Game Preview by @RandyDunson – Duke Blue Devils vs. Kansas Jayhawks

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#1/1 Duke Blue Devils [2-0, 0-0] vs. #7/8 Kansas Jayhawks [0-1, 0-0]

 November 15, 2016 • ~9:30 PM • New York, NY • Madison Square Garden Media: ESPN, Local Radio

 By Randy Dunson [Note: Please direct comments, suggestions, etc. to @RandyDunson.]

champions-classic-tickets-3

 

Team Overviews

Duke

The Blue Devils played their first two regular-season games over the weekend, clobbering Marist 94-49 and Grand Canyon 96-61 at home. Junior guard Grayson Allen had 25 points and 10 rebounds and Frank Jackson scored 21 points Saturday against Grand Canyon. Allen had 16 points Friday against Marist, Jackson had 18, and Luke Kennard scored 16.

Allen had a strong sophomore season in which he averaged 21.4 points per game. Fifth-year senior Amile Jefferson is back after missing the final 27 games in 2015-16 because of a right foot injury. He is averaging 5.7 rebounds in 115 career games and 10 points and 8 boards this season. Duke has won five national championships and is the favorite to win a sixth this season.

Freshman forward Jayson Tatum missed both weekend games after spraining his foot during practice last month. Freshman center Marques Bolden has a leg injury, and forward Harry Giles is recovering after having his left knee scoped in October to clean up some loose bodies and scar tissue. It is likely they will miss Tuesday’s game.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski, 69, is coming off a successful summer, leading Team USA to its third straight Olympic gold medal. He has a 1,045-321 record over 41-plus seasons as a head coach, including a 972-262 mark in his 37th season at Duke.

Notables:

  • NA

 

Probable Starters

Guard – Sophomore Grayson Allen

Guard – Junior Matt Jones

Guard –Sophomore Luke Kennard

Forward – Sophomore Chase Jeter

Forward – Grad Student Amile Jefferson

 

Kansas

No. 7/8 Kansas, 12-time defending Big 12 regular-season champions, faces No. 1/1 Duke (2-0) in the State Farm Champions Classic Tuesday night at ~9:30 PM at historic Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Kansas is facing its first No. 1 foe since the Jayhawks defeated USA Today Coaches Poll No. 1 Oklahoma, 109-106, in triple overtime on Jan. 4, 2016, in Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas is facing an Associated Press No. 1 team for the 24th time in school history and the first time since the 2014 Champions Classic where it fell to Kentucky, 72-40, in Indianapolis. Kansas is 7-16 all-time versus the Associated Press No. 1, including 2-2 under head coach Bill Self.

KU, which is 1-4 in the Champions Classic (0-2 against Michigan State, 0-2 vs. Kentucky, 1-0 vs. Duke) will try to avoid a rare 0-2 start to the season. Last time that happened was 1972-73, when the Jayhawks went 8-18 overall.

The Jayhawks are 3-7 all-time versus Duke, but have won two of the last three meetings, including the last matchup, a 94-83 win in the 2013 Champions Classic in Chicago.

KU will be trying to make rapid improvement defensively from Friday’s 103-99 overtime loss to Indiana in Hawaii. Indiana hit 15 of 31 threes in that game. KU also must improve on the boards after being outrebounded by 11 by the Hoosiers. The Jayhawks hope Big 12 player of the week Frank Mason continues his stellar play. He had a 30-point, nine-assist, and seven-rebound outing against Indiana.

Notables:

  • Kansas and Duke are two of only four NCAA Division I men’s basketball programs with 2,000-plus all-time victories: Kentucky (2,205), KANSAS (2,186), North Carolina (2,177), and Duke (2,087).
  • Dating back to 1990, Kansas’ 27 current consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances is the nation’s longest active streak, and is tied for the NCAA record. Duke is next with 21.
  • KU has five national championships, including three NCAA titles, while Duke has four NCAA championships.
  • Kansas ranks fourth in all-time NCAA Tournament games played at 144. Duke is fifth at 141.
  • Kansas and Duke have met 10 times, including eight on neutral floors and five in the NCAA Tournament. Three of those five were in a Final Four (1986, 1988, and 1991). Duke defeated Kansas, 72-65, in the 1991 NCAA Tournament title game.

Probable Starters

Guard – Senior Frank Mason

Guard – Junior Devonte Graham

Guard – Freshman Josh Jackson

Forward – Sophomore Carlton Bragg

Forward – Senior Landon Lucas

 

Last Time Out

Duke

With three big men out with injuries, top-ranked Duke is leaning on its guards for a little bit of everything. Grayson Allen had 25 points and 10 rebounds, freshman Frank Jackson added 21 points and the Blue Devils beat Grand Canyon 96-61 on Saturday.

