Monday, 20 November, 2017

Bagley already making history at Duke

Julie Jacobson  AP Julie Jacobson AP
Noah Ferguson | 14 November, 2017, 18:01

Duke's young standouts will have their first big test when the top-ranked Blue Devils meet No. 2 Michigan State in Tuesday night's Champions Classic.

Although much of the focus was on the team's big men before the season began, the Blue Devils have placed an emphasis on pushing the ball following misses.

Marvin Bagley III set the record for most points scored by a Duke freshman in a collegiate debut, Friday night with 25 points. "We want to play under the bright lights". "I think there's more to come, I'm just not sure how many".

This time around, No. 1 Duke will rely on its freshman in a big way when it travels to Chicago to take on No. 2 Michigan State Tuesday at 7 p.m.at the United Center.

The Spartans also are eager to see how they match up. Michigan State starts four sophomores, including Bridges, and one freshman. "We have been practicing all summer and fall".

This is going to be a great basketball game.

It will be an introduction to the country of some of these new college stars.

The Blue Devils got big contributions from its freshmen starters and Allen, who averaged 20 points through the first two games. And four of the five are freshmen.

"They had good old, really good old, and good new", he said. "Let the moment excite them".

"I'm the luckiest guy to coach ever. It's a matter of letting them play".

As for the later game in Chicago, Kansas has one All-America candidate guard in Devonte Graham and a second candidate in Mississippi State transfer Malik Newman, who most expected already to be in the National Basketball Association.

"It's not just another game. This is ridiculous.' They just do an unbelievable job". "It's one of the greatest nights of college basketball with those four teams playing". The Blue Devils opened the season with convincing wins over Elon and Utah Valley, giving coach Mike Krzyzewski 1,000 victories with the program.

But college basketball is the biggest victor, if only because it is one of the too few times before conference play begins that we get a chance to see the sport's traditional powerhouses square off in the same neutral-court environment where they can face each other come March.

Miles Bridges, a 6-7, 225-pound sophomore point guard and preseason national player of the year, scored 20 points and had 10 rebounds and 3 blocks in the Spartans' win over North Florida on Friday.

The Spartans also have key newcomers, so the fresh faces won't all be wearing Duke uniforms.

But Duke (2-0) will have its hands full Tuesday against a team that returns the majority of its rotation players from last season. It also has senior guard and widely despised (by the rest of college basketball) Grayson Allen and freshman point guard Trevon Duval both off the board by pick No. 27.

Duke will likely throw a number of different defenders at the burly forward with Trent and potentially either Bagley or Carter defending Bridges at times.

Now, he's a senior, having played in numerous huge games.

"You know (the Spartans) are going to be great and it's going to be a great environment up there", Allen said.

"Some of it's because they played better than us, some of it is because they were better than us and you know they're going to be good every year", Izzo said. Duke and Michigan State have previously met as 1-vs. Michigan State has a 3-3 record at the event.

But Izzo's teams have struggled against Coach K and the Blue Devils; Duke leads the series 10-1 since 1998.

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