Game to be played at United Center, Chicago, Illinois
College basketball gets an early-season treat when No. 1 Duke takes on No. 2 Michigan State on Tuesday night in the opener of the Champions Classic at the United Center in Chicago. The Blue Devils scored 97 and 99 points in home victories over Elon and Utah Valley to start the season, while the Spartans had 98 points in their season-opening victory over North Florida.
Veteran guard Grayson Allen is the leader for Mike Krzyzewski's Duke squad, providing solid shooting (averaging 20 points per game) and leadership as the team's only senior. But the big news about the Blue Devils is the play of a tremendous freshman class that features four starters -- Marvin Bagley III (24.5 points, 10 rebounds), Gary Trent Jr. (17 points), Trevon Duval (11.5 points, 10 assists) and Wendell Carter Jr. (10 points, 6.5 rebounds). Of course, Michigan State's four-man freshmen class of a year ago is now an experienced sophomore bunch, led by Player of the Year favorite Miles Bridges (20 points, 10 rebounds in season opener), a versatile forward who is a force on both ends of the floor. He's joined by fellow sophomores Nick Ward (16 points), Cassius Winston (12 points, eight assists) and Joshua Langford (13 points) in the starting lineup along with the team's own highly touted freshman, Jaren Jackson Jr., who debuted with 13 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks.
TV: 7 p.m. ET. ESPN
LINE HISTORY: The No. 1 ranked Blue Devils opened as slight 2-point favorites on the neutral court of the United Center. Duke was bet up to -2.5 at one point, but have since dropped down to the current number of -1.5. The total opened at 157.5 and currently sits at 158. Check out the complete line history here.
WHAT SHARPS SAY: "The top two teams in the nation collide in the Champions Classic in Chicago, Mike Krzyzewksi’s hometown place of birth, where the Blue Devils look to improve on their 11-1 record of late over the Spartans. With Coach K 15-4 SU and 16-3 ATS against Big Ten foes in games when not favored by more than 5-points, expect more of the same this evening." - Covers Expert Marc Lawrence.
ABOUT DUKE (2-0, 1-0 ATS, 1-0 O/U): The Blue Devils are extremely talented but depth may be a problem for Krzyzewski's squad this season. In their first two contests -- wins by an average of 29.5 points -- the five starters played 289 of a possible 400 minutes and scored 166 of the team's 196 points. Against a team such as Michigan State, that has plenty of size inside and a lot of bodies that coach Tom Izzo likes to rotate into the game, the Blue Devils' starters will be tested on their ability to stay out of foul trouble and be fresh in the closing minutes of the contest.
ABOUT MICHIGAN STATE (1-0, 1-0 ATS, 1-0 O/U): Although the Spartans romped in their season opener, Izzo was not happy about the team's 3-of-12 shooting from 3-point range. Winston was 2-for-2 but shooting guards Langford and Matt McQuaid combined to go 1-of-6 from beyond the arc while Bridges was 0-for-2. Part of it may have been opening-night jitters or excitement, but the Spartans are going to need to be able to spread defenses to allow Jackson and Ward space to play down low and help Bridges find some driving lanes to the basket.
TIP-IN BETTING TIDBITS:
1. Krzyzewski is 10-1 SUagainst Izzo, however, Michigan State is 6-5 ATS in those contests.
2. Jackson became the fourth Spartan freshman to post a double-double in his debut and his 13 rebounds were the second-most by a Spartan freshman in his first game.
3. Duval's 20 assists in the first two games of a career easily topped Chris Duhon's previous school record of 12 at the start of the 2000-01 season.