“We have to rebound — the whole perimeter has to rebound,” said Allen, who finished one rebound shy of his career best. “We know the big guys that we do have in the game, they’re going to be battling, boxing out the other bigs, so the perimeter, we need to crash in and rebound and clean up all the loose stuff.” Amile Jefferson scored 15 points, Luke Kennard finished with 14, and Matt Jones had 11 points for the short-handed Blue Devils (2-0).

Once again playing without three injured freshman post players, they kept things largely in their guards’ hands and shot 53 percent to win their second game in less than 24 hours.

“I like my team a lot. We just have to keep getting better, and then once all these injuries are taken care of in some time, we can become a different team,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “Right now, we have to be this team and not think about who we could be. Our complete focus has got to be how to win with this team.”

 

Notables:

  • The Blue Devils shortened their bench significantly, playing only seven players in the pre-garbage time portion of the game, and the seventh, freshman Javin DeLaurier, logged only 6 minutes in all.
  • They are trying to keep things working without injured freshman big men Harry Giles (knee), Marques Bolden (lower leg) and Jayson Tatum (foot). Krzyzewski says he doesn’t anticipate having them against the Jayhawks and “we may not have them all week.
  • “Whatever amount of time, whatever it is, let’s just get well,” Krzyzewski added. “And while you guys are getting well and supporting the team, let’s become a team with these nine guys. We made that a priority this past week. We’re trying to figure out the system we need for this group of guys.”

 

Kansas

Senior guard Frank Mason III carried his team, and several defenders, while helping Kansas rally from a five-point deficit and force overtime, but a 3-point barrage, including two in the final two minutes of overtime, gave then No. 11/12 Indiana enough distance to hold off then No. 3/2 Kansas, 103-99, in the State Farm Armed Forces Classic inside the Stan Sheriff Center Friday night.

Mason scored the Jayhawks’ final 11 points of regulation, three times scoring a lay-up while being fouled to erase a multi-possession Hoosier advantage, and led all scorers with a career-best 30 points before fouling out in the waning minutes. Indiana’s James Blackmon Jr. and Curtis Jones each hit late threes to keep KU at arm’s length. Mason’s first career 30-point effort was accompanied by 13-of-15 shooting at the free throw line, nine assists, and seven rebounds. In total, five Jayhawks reached double-figure points with four fouling out.

Junior guard Devonte’ Graham scored 16 points, sophomore forward Carlton Bragg Jr. and junior guard Svi Mykhailiuk chipped in 12 apiece, and senior center Landen Lucas added 11. Indiana’s Blackmon scored 20 of his 26 points in the second half to lead the Hoosiers to a 1-0 start.

The contest had the makings of a tough tilt from the outset as Kansas tied up Indiana and logged a steal by less than 15 seconds into the game – a forced jump-ball by freshman guard Josh Jackson in his collegiate debut. The Jayhawks nearly completed the hustle play bingo card in the first minute after an offensive rebound turned into a late shot clock three and another steal turned into the second transition bucket for Carlton Bragg and a 7-3 lead. Kansas used an 11-0 run to regain the lead and closed the half hitting five of its last six shots.

The Jayhawks made their way to a nine-point lead in the second half before Indiana chipped away, hitting first four three pointers to erase the deficit and regain the lead for the first time since five minutes left in the first half at 60-59 with 12:30

Kansas quickly turned the tide with back-to-back lobs from Lucas and Vick off inbounds plays. Graham extended the run to 7-0 by converting an and-1 fast break layup and the free throw for a 66-60 Jayhawk lead.

Indiana responded with a 6-0 run to tie the game at 66 – the theme of the March-like atmosphere surrounding the blueblood matchup, which featured 16 ties and 17 lead changes. The fouls started to mount and Bragg became the first player to reach five when he fouled out with 3:45 to play.

In the final three minutes of regulation, Mason three times drove to the basket and scored while being fouled to pull Kansas out of a late deficit. Mason’s 11 straight points to end regulation were capped off by a pair of free throws to tie the game 89 with two second remaining to force overtime.

Jackson contributed when the team needed him most in his collegiate debut, hitting a pair of free throws to tie it at 91 with just under three minutes left in overtime, then added a put back dunk to cut the lead to two with 34.8 seconds to go. Indiana put the game on ice by converting free throws in the final 30 seconds as Kansas ran out of time to build enough momentum with four starters fouled out.

