One of the best games of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge is saved for late Tuesday night as No. 11 Duke heads to East Lansing, Michigan to take on No. 11 Michigan State. When the Blue Devils face the Sapartans we’ll get to see Hall of Fame coach vs. Hall of Fame coach and blueblood program vs. blueblood program. And of course it’ll be a legitimate national title contender vs. legitimate national title contender.
While both programs haven’t gotten off to the best starts to the season — Duke is 7-1, Michigan State is 5-2 — Tuesday night provides a platform for one program to establish itself as a legitimate presence to be reckoned with.
Duke: Maybe the most talented team in the ACC this season, but not the most cohesive — at least not yet. Duke has struggled early with close wins over Georgetown, Georgia State, Cal and Winthrop, and with a close loss to unranked Stephen F. Austin on its resume. We’ll see if the Blue Devils can put it all together against a talented and experienced Sparty team. It all hinges upon how far sophomore point guard Tre Jones can take them.
Michigan State: Like Duke, the Spartans are only as good as their best player — point guard Cassius Winston. And Winston is really, really good.He struggled in losses to Kentucky and to Virginia Tech, but on the whole he’s been great, averaging 17.9 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. He’ll need to continue to be great against a Tre Jones-led Duke team. Expect Winston to step up to the challenge. He’s averaging 24 points and six assists over his last two games since MSU’s last loss.
Date: Tuesday, Dec. 3 | Time: 9:30 p.m. ET
Location: Breslin Center in East Lansing, Michigan
TV: ESPN | Live stream: WatchESPN.com
Game prediction, picks
Give me Michigan State all day. Duke has been flirting with disaster all season, and if Stephen F. Austin can make them pay for it in Cameron Indoor, I suspect Michigan State in its own building can follow suit. Pick: Michigan State -6
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