Preview: Duke v. Kansas

The Blue Devils face off against fellow blue-blood Kansas for the Maui Invitational Championship.

Kansas coach Bill Self hoped his team would be facing Duke in the finals of the Maui Invitational.

For better or worse, he got what he wanted.

The No. 14 Jayhawks look to prevent the sixth-ranked Blue Devils from capturing their fifth Maui title when the perennial powers meet for the first time in nine seasons in Wednesday night's championship game.

With a 14-0 record and four tournament titles in the Maui Invitational, Duke (6-0) has dominated the event. The Blue Devils added to their tournament lore by shooting a blistering 56.5 percent (26 of 46) from the field in Tuesday's 82-75 semifinal win over No. 15 Michigan.

Kansas (3-1), meanwhile, shot 51.1 percent (24 of 47) in a 72-56 semifinal victory over UCLA to set up the first meeting between these two powers since the Jayhawks beat the Blue Devils 69-65 in the regional semifinals of the 2003 NCAA tournament.

Kansas dominated the glass against UCLA on Tuesday, outrebounding the Bruins 34-21.

After totaling 25 points in his previous three games, Jayhawks guard Elijah Johnson had 23 on 8 of 13 shooting against the Bruins. Forward Thomas Robinson, who added 15 with 10 boards, is averaging 16.0 points and 11.3 rebounds on the season.

Self is eager to see how his team will fare against one of the best squads in the nation. The Jayhawks won the Maui Invitational title in 1996.

"We're excited about it," said Self, whose team lost 75-65 to second-ranked Kentucky on Nov. 15. "Be careful what you wish for ... but that's what we wanted. Our guys are going to compete.

"I will bet the atmosphere for (Wednesday) night's game will be as good an atmosphere as this building's seen for this tournament.''

Duke has won six of eight meetings all-time against Kansas, highlighted by a 72-65 victory in the 1991 NCAA championship game.

"This is one of the games when you come to Kansas, you sign up for,'' said senior guard Tyshawn Taylor, who had 13 points and six assists versus UCLA. "This is one of those games we'll probably always remember.''

Self's group faces the task of trying to stop a Duke team that went a season-best 11 of 21 from 3-point range to overcome a 49.2 percent shooting effort from the Wolverines.

While the Blue Devils have the talent to outscore most opponents, their defense and rebounding might need to improve if they are to remain perfect in Maui. Duke allowed its highest shooting percentage of the season against Michigan and also was outrebounded 31-27 by the Wolverines.

"We hit some amazing 3s, but they were good shots,'' Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "Offensively we can be very good. We just have to be better defensively."

Freshman guard Austin Rivers has helped the Blue Devils overcome any defensive deficiencies Krzyzewski may have noticed, averaging 18.3 points over the last three games. The son Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers had 20 points Tuesday while Ryan Kelly and Seth Curry each added 17.

Curry, the son of former NBA star Dell Curry and brother of current Golden State Warrior Stephen Curry, is 14 of 24 from 3-point range and averaging 16.2 points this season.

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