 

Notables:

  • FREE THROWS Kansas shot 30-for-38 at the free throw line, already tying 2015-16’s season-high 30 free throws made against Kentucky (Jan. 20, 2016) – also an overtime game. Frank Mason III led Kansas at the charity stripe with person career highs in free throws made (13) and free throws attempted (15).
  • TIES AND LEAD CHANGES Friday’s contest featured 16 ties and 17 lead changes, surpassing KU’s 2015-16 season high of 13 ties in three overtimes against Oklahoma (Jan. 4, 2016). Last season’s season-high 18 lead changes came against Kentucky (Jan. 30, 2016).
  • OVERTIME Friday marked the 123rd overtime (OT) contest in Kansas basketball history and the 13th on a neutral site. The Jayhawks are now 66-57 in OT games and 7-6 in neutral-site OT games.
  • FOUL TROUBLE A combined seven players from both teams fouled out, four from Kansas and three from Indiana. Kansas (32) and Indiana (31) combined for 63 total fouls on Friday night. In addition to the seven combined foul outs, Kansas and Indiana each had two players with four fouls at the end of the contest.

 

Head-to-Head

Although it only started in 1985, Kansas and Duke have shared a high-stakes series. Duke leads, 7-3, but Kansas has won two of the last three meetings, including the last match-up, a 94-83 win in the 2013 Champions Classic in Chicago.

Eight of the 10 match-ups have been on neutral floors while five of the games have been NCAA Tournament battles, including three Final Fours and one NCAA title game. The first meeting came in the 1985 Preseason NIT championship game in Madison Square Garden, which Duke won 92-86. The same two teams met in Dallas in the Final Four semifinal later that season, a game that was the first-ever game between two 30-win teams. Duke won that contest, 71-67. In 1988, Duke traveled to Lawrence for a February non-conference game and came away with a 74-70 overtime victory in Allen Fieldhouse. Later that season the teams met again, this time in the Final Four semifinal, with Kansas defeating Duke, 66-59, at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Missouri.

The national title was on the line in the 1991 meeting, a Duke 72-65 win in Indianapolis. The Blue Devils ended the Jayhawks’ season in the second round of the 2000 NCAA Tournament in Winston Salem, North Carolina, while KU returned the favor in the 2003 Sweet 16 in Anaheim, California, en route to its Final Four run. Duke won the 2011 Maui Invitational title defeating KU, 68-61, in the championship game.

[NB: Full statistical parameters will not be displayed until after the fifth game is played. Some statistics will be noted in other sections though.]

 

Duke 2015-16 Regular Season Key Stats Comparison Kansas
PPG (Scoring Margin)
Opponents PPG
Effective FG%
FG%
Opponent FG%
3PT FG%
Opponent 3PT FG%
RPG (Rebound Margin)
Opponent RPG
FT%
APG
SPG (%)
Turnovers Per Game (Margin)
Opponent TOPG
BPG
Fouls Per Game

 

Four Factors to Winning

[NB: Same applies here as for statistics] [If you wish to learn more about how the four factors are calculated and implemented, a description can always be found here, https://www.dukeblogger.com/four-factors-winning/.]

 

Key Points to Consider

[NB: Same applies here as for statistics]

First, a few points regarding both team’s overall profile at this point:

 

Duke – Kansas

Talk about a major showdown on the hardwood to showcase an early season contest. The #1/1 Duke Blue Devils are in the Big Apple as they face the #7/8 Kansas Jayhawks in a marquee contest Tuesday night at the Champions Classic. Duke won their second straight to start the season as they walloped Grand Canyon 96-61 Saturday. Kansas dropped a 103-99 overtime decision to then #11 Indiana in the Armed Forces Classic Friday. Duke has wins in seven of the 10 previous meetings, though it was a #5 Kansas team taking down #4 Duke 94-83 in the last meeting on November 12, 2013.

 

Duke Blue Devils Try to Defend #1 Ranking

Duke had little problem in their first two games of the season as they bombed Marist by 45 before handling Grand Canyon by 35 Saturday. The Blue Devils led 46-29 at the half and poured it on in the second half to cruise to an easy win. Duke shot 53.3 percent from the floor in the contest and knocked down 11 of 29 three point attempts in the game. The Blue Devils held a 39-31 edge on the glass and overcame 15 turnovers in the game by forcing 21 by the Antelopes. One has to wonder how good Duke would be if players like Jayson Tatum and Marques Bolden were healthy for this contest.

