No. 5 Kansas, No. 7 Duke clash tries to overcome weaknesses
It’s only mid-November, and neither the Kansas No. 5 nor the Duke No. 7 will be in full force when they meet Tuesday night at the Champions Classic in Indianapolis, but both teams will start getting answers to questions about Who are they this season?
As for the Jayhawks (2-0), which started their national championship defense with easy wins over Omaha and North Dakota State, they will be without head coach Bill Self and assistant coach Curtis Townsend.
Both are serving the third game of four games imposed by the school for their involvement in a recruiting scandal that saw the program use a shoe company to gain an unfair advantage in signing top players.
As for the Blue Devils (2-0), they had even easier wins over Jacksonville and USC Upstate, but played those games without five-star freshman forward Daric Whitehead (leg) and played the game in Jacksonville without center Derek Lively (shin) ). .
Duke did score 14 minutes from Lively in Friday night’s 84-38 USC Upstate breakout. Lively has four points, two rebounds and two blocked shots, but things could get tougher on Tuesday due to the sharp increase in competition.
However, it will be the first truly big game for Blue Devils freshman coach John Scheier against a worthy opponent on neutral ground. He wants his team to continue the early trend.
“We are learning to play physically without fouls,” he said. “I think we have all the makings to be a good defensive team. … The effort is here, and that’s where it starts in defense.”
Freshman Mark Mitchell is averaging 15.5 points over two games, while another freshman, center Kyle Filipowski, has double-doubled in each of his first two games. Filipovski, Lively and Northwest transfer Ryan Young (11.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg) make Duke one of the best frontcourts in the country.
In the backcourt, the attack is in the hands of Jeremy Roach. So far, Roach is averaging 13 points and 6.0 assists, and his assist-to-assist ratio is slightly better than 2-1.
Meanwhile, Kansas’ last game was an 82-59 thrashing of North Dakota State on Thursday night, in which it posted a 29-point lead at halftime. Jalen Wilson had 21 points, including 17 in the first half, and 12 points with six rebounds off freshman guard Grady Dick.
Interim coach Norm Roberts, a former head coach for the St. Johns, said the Jayhawks had completed Self’s pre-game goals of working on his defensive trap. Roberts noted that after the 20-minute fight, the team made a lot of deflections on the throw with a 48-19 lead.
“I thought the guys were amazing in the first half,” Roberts said. “We never let them get comfortable in the first half and I think that really helped us. We are still far from where we are going to be. We are winning in this. We are getting better.”
Wilson is averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds so far, while Dick is averaging 17.5 points per game and shooting 58.3 percent.
The Blue Devils lead the all-time series 8–5 with a 68–66 victory on November 5, 2019 in the teams’ last match.
–Field level media