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NCAAB · 23 days ago

Champions Classic: #18 Michigan State vs. #9 Duke Preview, Best Bets

David Connelly - SportsGrid

David Connelly - SportsGrid

Champions Classic: #18 Michigan State vs. #9 Duke Preview, Best Bets

An exciting doubleheader of college basketball awaits in Chicago on Tuesday night as the Champions Classic is set to get underway with four blue bloods ready to take center stage. We kick things off with Duke and Michigan State, each looking to bounce back from early-season losses. We preview the matchup and provide our best bet for this intriguing showdown.

Check out our picks for conference winners in 2023-24: Power 6 | Mid-Major

#9 Duke vs. #18 Michigan State Game Information

  • Location: United Center – Chicago, IL
  • Time: 7:00 p.m. ET | TV: ESPN

It’s as desperate of a Champions Classic matchup as we have seen in recent years. With both teams entering at 1-1, one will leave 1-2 and with a fanbase waiting for answers. It makes for a compelling and unique storyline in one of college hoops’ most highly-anticipated early-season events.

Sparty struts in after a shocking defeat to James Madison at home, followed by a comfortable win over a poor Southern Indiana team. While the Spartans have fallen out of favor with plenty of metrics, most still see them as a national title contender who has slightly lost its way to kick off November.

As for Duke, a rocking atmosphere at Cameron Indoor wasn’t enough last Friday night to handle Arizona, who walked away with a narrow victory. The Blue Devils have the pieces but still seem to be a work in progress as they introduce their new pieces.

More Champions Classic Picks: #1 Kansas vs. #17 Kentucky

#9 Duke vs. #18 Michigan State FanDuel Odds

  • Spread: Duke -3.5 (-115) | Michigan State +3.5 (-105)
  • Moneyline: Duke (-178) | Michigan State (+146)
  • Total: OVER 142.5 (-110) | UNDER 142.5 (-110)

The Spartans have been as abysmal as it gets from beyond the arc to start the season, shooting a combined two-for-31 from three in their opening two games. While that’s never a recipe for success, we feel comfortable in assuming that it won’t continue much longer for a team that finished third nationally in three-point percentage last season while returning a large majority of its shooting this year.

The Blue Devils must prove they can win the big game under head coach Jon Scheyer. They are now just 3-5 against teams ranked in KenPom’s top 30 since he took over as head coach at the start of last season, leaving plenty of questions about whether he can coach with the best at the top of the sport. Finding production outside of Jeremy Roach and Kyle Filipowski has also become an issue throughout the season’s first two games. Can Scheyer find a tertiary option, perhaps Tyrese Proctor, to step up when it matters most on Tuesday night?

The early season overreaction on Michigan State has gone just slightly too far. The Spartans are still a talented roster, who battled until the bitter end against a solid James Madison team despite making just one three-pointer. We can almost guarantee they won’t go without multiple triples tonight, and you know you’re certainly getting the coaching bump by backing Tom Izzo here. This is a tremendous buy-low spot on the Spartans ahead of Tuesday night’s contest.

College Basketball Best Bet

Michigan State ML (+146)