The Blue Devils are currently tied for 43rd in the nation as they pile up 95 points per contest. Duke is tied for 35th on the glass as they collect 47.5 rebounds per contest. The Blue Devils are tied for 93rd by dishing out 16.5 assists a night. Duke is tied for 41st in scoring defense by allowing an average of 55 points per game. Grayson Allen leads the Blue Devils with 20.5 points plus seven rebounds per game this season. Frank Jackson chips in 19.5 points a night while Luke Kennard has put up 15 points, seven boards and four assists a game. Matt Jones (11 points) and Amile Jefferson (10 points) are solid scoring options as well for coach Mike Krzyzewski. Chase Jeter, Javin DeLaurier, and Jack White are key pieces, especially until Tatum and Bolden are back in the mix. The Blue Devils are shooting 48.4 percent from the floor as a team and have knocked down 37.3 percent of their three point attempts early on.

 

Kansas Jayhawks Seek Bounce Back Victory

Kansas went toe to toe with Indiana in the Armed Forces Classic but came up just short, falling in overtime. It marked the most points ever scored by the Jayhawks as a ranked team in a game that they lost. Kansas fell to 113-2 in their last 115 games when they scored at least 90 points dating back to 2001. Both teams shot 43.7 percent from the field in the game. While Kansas had a narrow edge at the free throw line, hitting 30 of 38 attempts to Indiana’s 26 of 36, perimeter shooting proved to be the difference. The Hoosiers drained 15 of 31 from beyond the arc to Kansas’s 7 of 23. The Jayhawks also lost the rebounding battle 50-39.

Frank Mason led five Jayhawks in double figures as he scored a career-high 30 points in the loss. He also grabbed seven rebounds and dished out nine assists while winning the Big 12 Player of the Week Award. Devonte Graham scored 16 points while Carlton Bragg Jr. and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk each contributed 12 points in the defeat. Landen Lucas added 11 points and seven rebounds in the game. Four of Kansas’s five starters fouled out: Josh Jackson was the only starter to avoid that fate though he finished with four fouls. Kansas committed 32 personal fouls while the Hoosiers had 31. All told, seven players ended up fouling out of the back and forth contest.

There are two trains of thought for this contest right now. One is that Kansas is better prepared for facing a top foe by already playing one to open their season. Even in a loss, the Jayhawks were battle tested in that contest. On the flip side, Duke has played a couple of pushovers, which has given them a chance to ease their young guys in and give them a chance to adapt to the speed of the college game. There is merit to both points of view. There is a pair of masterful coaches in this one with Krzyzewski and Bill Self. In the end, Duke still has enough talent to squeak out a tight win in a game that will serve both teams well down the line.

Players to watch

Frank Jackson, Duke: Jackson, one of the lesser-heralded of Duke’s highly touted freshmen, has been very good for through two games, averaging 18.5 points in the early going — albeit against Marist and Grand Canyon. That Jackson doesn’t get the attention of his fellow freshmen tells you just how good this Blue Devil class is, as Jackson is still a five-star recruit. Coming off the bench, he’s provided a spark for the Blue Devils with a very aggressive approach on offense. He plays like he’s mad and has something to prove, and that makes Duke incredibly dangerous. I’m betting his hot streak continues Tuesday.

Devonte’ Graham, Kansas: Graham dropped a cool 16 points against Indiana in the season-opener, but he was still just 3-of-11 from the floor and 2 of 6 from 3-point range. When Graham and Mason are both on, they terrorize opponents in the backcourt as a nearly unstoppable duo. He will need to return to form for Kansas to compete with Duke, who presents a formidable backcourt challenge defensively with Grayson Allen and Matt Jones.

Matchup to watch

Again, it’s the backcourt — Allen, Jones and Luke Kennard vs. Mason, Graham and Jackson. This should be fun. Again, Jackson was mostly held at bay Friday against Indiana, but I think the matchup is favorable for him to bounce back in a big way against Duke.

Endgame

For Duke it is going to come down to fundamentals and defense. Perimeter defense and keying on guard Frank Mason III is crucial. If Duke can limit him in the paint and on the free throw like Duke should have a chance to win. As shorthanded as the Devils are they have enough firepower from the outside to muster out a win but if Duke can utilize its big men effectively they increase their margin for error. Amile Jefferson on both ends of the floor needs to be huge and if Duke can get good minutes for Chase Jeter then I think they can get a close victory but if Frank Mason goes HAM it could be a very long night for Duke.

I see a very close game with Duke eking out a 82-76 win.