As No. 1 Duke gets set to face No. 2 Michigan State in the Champions Classic Tuesday, here are three things to know:
1. Young but good
Michigan State is young but good. It has four sophomore starters, including guard Miles Bridges, the national preseason player of the year. All four were part of last year’s Spartans team that lost to Duke, 78-69, at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Michigan State’s only freshman starter, forward Jarren Jackson Jr. (6-11, 242 pounds), was a top 10 recruit coming out of high school. All five starters scored in double figures in the Spartans’ 98-66 win over North Florida last Friday.
2. Trevon Duval
In two games, Duke freshman point guard Trevon Duval (6-3, 186 pounds) has 20 assists to only 1 turnover. He has the best assist to turnover ratio in the country, a primary reason Duke has had so much success offensively.
“He can really attack,” senior guard Grayson Allen said Monday. “Especially on the break. It might look like he’s trying to pass first because of all the assists he’s getting, but he’s going until somebody stops him and stopping him is the tough part because he’s so quick with the ball. I think he really opens up our offense by being that guy that gets into the paint and sucks the defense in.”
He’ll be playing across from another talented point guard, Michigan State sophomore Cassius Winston, who scored 12 points and added 8 assists against North Florida.
3. Marvin Bagley
Duke freshman Marvin Bagley, a 6-11, 234-pound forward, posted a double-double in both of the Blue Devils’ first two games. He’s the first Duke freshman to do that.
Bagley, however, hasn’t been able to knock down free throws. Through Duke’s first two games, he is 2-for-9 from the free throw line. Free throws will be crucial against Michigan State, in what should be a highly competitive game that could come down to the wire.
Duke vs. Michigan State
What: Champions Classic
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday
Where: United Center, Chicago