It is time for two teams, with a plethora of college basketball history, to hit the hardwood in New York City as UCLA (9-1) takes on #8 Duke (8-2) in the newly renovated Madison Square Garden. The future Hall of Famer coach, Mike Krzyzewski, against the new UCLA head man, Steve Alford, on primetime national television. This will be a fun!
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York City
Tip-off: 4:30 p.m. PT/7:30 p.m. ET
Odds: Duke -3.5
Preview: This is going to be one grand offensive battle as you have two of the highest scoring teams in college basketball going at it on Broadway. Off Broadway, as it were. The Bruins (89.1 ppg, 3rd in Nation) are led by super sophomores Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams. Anderson, the 6’9” “point forward”, is averaging nearly a triple-double (13.8 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 6.7 apt) and doing it with slow, but effective floor managing. Adams leads the team in points per game with 21.2. The fun thing about these two, is that they not only create their own shot, but when they get the rest of the team involved, it creates a good, solid chemistry.
The guy to look for on the Bruins is freshman Zach LaVine. Watch how he comes off the bench four to five minutes into the game and takes over, it is astounding. If you have not heard about the high-flying LaVine, you will. I really do not want to say any more about him, because that would be like ruining a really good movie, so just watch.
Duke (86.0 ppg, 16th in the nation) has their share of solid contributors, complete with their own freshman stud, Jabari Parker. The #3 recruit last year (per Scout.com) is a 6’7”, 215 lbs. scoring machine. He is an absolute athlete, scoring 22.0 points per game whilst picking up 7.6 rebounds. With an iffy UCLA defense, Parker can easily go for more than his average.
The Blue Devils also rely on is 6’8” forward, Rodney Hood, who is throwing down 18.9 points and snagging 5.0 rebounds. Like the Bruins, Duke has a floor general that knows this team and takes command when it is needed…that would be veteran junior point guard, Quinn Cook. He is the third Blue Devil to average 10+ points a game as he is coming away with 14.7, not to mention he is getting the ball around to his teammates with 6.6 assists per game.
This will no doubt be a fast game, so do not blink, because you will no doubt miss both teams playing defense. Haha, funny, right? It is not that funny.
The abundance of offense mixed with quick transition games will not allow for that much defense, but it has to be there for someone. Of the six players listed above, if any of them are completely shut down, it will throw off that team’s chemistry. But who has that defensive mindset, for either team, is not clear-cut. Oh well, at least there will be a lot of sweet dunks.
Prediction: Duke 80 – UCLA 72