matchup, as they’ve been beaten by Virginia Tech and No. 8 Kentucky to kick off the season. The Big Ten is 1-1 so far through one day of the challenge, as Miami beat Illinois and Minnesota beat Clemson on night one of the challenge. The Spartans are favored by 6.5 points in the contest, with the over/under set at 147.
Krzyzewski Hearing The Criticism
The word across social media after the loss to Stephen F. Austin is that Mike Krzyzewski is washed up and that it’s time for Duke to bring in new blood. They should replace a man who’s possibly the greatest college basketball coach of all time. Fortunately, Duke isn’t going to listen to pundits, and neither is Krzyzewski. Duke rebounded from its loss with a 13-point victory over Winthrop, and it looks to keep it rolling in East Lansing.
Unfortunately for Duke, it lost one of its best players to a hamstring injury against Winthrop. Cassius Stanley will likely miss Tuesday night’s game, and Duke will have to find a way to replace his 13 points, five rebounds, and tight defense. Vernon Carey Jr., a 6-10 freshman, leads the team in points, blocks, and rebounds, averaging 18.4, 2.4, and 9.5, respectively. Michigan State has to find an answer for Carey.
Head coach Tom Izzo looks to pick up a signature win over Duke early in the season. It would certainly look good on the Spartans’ resume come March. Led by senior guard Cassius Winston, the Michigan State offense has been pretty good so far, but Winston needs some help. The Spartans rank 43rd in the country in points per game, averaging 80.9 points per game.
The Spartans’ defense ranks outside of the top 100 and allows almost 65 points per game. Marcus Bingham Jr. leads the team in blocks per game off the bench, averaging 1.6 per game. Winston also leads the team in steals, averaging one per contest.
Devil Of A Night
It could be a very good or a very bad night for Izzo’s squad, but for our purposes, the 6.5 points may turn out to be significant. Duke is only .500 against the line this year, but fortunately for the Blue Devils, Michigan State is an abysmal 2-5 against the spread this season. The pick here is for the Blue Devils to win and beat the 6.5.