2K EMPIRE CLASSIC BENEFITING WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT
NOV. 21 | MADISON SQUARE GARDEN | NEW YORK, NY | 9:00 P.M.
Overall: 4th meeting; Cal leads, 2-1
In Durham: n/a
In Berkeley/Oakland: Cal leads, 1-0
At neutral sites: Tied, 1-1
Current streak: Duke, 1-0
Coach K vs. Cal: 1-2
The 4 - 0 Blue Devils travel back to New York and Madison Square Garden to take on the Cal Bears in the 2k Empire Classic benefitting Wounded Warriors. The Blue Devils, last time out, beat a feisty Georgia State team 74-63 to notch their 4 straight win to begin the season. Cal is coming off of a 4 point victory over Prairie View A&M. Cal also enters the night 4 - 0.
Guard Matt Bradley leads the scoring for the Bears at 20 points a game, he's also their leading assist man with 2.5 per game so far on the year. The leading rebounder for the Bears is forward Grant Anticevich at 7.3 boards per game, he also averages 11 points per contest Cal starts a lineup of 2 freshmen, a sophomore, a junior and grad student Kareem South. The Bears are 5th in the nation in 3 point field goal percentage so far this year.
Players to Watch:
It goes without saying that Matt Bradley is a talented guard, he was a consensus top 100 high school prospect coming out of high school and has a gift for scoring the basketball. Bradley led the Pac-12 Conference last season with a .472 mark from 3-point distance, but only shot .369 from inside the arc. This season so far he's shooting over 52% from 3.
The Bears also bring in 2 players off the bench that provide offense in guard Paris Austin who averages 7.5 points a game and forward Andre Kelly who adds 8.8 points per game and just under 6 rebounds.
Tre Jones leads the Blue Devils in scoring at 17 per game and in assists per game at 5.8. Jones is also averaging 1.8 steals a game. The leading rebounder for the Blue Devils is freshman center Vernon Carey who averages 5.8 per game.
The Blue Devils will look to rebound back from a game in which they did not play their best basketball. The Blue Devils turned the ball over 17 times in the contest allowing the Panthers to keep the game within reach. Offensively, aside from Tre Jones hitting on a career high 31 points and Vernon Carey Jr. notching a double-double with 20 points and 14 rebounds, the remainder of the Blue Devils score 23 points off of 20% shooting. Carey and Jones combined to shoot 51% from the field going 17 of 33.
The Blue Devils are still learning the nuances between playing fast versus playing recklessly and as each game passes I expect them to inch a little forward toward being more efficient. Against Cal the Blue Devils will need to be much stronger with the ball and someone else besides Jones and Carey will need to step up and show some offensive efficiency.
Earlier in the season Coach K alluded to the fact that he had players who shot the ball inside as opposed to finishing shots inside, Duke left several bunnies at the rim in the Georgia State game, something they will need to correct in this game. Duke also shot abysmally from 3 point range as a team, even with Tre Jones shooting 50% from 3, as a team the Blue Devils could only manage 25% from beyond the arc. The keys for Duke are efficiency and consistency.
Probable Starting Lineups
Guard - Tre Jones - 6'3, 185lbs
Guard - Cassius Stanley - 6'6, 193lbs
Guard - Wendell Moore - 6'6, 213lbs
Forward - Matthew Hurt - 6'9, 214lbs
Center - Vernon Carey - 6'10, 270lbs
Guard - Matt Bradley - 6'4, 220lbs
Guard - Kareem South - 6'3, 185lbs
Guard - Joel Brown - 6'2, 192lbs
Forward - Grant Anticevich - 6'8, 230lbs
Center - Lars Thiemann - 7'0, 248lbs