November 20, 2017

Bagley already making history at Duke

14 November 2017, 01:48 | Henrietta Morgan

Julie Jacobson AP

Julie Jacobson  AP

The other game pins No. 4 Kansas against No. 5 Kentucky, but all eyes are going to be on the first game between the Spartans and Blue Devils.

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 the United Center. The Blue Devils opened the season with convincing wins over Elon and Utah Valley, giving coach Mike Krzyzewski 1,000 victories with the program.

"I think that experience past year that humbled everybody was a good experience", Izzo said.

"They are a very well balanced team".

Duke's freshmen have made the adjustment to the college game look easy through two games. Bagley set a Duke freshman record when he scored 25 points in their season opener against Elon.

"I feel like if we play our game, we should should be just fine", freshman guard Gary Trent Jr., who has averaged 17 points, said Saturday about Michigan State.

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Although the Spartans were an inexperienced and youthful team a season ago, they're no stranger to the big games on the biggest stages.

But the Spartans will provide more of a challenge for the Blue Devils.

"When we get the ball with two hands, we can really change ends well", Krzyzewski said.

For the most part, though, it was one blowout after another.

"When you can share great moments, it's the best", Krzyzewski, who is 1,000-271 in 38 seasons with Duke, told the crowd after the game. This is expected to be a potential national title preview, and it features a plethora of NBA talent as well as storylines galore. The Spartans also will rely on the versatility of forward Miles Bridges-who had 20 points and 10 rebounds in the team's season-opening win against North Florida-to initiate their offense and crash the glass on misses.

Duke is one of the younger teams in basketball, with four freshman surrounding Grayson Allen, the lone senior in the starting lineup, and certainly the biggest villain in basketball.

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Tuesday's game will be a test for the Blue Devils.

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.

The Blue Devils have the newest sensation in college basketball in freshman Marvin Bagley III. Duke held its opponents to worse than 40 percent shooting in both games this weekend, and if the Blue Devils can sustain their defensive intensity, they could cause problems for a Michigan State team that does not have a knockdown perimeter shooter or proven floor general. Tom Izzo continues to lead great teams, but many think this could be the best team he has had.

By midnight tonight, college basketball fans everywhere will have learned much about just how good these teams are now and can become by March.

"I've watched a little bit of them".

"They had good old, really good old, and good new", he said.

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"I'm the luckiest guy to coach ever".

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