#7 Duke Blue Devils (2-0) vs. #5 Kansas Jayhawks (2-0)
Game #3 • Neutral Game #1 • Tuesday, Nov. 15 • 9:30 p.m. ET
State Farm Champions Classic • Gainbridge Fieldhouse (17,923) • Indianapolis, Ind.
Radio: Blue Devils Sports Network from LEARFIELD
No. 7 Duke looks to remain unbeaten to open the 2022-23 season with a top-10 matchup versus No. 5 Kansas in the State Farm Champions Classic in Indianapolis Tuesday night. The Blue Devils and Jayhawks comprised half of last season’s Final Four field in New Orleans with Kansas winning the 2022 National Championship. Duke is 111-78 all-time in AP top-10 matchups (2-0 last year; won four of last six). Duke has won four of its last five in the Champions Classic and the Blue Devils’ 7-4 mark leads the four blue bloods that annually compete in the event.
The Blue Devils began the season with wins over Jacksonville, 71-44, and USC Upstate, 84-38 — the 82 points allowed being Duke’s fewest through the first two games of a season since 1946-47. Duke is second nationally in scoring defense (through Nov. 12). Freshman Kyle Filipowski has logged consecutive double-doubles to open his career, joining Marvin Bagley III (2017-18) as the only Duke freshmen with back-to-back double-doubles to open a season. No Duke freshman has opened a career with three consecutive. Junior guard Jeremy Roach, a preseason first-team All-ACC pick and a member of the watch list for the Cousy Award, returns after helping lead Duke to the Final Four, an ACC regular-season title and a 32-7 mark last season. Roach has hit six of Duke’s 17 three-point field goals this season and is coming off a 10-point, eight-assist effort on Friday. He has 12 assists through two games. In total, Duke has 11 newcomers on the roster — seven freshmen — all recruited and signed by Scheyer which comprise the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class, and four graduate transfers. Of Duke’s newcomers, freshman Mark Mitchell (right) leads the team in scoring though two games (15.5) with a game-high 18 in the opener, while stuffing the box score with 13 points, seven rebounds and three assists on Friday.
About the Opponent
No. 5 and reigning National Champion Kansas is 2-0 with wins over Omaha, 89-64, and North Dakota State, 82-59. Kansas freshman Grady Dick and Duke’s Mark Mitchell were teammates at Sunrise Christian Academy in Kansas. Sophomore Zach Clemence also played at Sunrise Christian. A pair of Jayhawks are from Durham, N.C. in sophomore Bobby Pettiford Jr. (South Granville HS) and freshman MJ Rice (Prolific Prep in California). Redshirt freshman Kyle Cuffe Jr. and Duke sophomore Jaylen Blakes were teammates at Blair Academy in New Jersey. Texas Tech transfer Kevin McCullar Jr., faced the Blue Devils in last season’s Sweet 16 where he scored 17 points with three rebounds in a Duke victory. Duke leads the all-time series with Kansas, 8-5, and snapped a three-game skid in the series with a 68-65 win in the 2019 Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden. The last five meetings have come with each in the AP top 10 and the last three have been decided by a total of eight points, including KU’s 85-81 win in OT in the 2018 Elite Eight in Omaha.
Freshman Grady Dick has been lights out for the Jayhawks shooting 5-10 from 3 so far this season, averaging 17.5 points per game. Redshirt junior forward Jalen Wilson is averaging 20 points per game in two games so far coming off of a final four season for the Jayhawks.
Duke has lived in transition during the early part of this season but in order to keep pace with the Jayhawks the Blue Devils are going to have to do much better in their half-court sets – the Blue Devils offense, while scoring in good numbers, has stalled out some in half-court situations. Kansas is not a turnover prone team and return a lot of both experience and basketball IQ. If Duke can create turnovers and convert them into easy opportunities that will give them a decided advantage but a slow start could be a death knell against a Kansas team not given to making many mistakes. Duke has to set the tone early – especially defensively.
The Jayhawks have scored 94 points in the paint in 2 games and 48 points from beyond the arc. The Jayhawks are proficient both from beyond the arc and in the paint so defensively the Blue Devils will need to be adept at ball pressure but be aware of how well the Jayhawks cut and move without the basketball.
Offensively how well Duke runs their sets and reads will be the major factor for the Blue Devils. Defensively, keeping heads on swivels and ball pressure will be key.
Duke Blue Devils
G JeremyRoach 6’2, 180lbs Jr.
G TyreseProctor 6’5 175lbs Fr.
F MarkMitchell 6’8, 220lbs Fr.
F Ryan Young 6’10, 235lbs Gr.
C KyleFilipowski 7’0, 230lbs Fr.
G Dajuan Harris Jr. 6’1, 175lbs RS Jr.
G Kevin McCullar 6’6, 210lbs RS Sr.
G Gradey Dick 6’8, 205lbs Fr
F KJ Adams, Jr. 6’7, 225lbs Soph.
F Jalen Wilson 6’8, 225lbs RSJr.