No. 1 Duke, No. 2 Michigan State set to clash in Chicago

Doug Mendoza
November 16, 2017

This coaching adjustment really affected the way Michigan State likes to play.

He returned to the bench for the second half but did not play. The senior guard particularly came alive after the break - scoring 21 points in the second half and knocked down five 3-pointers during that period.

Bridges was the talk of the sport in the preseason.

Earlier, I predicted that Duke would fall in this early season matchup but bounce back by going undefeated until, at least, their road game with the North Carolina Tar Heels in February.

The teams collide at Chicago's United Center in the first game of a marquee doubleheader, followed by No. 4 Kansas vs.

"We just got killed on the rebounds and that's unacceptable for a team with our size", Bridges said. "We had the game in our hands and we gave it away".

It was a battle worthy of the top two teams in the country, but it was that one state - rebounding - that had Izzo especially irked after the Blue Devils outrebounded the Spartans, 46-34, including a 25-11 advantage on the offensive glass. But the tactic also challenged Michigan State in what was its weakest area in the preseason and its season opener: outside shooting.

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Hell, at halftime of the opening game of the double-header Kansas released a statement that said that their star freshman, Billy Preston, was being held out of competition while they investigated how he paid for a auto that he crashed last week. The Spartans finished 9-for-25 from deep. The Blue Devils guards were picking up Cassius Winston and "Tum Tum" Nairn full court the entire game. "We're going to try to keep knocking on the door and sooner or later that door's got to open". We got some nice looks, some nice shots.

Among the few positives Michigan State coach Tom Izzo could offer after the game was the result helped expose some of the Spartans' warts, like its outside shooting. I thought if we could get ahead and get them out of it the advantage goes to us.

Other warts, in Izzo's eyes, were the team's rebounding and its turnovers.

For the most part, though, it was one blowout after another.

The only thing the Duke-Michigan State game lacked was the showdown between phenom freshmen Jaren Jackson Jr. of Michigan State and Duke's Marvin Bagley III. "And then rebounding. Never in a million years did I think we'd get outrebounded like that".

"We didn't cut out", Jackson said.

Michigan State leaves Chicago without a signature win, and without a signature performance from its star player, as it did two years ago. "How long it was, how many athletes they have". It's what we needed for a sport whose opening night was dominated by headlines of players being held out of competition and quasi-celebrities on the UCLA roster spending time in a Chinese jail. The only way a team will get out of a zone is if a team is able to shoot them out of it and the Spartans didn't have the shooters to do so.

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