Duke vs. Kansas prediction and game preview. The Blue Devils and Jayhawks battle in a top-10 matchup in the Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden.
Duke vs. Kansas Game Preview
When: Tuesday, Nov. 15 – 9:30 p.m. ET
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York.
TV Broadcast: ESPN
Duke’s preseason No. 1 ranking had a lot to do with its highly rated recruiting class, but only Frank Jackson played in the first two games. Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum and Marques Bolden all are dealing with injuries, and coach Mike Krzyzewski said he doesn’t anticipate having any of them for this matchup with Kansas.
That doesn’t mean the Blue Devils aren’t talented without them. Grayson Allen recorded 25 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and three steals in Saturday’s win over Grand Canyon, and Jackson had 39 points on 52.5 percent shooting in the weekend’s two victories.
Kansas boasts its own standout freshman in Josh Jackson, as well as a solid group of returnees. Frank Mason III had 30 points, seven rebounds and nine assists while Devonte’ Graham added 16 points in Friday’s 103-99 overtime loss to Indiana in Hawaii. For all the hype freshmen are receiving, this matchup of blue-blood programs will come down to the veterans on both sides.
Duke Wins If …
… it can keep Kansas from getting to the free-throw line. Mason is an aggressive guard and went 13-of-15 from the line against the Hoosiers. Kansas went just 7-of-23 from the 3-point line in that contest, and Jackson isn’t much of a shooter, playing more above the rim. Keeping the Jayhawks out of the paint and forcing them to take contested jumpers should bode well for Duke.
The Blue Devils need to cut down on their turnovers, too. They had 15 against Grand Canyon and finished with 25 over the weekend.
Kansas Wins If …
… it wins the rebounding battle. Carlton Bragg Jr., Landen Lucas and Jackson have the ability to grab double-digit boards, and Mason rebounds well from the guard position. Allen attacks the glass, too, and Mason will have to fight off Allen for those long rebounds. The offensive glass will be most crucial, as the Jayhawks are going to need second-chance points against a Duke team that can run and score in bunches, especially if Allen gets going.
Matchup To Watch
Mason vs. Allen
Jackson came off the bench in Duke’s first two games, as Coach K elected to go big along the perimeter. That could cause some matchup issues for the Jayhawks and the 5-foot-11 Mason, but he’s proven over three-plus seasons that he’s able to find his own shot. It’ll come down to Mason being able to match Allen, who will look for his shot early and often. If Allen hits for 25 points or more, it might be lights out for Kansas.
Spread: Duke -2.5
Duke vs. Kansas Prediction
This a pretty even matchup, and both teams will prove as much with a back-and-forth battle through the first 35 minutes. But then Allen takes over late, hitting two clutch threes and knocking down free throws in the final five minutes to give Duke the win.
Duke vs. Kansas final score prediction: Duke 84, Kansas 79