Opening things up for the 2020 Champions Classic tonight is the matchup between Michigan State and Duke. The Spartans and Blue Devils always fight hard against each other. Coach Izzo and Coach K have an immense amount of respect for each other. While it is early in the season both teams have found early success. With early games against Eastern Michigan and Notre Dame, State has been clicking early this season. The Blue Devils took down Coppin State by just 10 points in their opener three days ago.
#6 Duke Blue Devils (-4) vs. #8 Mich. State Spartans
Coming into the game, Duke is the favorite. They are ranked two spots ahead of Sparty in the top-25 polls. DJ Stewart and Jalen Johnson have really shown out this season. With Matthew Hurt back this season, they have the talent to go far this season. Stewart leads scorers with 24 points followed by Johnson at 19 with 19 rebounds as well. As a team, they average a shy 33.3% from the three but hit 53.1% of their field goals in total. KenPom has Duke ranked 3rd with the 6th most efficient offense and 9th most efficient defense.
Jalen Johnson looked SPECIAL in his Duke debut ?
— Overtime (@overtime) November 28, 2020
Michigan State has one more game under their belt. They have also played two teams that are significantly better than Coppin State. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean much of anything. Joey Hauser has been a force on the court. Averaging 12.5 points and rebounds apiece, Hauser has cemented himself as a leader. The Spartans have been hobbled by injury in the last two seasons, but will hopefully avoid that this season. KenPom has Izzo’s squad ranked 12th overall. Their offense and defense rank 9th and 28th respectively.
In their last 10 games against one another, Duke is boasting an 8-2 record against Sparty. However, against the spread, they are tied 5-5. The over has hit 8 out of 10 times as well.
Both teams have impressive performances so far this season. The Hauser versus Johnson battle will be exciting to watch. Four points are what separates the two and the over/under sits at 152. If this was a usual 2020 Champions Classic, I may tell you that the Spartans have a bit of an edge at a neutral site, however that is not the case. This game will take place at Cameron Indoor, a home game for Duke. Although they can’t fill the stadium, the few fans in attendance should be able to make the small venue roar at times. Even as I try to talk myself out of it, I think that Michigan State has what it takes to keep this game close. Take Sparty to cover +4 and take the under of 152.