Blog Entry

Getting ready for Michigan State-Duke

Posted on: December 1, 2010 12:01 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2010 12:44 pm
DURHAM, N.C. -- It's the school ranked first in all sensible preseason polls vs. the school ranked second in most preseason polls. It's Hall of Fame coach vs. Hall of Fame coach. Elite point guard vs. Elite point guard. Cameron Indoor. ACC/Big Ten Challenge. I could go on and on, but you get the point that Wednesday's showdown between Duke and Michigan State is a must-watch for college basketball fans and a must-attend for college basketball writers.

So I'm attending and I can't wait.

I'll be courtside for the nationally televised tipoff.

Here are four storylines for this game featuring two Final Four teams:

1. Power program/coach vs. Power program/coach

Kentucky is the all-time winningest program. UCLA has more titles than anybody. But an argument could be made that no two schools have been more consistently dominant in recent years than Duke and Michigan State, and that no two coaches are better at what they do than Mike Krzyzewski and Tom Izzo. Coach K leads active coaches in national titles (4) and Final Four appearances (11) while Izzo has one national championship and six Final Fours in the past 12 seasons. Both men have rejected multiple offers to move to the NBA, Izzo's decision to pass on a huge contract from the Cleveland Cavaliers last June serving as the latest example. Their approaches are different, personalities opposite. But one thing Krzyzewski and Izzo have in common is that they're true icons of the sport still operating at an elite level. To watch them against each other in person should be a treat.

2. Duke's quest to finish undefeated

It's still a longshot, and I doubt it'll happen. But if the Blue Devils win this game (Duke is a 10-point favorite, by the way) they'll have wins over No. 5 Kansas State, No. 6 Michigan State and be the owners of a remaining schedule that includes no more games against teams ranked in the latest Associated Press poll. Clearly, at N.C. State (Jan. 19) will still be tricky, and two of the final three regular season games are at Virginia Tech (Feb. 26) and North Carolina (March 5). But barring a notable injury, Duke won't be an underdog in any game this season. So get ready for a discussion about whether the Blue Devils can finish undefeated provided they handle Michigan State convincingly.

3. Kyrie Irving as America's best point guard

BYU's Jimmer Fredette and Kansas State's Jacob Pullen received much of the preseason hype, and Connecticut's Kemba Walker is the star of this young season. But ask NBA general managers for the name of the first guard likely to be selected in June's NBA Draft, and the answer you'll get most often is Duke's Kyrie Irving. Simply put, he's been better than advertised, and the advertisement was incredible. The freshman point guard is averaging 14.5 points, 5.8 assists and 3.7 rebounds while shooting 49.1 percent from the field, 40.9 percent from 3-point range and 92.3 percent from the free throw line. Irving is so good, in fact, that I'd give the edge at point guard in this game to Duke even though Michigan State's Kalin Lucas is more experienced and the preseason Big Ten Player of the Year.

4. This could decide the ACC/Big Ten Challenge

The Big Ten takes a 4-2 advantage into the final day of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge but remains the underdog in the event because ACC schools are favored in four of Wednesday's five games. Assuming everything goes as planned, the ACC/Big Ten Challenge will be tied 5-5 when the Spartans and Blue Devils tip at 9:30 ET. So this game could decide things, and such a scenario would have fans from Ohio State, Indiana and Purdue gathered around televisions rooting for Michigan State while fans from Virginia, Florida State and North Carolina -- OK, probably not North Carolina -- pull for Duke. Thus, the timing of the game could make the stakes higher than they already were, and they were already pretty high given the stature of the schools, players and coaches involved.
Category: NCAAB

Since: Aug 15, 2008
Posted on: December 1, 2010 8:57 pm

Getting ready for Michigan State-Duke

Man, the ACC looks very weak this year.  Usually we can say "yeah, we suck at football, but wait till winter", not so much now.  Even when Duke wins, the ACC will still lose the challenge by at least two games, maybe three if BC can't keep Indiana under control.  Duke should be able to dominate the ACC this year with maybe two road losses just because playing at NCSU, at UNC, at Miami, at VT and at MD (I don't recall if all of those are on there, but I know at least three of them are) are all pretty tough every year.  I don't care if my team goes undefeated or not during the regular season as long as the are undefeated in March/April.  Even if they do go undefeated, tarheel fans everywhere will but their chops for doing it in a "down year" in the ACC or some other BS.

Since: Nov 9, 2008
Posted on: December 1, 2010 6:13 pm

Getting ready for Michigan State-Duke

West Virginia proved last year in the eastern Regional final against Kentucky that Super stars and would be first round draft picks can be sent home with their bags packed......  You never know what to expect from 18-19-20 year olds that still chew bubble gum!....That 's why we play the games!

Since: Dec 9, 2006
Posted on: December 1, 2010 6:06 pm

Getting ready for Michigan State-Duke

Oh yea Wall won the championship last year......NOT!!!!

Since: Sep 18, 2008
Posted on: December 1, 2010 5:39 pm

Getting ready for Michigan State-Duke

Since all the sportswriters and pundits are certain that Duke will win the championship--and they know more about this stuff than we do--why not just skip the season and the tournament and ship the trophy down to Durham. Think of all the extra vacation time they would have. Last year it was the "John Wall" drinking game. This year it's the "Duke undefeated?" drinking game. Oh, wait a minute, DRINK!

Since: Nov 14, 2006
Posted on: December 1, 2010 4:45 pm

Getting ready for Michigan State-Duke

Sorry homers.  2 teams throwing up a bunch of points, does not make it the best game.  It takes all facets of the game to make it a great game.  I would like to see MSU give Duke a run for their money tonight and if they get after the boards, it will be a battle, because there will be defense both ways.  Otherwise, just like Izzo said, they will get drilled.

Since: Sep 6, 2006
Posted on: December 1, 2010 4:41 pm

Getting ready for Michigan State-Duke

I love how  U Krazy thinks that a conversation about Duke - MSU warrants a John Wall mention. Man, talk about grasping for relevance!

Since: Dec 21, 2007
Posted on: December 1, 2010 3:50 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Nov 25, 2007
Posted on: December 1, 2010 3:16 pm

Getting ready for Michigan State-Duke

Well, Gary; these two teams do play defense, so don't fall asleep during the game.  It also gets pretty warm in the building, so I hope you are dressing light? 

Since: Feb 20, 2009
Posted on: December 1, 2010 2:44 pm

Getting ready for Michigan State-Duke

Kyle is a great player no doubt. But what's up with his hair cut? That's killing me!

Since: Nov 6, 2007
Posted on: December 1, 2010 2:30 pm

Getting ready for Michigan State-Duke

There is nothing i hate more than the comment all time winningst team. Am I supposed to be impressed that a team like UCLA or  Kentucky won a bunch of games/championships 50-70 years ago.

If that is the case Syracuse football is a powerhouse.  

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