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The Journal Gazette

  • Associated Press Freshman Aljami Durham has been the brightest star off the Indiana bench in six games, averaging 9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 3 assists.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017 1:00 am

Indiana vs. Duke

Ben Portnoy | For The Journal Gazette

Indiana (4-2) will take on the top-ranked Duke Blue Devils (8-0) tonight in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge at Assembly Hall. Duke has a 5-3 lead in the all-time series and won the only other meeting between the teams in Bloomington, 75-67, on Nov. 30, 2005.

Here's a breakdown of the game's matchups:

Frontcourt

Duke's Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter Jr., both freshmen, make for perhaps the most ferocious frontcourt in the country. Bagley is averaging 22.2 points and 11.3 rebounds, while Carter is at 12.8 points and 9.1 boards.

They will face off against Indiana's De'Ron Davis and Juwan Morgan. Morgan has been one of the best defenders in recent Indiana memory, although the 6-foot-11 Bagley has a 3-inch height advantage. Davis is a physical interior defender who matches up well against Carter. Both are 6-10, although Carter has an extra 10 pounds. 

Duke rebounds better.

Advantage: Duke

Backcourt

For Indiana to truly threaten the Blue Devils, it will need to shoot like Annie Oakley with a Remington. Guards Robert Johnson, Josh Newkirk and Devonte Green are all shooting 40 percent or better from beyond the arc and that must continue.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski will rely on senior Grayson Allen and the freshman tandem of Gary Trent Jr. and Trevon Duval. Since his 37-point explosion against then-No. 2 Michigan State on Nov. 14, Allen has been quiet, averaging 11 points in his last five games.

Trent has been the more comfortable of the two freshmen, averaging 12.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists. He also knocked down four free throws in the final 72 seconds against then-No.7 Florida in the PK80 Invitational Championship Game. Duval doesn't possess the same shooting prowess and has turned the ball over more frequently of late.

Experience should pay off for the Hoosiers in this department.

Advantage: Indiana

Bench

Of the Hoosiers' bench contingent, freshman Aljami Durham has been the brightest star, averaging 9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 3 assists. Freshman Justin Smith and senior Freddie McSwain Jr. are bigger options in the rotation, while sophomore Curtis Jones and senior Colin Hartman provide added shooting.

For Duke, Krzyzewski has leaned on sophomores Javin DeLaurier, Marques Bolden and freshman Alex O'Connell. DeLaurier has played 14 minutes per game, but O'Connell and Bolden trail him only slightly. Jordan Goldwire also has seen time as Duke's reserve point guard.

Although Indiana is more experienced, Bolden was a former five-star recruit with immense potential and DeLaurier and O'Connell have proved capable.

Advantage: Duke

Coaches

Krzyzewski needs no introduction; he's led Duke to five national championships, 12 Final Fours and the most wins in Division I men's history.

Archie Miller is in his first year with IU after six seasons at Dayton, where he reached the NCAA Tournament four straight seasons, including an Elite Eight run in 2014, and regular-season Atlantic 10 titles in 2016 and 2017.

No question here.

Advantage: Duke

Intangibles

Duke has the makings of a national title contender and Indiana is in the midst of a culture change. If Indiana keeps this game close, it would be considered a good night for Miller and company. Neither team is particularly good at the free throw line; Indiana is shooting 65.9 percent and Duke is at 67.3 percent.

Advantage: Duke

Overall

Duke will almost certainly win, but the game should stay close longer than most expect. Assembly Hall will have a raucous atmosphere, and Duke has struggled against lesser teams such as Portland State. Expect a monster game from Bagley.

Prediction: Duke, 82-65