6/6 Duke (3-1) @ 5/6 Michigan State (3-1)
Where: The Breslin Center East Lansing, MI
When: December 3, 2003 9:00 PM
Television: ESPN with Dan Shulman (play-by-play), Dick Vitale (color) and Doris Burke (sideline) calling the action.
What You Need To Know:
*-This is the first time the Blue Devils have traveled to Michigan State to compete against the Spartans. Duke leads the series 3-1, winning the last three games including a pair of wins during the 1999 season, one in the Final Four.
*- This will mark the third consecutive time that these two schools will meet as top 10 opponents. In 1998-99, Duke was No. 4 and Michigan State No. 9 in the first meeting and the Blue Devils were No. 1 and the Spartans No. 2 in the Final Four match up. Duke won both of those games by six points (73-67 and 68-62, respectively)
*- The Duke interior defense has been as good as its ever been this season with Shelden Williams leading the way with 12 blocks in four games, while Shavlik Randolph has added seven with Luol Deng contributing six.
*- Duke will be looking to improve to a perfect 5-0 in the ACC/Big 10 Challenge when they face MSU. Duke has beaten Illinois twice, Iowa, and Ohio State in the previous four years. Michigan State is also perfect (3-0) in the Challenge.
*- Notable Streaks in tact include JJ Redicks 28 consecutive free throws made and 34 consecutive starts. Shelden Williams has blocked at least one shot in nine consecutive games.
Meet The Spartans:
Chris Hill PG: The junior is a converted point guard who learned the job in a sort of trial by fire last year. In the end he proved up to the challenge, earning second team All-Conference honors along the way while averaging 13 points and three assists. This year his scoring is nearly the same (12.5 points), but hes distributing the ball far better, with a 6.0 assist per game mark.
Kelvin Torbert SG: caught a bad rap as an underachiever after a ton of hype at the high school level. The former Prep Player of the Year finished third on the team in scoring last year, and has stayed around the 11 points per game clip this season. He had his best game of the season against DePaul the last time out with 19 points. He is shooting 44% from the field so far this year.
Shannon Brown SG: picked Michigan State last season despite Dukes late interest. Brown is an incredibly athletic and quick guard who has the potential to go off on large scoring binges if left un checked. So far hes living up to the hype that comes with being named Mr. Basketball in Illinois by averaging 10 points and four rebounds per game for the Spartans. He hit his season high of 13 points against DePaul.
Alan Anderson F: plays the power forward position at 6-foot-6 and a solid 220 pounds, but is also known to help take over the ball handling duties to spell Hill when needed. In the NCAA Tournament, he showed that versatility by averaging 10 points, 4.3 boards and 4.3 assists in the drive to the Elite Eight. This season hes once again helping all over the floor by contributing 10 points, four rebounds, and three assists per game.
Paul Davis F: arguably one of the toughest big men the Blue Devils will face this season. At 611 and 250 pounds, Davis has the ability to operate with his back to the basket or to face up and work on his man with a variety of post moves. This year hes leading the Spartans in scoring (13.8 PPG), rebounds (7.8 RPG), and steals (1.5 SPG) while shooting 45% from the floor.
Off the Bench:
Head coach Tom Izzo isnt afraid to go to the bench, with nine players averaging 10 minutes or more. Six of those nine are averaging 10 or more points. First off the bench is Maurice Ager, a 6-foot-4 190 pound combo guard (9.8 points 4.0 rebounds), followed by 6-foot-10, 250 pound Jason Andreas (3.5 points, 3.3 rebounds), who spells Davis in the post or Anderson at the four along with 6-foot-8 250 pound Delco Rowley (2.3 points and 2.5 rebounds).
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