No. 6 Duke, No. 8 Michigan State meet in Champions Classic

·3 min read
FILE - In this Jan. 28, 2020, file photo, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski gestures during the second half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Pittsburgh in Durham, N.C. Krzyzewski's ninth-ranked Blue Devils are picked to finish second in the Atlantic Coast Conference behind No. 4 Virginia. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

No. 8 Michigan State already has a notable victory. No. 6 Duke tries to secure one of those Tuesday night when it welcomes the Spartans to Durham, N.C., in the Champions Classic.

Duke (1-0) had the beginning of its season delayed but might need to be full speed ahead in this matchup if the Blue Devils are going to notch more success.

A top-notch recruiting class naturally brings attention to the Blue Devils. But that doesn't mean everything is smooth.

"It's not developed talent," coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

Meanwhile, Michigan State (2-0) has molded well across the first week of the season. The Spartans followed an opening victory against Eastern Michigan by defeating Notre Dame 80-70 on Saturday night.

"Hopefully, that will continue," Spartans coach Tom Izzo said. "We need that down at Duke."

Duke had its first game called off because of Gardner-Webb's coronavirus situation, so that means the 81-71 victory Saturday against visiting Coppin State is the lone game to assess.

"We have a lot to do," Krzyzewski said.

A big reason for that is because Duke committed 22 turnovers against Coppin State.

"It's tough to explain some of those turnovers," Krzyzewski said. "It's just tough to explain where you throw it across the half court, the side of the court and you throw it out of bounds."

Michigan State has dealt with turnovers, too. The Spartans have committed 30 turnovers compared to their opponents' 19 giveaways.

Michigan State used a 26-0 run spanning halftime in building a huge lead on Notre Dame. The Spartans moved the ball well.

"Again, 26 assists on 30 baskets. That might be the storyline of this team now," Izzo said.

"That's two games in a row. Which means we're moving the ball. We're passing the ball, and I was proud of my guys so you know this has not been an easy run. And now what a great way to look forward to going to Duke."

Spartans' junior forward Joey Hauser, a transfer from Marquette, secured his first career double-double with 10 points and 16 rebounds against Notre Dame. Hauser previously played for coach Steve Wojciechowski, the Marquette coach who is a former player and assistant coach under Krzyzewski.

"Just tell him to work on that 3-point shot and those free throws and maybe the next game we'll keep growing," Izzo said of Hauser.

A game of this magnitude normally would come with great fanfare. Instead, there will be no fans in the gym because of coronavirus protocols on Duke's campus, possibly diminishing the Blue Devils' homecourt advantage.

"You're supposed to win and supposed to win at home, except home isn't like it has been," Krzyzewski said.

Duke's freshman class includes Jalen Johnson, a forward whose debut included 19 points and 19 rebounds in what Krzyzewski called "a heck of a first-time performance."

The Champions Classic, which also includes Kansas and Kentucky, in the past met at neutral sites for a doubleheader, with the matchups rotating each year. This time, the Michigan State-Duke game was switched to Duke's campus, with the Blue Devils agreeing to visit Michigan State next year.

This will be the fifth consecutive season that these teams meet -- and the 10th matchup overall. Duke has won eight of the past nine, with the exception the 2019 NCAA Tournament's East Region final. Overall, the Blue Devils hold a 13-3 series lead.

--Field Level Media