When No. 10 Duke visits No. 11 Michigan State, there are countless compelling components to Tuesday night’s ACC vs. Big Ten Challenge matchup even though the teams have moved down in the polls. The Duke vs Michigan State odds have the Spartans as 6.5-point favorites.
Duke vs Michigan State odds: Michigan State -6.5
From the expectations these teams will be heard from in March to the point guards who drive their programs, this remains a marquee event on the college basketball schedule.
The teams meet at Michigan State’s Breslin Center in East Lansing, Mich., just barely eight months since the Spartans eliminated Duke in the NCAA Tournament’s East Region final last March.
Duke vs Michigan State game is huge for the Spartans on the pre-Big Ten Conference schedule. Guard Xavier Tillman said that has helped the Spartans understand the importance of every detail.
“As a team just making sure that we follow the scouting report to a T, know everybody’s tendencies, so if a guy drive left, he’s not going to drive left in a game,” Tillman said of the preparation for Duke. “If a guy’s a shooter, he’s not going to get an open look in the game. And so for us, I would say following the scouting report to a T.”
Michigan State opened the season at No. 1 in the country and then promptly lost its first game to Kentucky. A couple of weeks later, Duke, which has another freshman-deep roster, took the top spot in the country.
Both teams had disappointing results last week and then bounced back to winning form.
Duke (7-1) fell in stunning fashion at home to Stephen F. Austin, with the overtime outcome ultimately costing the Blue Devils their No. 1 national ranking. They then defeated Winthrop three nights later.
Duke vs Michigan State odds: 147 over/under
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said he hopes some of the pressure is alleviated from his team, something he sensed after the upset loss.
“You can see it in their eyes,” Krzyzewski said. “I thought we were putting pressure on ourselves shooting, like we have to make this shot.”
Michigan State (5-2) lost to Virginia Tech in its opening game of the Maui Invitational. The Spartans then defeated Georgia and UCLA.
“We just learned a lot about our team,” Winston said of the trip to Hawaii. “To come in and kind of get punched in the mouth, we haven’t really had a chance to kind of respond to that that fast. We kind of usually got time to practice and go back and watch film and learn what to do to get better. This time we got punched in our mouth and then we had to play the next day.”
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said it’s a process and he’s not demanding the Spartans are a fine-tuned product at this stage of the season.
“We got to keep in mind that we are still very young,” Izzo said. “We were just talking, there’s three guys that have any real experience.”
Krzyzewski knows that’s the case with his team as well, particularly with losing freshman guard Cassius Stanley to an injury.
“We’re going to have to work through a bunch of things with this group,” Krzyzewski said. “It will take time and we’re going to try to muck it out and we know we’re not a top-five team, maybe not even a Top 25 team, in the country right now.
“We’ve beaten good teams and we’ve played well. But now it’s where do we go after a loss and a win (last week)?”
Michigan State has seen the downside of having gaps in energy, though that shouldn’t be a problem with Duke in the building.
“If we keep that energy, keep that mindset, we’re going to take that approach all the way through the next game,” Winston said of the positive elements developing during the Maui Invitational.
Winston is averaging a team-best 17.9 points per game.
He goes against Jones, a sophomore who’s regularly referred to by Krzyzewski as a defensive whiz. But Winston had key moments on offense while matched up against Jones in last season’s NCAA Tournament game.
Jones also has become a crucial scorer for the Blue Devils, checking in at 15.1 points per game.
Duke freshman center Vernon Carey Jr. has six consecutive double-doubles with points and rebounds.
There’s an also an uptick in scoring from Blue Devils freshman forward Matthew Hurt, who scored a season-best 20 points against Winthrop.
“I think they had a lot of attention on Vernon (because) he has played great so far this year,” Hurt said. “I just wanted to have my teammates’ backs.”
Duke did hit a significant snag in the Winthrop game, losing starting guard Cassius Stanley to what’s believed to be a serious hamstring injury, so he’ll be out for this game. He’s averaging 12.9 points per game (after only four points in the limited action Friday).
“I think he’s going to be out for a while,” Krzyzewski said.