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How and what to watch for Michigan State vs. Duke in Champions Classic

Tuesday night’s Champions Classic will begin with a matchup between two of the most respected coaches in college basketball history with Mike Krzyzewski and Tom Izzo.

Michigan State Spartans head coach Tom Izzo and Duke Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski shake hands at mid court during the second half of a game at Breslin Center. Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

The unofficial start to the college basketball season typically takes place at the Champions Classic, and it will get started with the Duke Blue Devils hosting the Michigan State Spartans on Tuesday night.

Coming off a season in which it finished with a 25-6 overall record in the coronavirus-shortened 2019-20 season, Duke opened this year with an 81-71 win over Coppin State on Saturday after its opener against Gardner-Webb wasn’t played due to Covid-19. Big-time recruit Jalen Johnson appears to be a star, finishing with 19 points, 19 rebounds, five assists and four blocks. He did not miss a shot in his college basketball debut, but he turned the ball over seven times. DJ Steward led the Blue Devils with 24 points on 10 of 18 shooting with nine rebounds.

Michigan State has a much more experienced team than Duke and will have the advantage in that regard. The Spartans went 22-9 in 2019 and started this year with dominant wins over Eastern Michigan and Notre Dame. The Spartans had fairly balanced scoring against the Irish and were led by Aaron Henry’s 14 points and eight rebounds. Marquette transfer Joey Hauser scored 10 points and grabbed 16 boards in his second game with the Spartans.

Duke won this matchup last season 87-75 on the road and has dominated this matchup historically.

Game Time/TV Channel/Streaming

You can watch Michigan State-Duke on Tuesday, December 1st at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN, or you can stream it via the ESPN app with a cable or streaming service login.

Point Spread, Totals, Odds, Trends

Point spread: Michigan State vs. Duke (-4)
Point Total: 152
Money line: Michigan State (+145) vs. Duke (-180)

  • Michigan State is 7-0 straight up in its last seven games, while Duke is 4-3 straight up in that span.
  • Michigan State is 4-1 against the spread in its last five games, and Duke is 2-3 ATS in that span.
  • Michigan State games hit the over in each of the last five games, while Duke overs have cashed in 13 of its last 17 matchups.

The Best Bet

Michigan State has the worst straight up record among the four teams competing during the Champions Classic. Duke has a 6-3 record in this event, and Michigan State stands at 3-6, but that’s going to change because Michigan State is going to win this game. There will be no fans in attendance at Cameron Indoor Stadium, and I’m inclined to lean on teams with a large veteran presence, which is what will lead to Michigan State not only covering but winning this game outright.

Pick: Michigan State +4

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