Indiana is back on the road Tuesday night as the Hoosiers head to Durham to face the third duke at the Big Ten-ACC Challenge. The Blue Devils are 5-1 in a loss to Gonzaga in the Maui Invitational Final.
The match will be broadcast around 21:30. And we have ESPN with Dan Shulman, Jay Bilas and Allison Williams at the call:
Is Indiana in good health? The answer to this question could go a long way in determining how tonight's game at Cameron Indoor Stadium will be competitive.
The injured have delayed the Hoosiers a lot this month: Devonte Green, Zach McRoberts, De'Ron Davis, Race Thompson and Jerome Hunter all ran out of time.
It's not an excuse and Archie Miller did not, but that's the reality for a team that had to face two tougher games than expected last week because of its limited depth. Now it seems that a return of Green and McRoberts is imminent at the moment when the schedule becomes much more difficult.
Indiana enters tonight's game by playing the underdogs in double digits against one of the top teams in the country, but it's an opportunity for the Hoosiers to experience another rewarding experience on the road with the start of matches of the Big Ten imminent this weekend.
MEET BLUE DEVILS
Unlike last season's dysfunctional Duke team, which had a mediocre leadership game, some selfish superstars and limited depth, this version of the Blue Devils is the favorite to cut nets in Minneapolis.
Mike Krzyzewski has brought together three major colleges including RJ Barrett, Zion Williamson and Cam Reddish. He also made a major upgrade to the leader with Tre Jones. Unlike last year's Duke team, this group does not seem to care about who gets the shots or the attention, which speaks volumes about the maturity of each freshman.
The Blue Devils dominated Kentucky in the first game of the season at Indianapolis, before beating Auburn six in the semifinals of the Maui Invitational and then defeating Gonzaga in the final.
Williamson has earned a ton of national headlines in the first few weeks of the season, but Barrett is likely to be the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft in June.
The 6-foot-7 Canadian forward is Duke's scorer with 22.8 points per game in six games. Barrett earned 44.8% of the 2, 31.6% of the 3 and 62.2% of the line, while using 33.5% of Duke's property.
Williamson, meanwhile, is strongly involved in the conversation of the national player of the year early in the season.
A ridiculous physical specimen at 6 feet 7 inches and 285 pounds, the native of South Carolina scored 21 points or more in four of Duke's six games. He draws 70.1% on the 2s and when Williamson gets a straight line towards the basket, he is unstoppable. Beyond the gross physical power, it also ranks in the top 70% in block at the national level and in the top 40 in percentage of offensive rebound.
The reddish is Duke's "third" option on the offensive, but he's averaging 15.7 points per game and is up 43.2% over 3 seconds. At 6 feet 8 inches, it's the perfect size to be a two or three in the NBA.
Jones, the younger brother of Tyus, is the perfect leader of this group because he does not need a lot of shots to be effective. Jones' constant play and calm is one of the main reasons why Duke's renewal percentage as a team is so low (14.5%) and he acts as a perfect enabler for the big three of Duke.
Four other Blue Devils are in the rotation, but none of them averaged more than 7.7 points per game.
Junior Brands Bolden and Javin DeLaurier shared a split time at five while junior Jack White and Sophomore Alex O'Connell both played in the second minute. White hits 37.5% of his 3 and O'Connell is a career shooter with 48.3% of distance.
OVERVIEW WITHOUT TEMPO
The first number that immediately emerges when Duke's profile is examined is how much they care for the ball. Even though they are in the bottom 10 of the KenPom experience metric, the Blue Devils have the 14th lowest turnout percentage in the country.
The Blue Devils are also relentless on the offensive glass as they grab 40.8% of their missed shots. The Hoosiers have been solid on the defensive ice for six games, but have not had to face an opponent as close to Duke at this stage.
If Indiana wants to keep this game at hand, Hoosiers must stay competitive with second chance points and turnovers. Duke has been a poor defensive rebound team so far and does not force a lot of turnovers, so Indiana must produce a strong performance in both areas to have a chance.
WHAT IT'S ABOUT
This is the third time ESPN has paired Indiana and Duke at this event in four years. The three meetings were held at 9:30 pm or later. Two of the meetings were held in Durham and the last IU trip to Durham went badly. The Blue Devils earned 20 points. You can be sure that tonight's show will be filled with references to the place that Barrett, Williamson, Reddish and Romeo Langford occupy in the world. The latest model project of Wide Leader on ESPN +.
The Vegas line was opened with Indiana as a 13-point underdog and from Tuesday morning she has 15 points. KenPom's projections favor Duke by 11 points (84% of Duke's chances of victory) and Sagarin likes the Blue Devils by 10.
In this match, Indiana has no problem, in the perspective of a resume, because a defeat will not hurt and a victory would remain at the top of the resume throughout the season.
The teams have not been great after a trip to Maui, but that's probably not a problem for this Duke team. The Blue Devils will be hungry to return to the winning streak after a disappointing defeat against Gonzaga and Indiana does not have a big defensive match against Williamson or Barrett.
(Photo credit: Duke Athletics)
Classified in: Duke Blue Devils