Duke (12-1) vs Iowa State (10-3)
Chicago, Ill. - United Center
TV: ESPN / Tip: 9:05 PM EST
Program Vitals Conference: Big 12 Nickname: Cyclones Colors: Red, Yellow, White Head Coach: Greg McDermott (4th season) Career Record at Iowa State: 54-50
Projected Starters: 10 Dante Garrett (6-4, 190, Jr.) – 8.3 ppg, 5.5 apg 5 Lucca Staiger (6-5, 220, Jr.) – 9.6 ppg, 2.0 rpg 3 Marquis Gilstrap (6-7, 215, Sr.) – 5.4 ppg, 1.8 rpg 21 Craig Brackens (6-10, 230, Jr.) – 14.8 ppg, 8.9 rpg 41 Justin Hamilton (6-11, 260, So.) - 5.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg Key Reserves: 11 Scott Chrisopherson (6-3, 200, So.) – 8.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg 22 LaRon Dendy (6-9, 230, Jr.) – 7.3 ppg, 2.8 rpg 23 Jamie Vanderbeken (6-11, 250, Sr.) – 4.6 ppg, 3.1 rpg 2 Chris Colvin (6-3, 195, Fr.) - 3.1 ppg, 1.3 rpg
Story Lines For Iowa State:
How They Got Here:
The Cyclones enter Wednesday night's game on a four game win streak that began with a 10 point win over in-state rival Iowa on December 11th. Since that time the Cyclones easily defeated Bradley and North Dakota by and average of 25 points per game before being pushed to double overtime in their last game against Houston. The Iowa win was the best 'name' victory of the season for the Cyclones. The only other two games against high major conference opponents resulted in losses for ISU - by two to Northwestern and by 21 to California.
Duke is coming off a 21 point conference win over No. 18 Clemson on Sunday night in Cameron Indoor Stadium. In that game Kyle Singler, Nolan Smith, and Jon Scheyer combined for 58 points to lead the Blue Devils.
As has become somewhat customary this season, this will be the first meeting between the two schools. Duke is 20-4 against teams currently in the Big 12, including a 19-3 mark under Mike Krzyzewski. The Blue Devils have won four straight against the Big 12.
Both teams appear to be relatively healthy heading into Wednesday night's game in Chicago.
It's Scheyer's senior game
As is tradition for his seniors, head coach Mike Krzyzewski always tries to play a game in their hometown during their final season in Durham. Senior captain Jon Scheyer - who hails from the Chicago area - was a standout at Glenbrook North High. Similarly, head coach Mike Krzyzewski also traces his roots to the Windy City area, and has always been tough to beat in Chicago. His teams have won six straight games in the city and have never lost a game at the United Center (6-0).
On the other side, the Cyclones' trip to the United Center will be a homecoming of sorts for Chris Colvin who led Whitney Young High School team to the 2009 Illinois Class 4A state title.
Iowa State IS Looking To Break A Streak:
The Cyclones don't exactly set the world on fire when it comes to playing ranked opponents. All-time the school boasts just a 68-204 (.250) record against teams appearing in the top 25. That includes this year's 21 point loss to No. 25 Cal earlier this season. On the road the Cyclones are just 7-103 against ranked teams and 15-39 against them on neutral courts. It's been a decade since the program has defeated a top 25 team on a neutral court when the Cyclones upset then No. 24 Mississippi on Dec 23, 2000. Overall head coach McDermott is 0-13 against ranked opponents, and the program has lost 14 straight.
ISU Jumps On Opponents Early:
Iowa State has been notorious for quick starts to the games this season. In 13 games the Cyclones have led at the half in 11 of those contests. In two of the three losses the team has led by seven or more points with less than 13 minutes remaining. Fueled by a quick start the team likes to push the ball and attack the basket. The team has scored 80 or more points in four straight contests and ranks in the top 25 nationally fort field goal percentage at 48.9 percent. The Cyclone defense is what will fuel the offense. ISU has not allowed an opponent to shoot above 50 percent from the floor this season. In fact the team is holding teams to just 39 percent shooting over the course of the season and the last three opponents have failed to shoot above 40 percent, making just 36.1 percent (69-191 FG) from the field.
Wednesday night's game will feature two teams who love to bombard their opponents from the perimeter. The Cyclones rank fifth nationally in 3-point field goal percentage (101-237, 42.62%) and Duke has made 42.59 percent of its shots from beyond the arc (112-263) to rank sixth nationally. Defensively, Duke is holding teams to 28.6 percent from 3-point range.
Look Out For…
Junior forward Craig Brackens. The 6'10 junior could have come out and been a borderline lottery pick according to most analysts. Instead he decided to return to ISU - a decision that has Draft guru types scratching their heads. Though Brackens is posting similar numbers to a season ago - lower points per game, but higher shooting percentages - he's slipped on many draft boards to a late first round pick. Despite what the NBA types may think, he's going to be a match-up problem for Duke. A preseason All-American and member of the Wooden and Naismith Award watch lists, Brackens has shot 52 percent from the floor over his last five games and has managed back to back double-doubles entering Wednesday's game.
In the back court there's point guard Diante Garrett who is the team's most reliable player with 45 consecutive starts under his belt. The senior has a top 15 nationally rated assist to turnover ration (2.9 to 1), and he rates second in the Big 12 and 27th nationally in assists per game at 5.5.
In another non-conference tilt, the numbers point toward a Duke victory. Brackens will no doubt pose a match-up problem for the Blue Devils and will probably be assigned to either Lance Thomas or Kyle Singler for much of the game. The Blue Devil defense will be tested as the Cyclones look to extend Duke to the perimeter before attempting to penetrate into those open lanes. On paper the two teams have similar statistics. The difference is the level at which the two sides have been tested and produced said numbers. Look for the Cyclones to keep Duke within striking distance for much of the first half, and into the second before the Blue Devil depth and size begin to take hold. In the end Coach K and company should be able to improve to 7-0 in the United Center before heading back to conference play this coming weekend.
Iowa State 69