Norman Powell, Credit: Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports
With UCLA and Duke finalizing dates to play at Madison Square Garden next season, we will be treated to two powerhouse basketball programs going at it. Here’s the tweet from Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports that broke the big news.
Wow, a Duke vs. UCLA game (which is likely slated for December) will be great for both programs. It’s also a way to put Steve Alford‘s name in an even bigger spotlight in his first season. I would like to see this game played at either Pauley Pavilion or Cameron Indoor Stadium, though that seems a stretch. Just imagine the chaos at either stadium—cheering and screaming for pretty much everything in between those lines. Unfortunately, that won’t happen.
This will be a gut-check for Alford’s squad. Can UCLA win a key non-conference neutral site game? Can they play up to their hype? Can they beat a great opponent and really cement their name in tournament talks? These questions will be answered in a matter of months.
More importantly, this Bruins vs. Blue Devils matchup will be for the players to come out and prove themselves on the biggest stage in sports—Madison Square Garden. The game will obviously not come easy, as UCLA will be dealing with basketball guru Mike Krzyzewski, who always puts together a great team every single year.
For UCLA to go across the country and play Duke in NYC will obviously be a huge and challenging task. No one is better than Coach Krzyzewski, and UCLA is inexperienced. There are a lot of questions surrounding the Bruins coming into this season. But as always, I have faith that my young Bruins can pull it out. It will be one of those games where you have to force turnovers and get out in transition to open up the perimeter shooters because UCLA has players who are capable of putting up numbers from deep.
We’ll see when the dates are officially released, but for now, it looks like we’re going to see one hell of a game at MSG!