And the feeling I have seeing this Duke team turn Kentucky into early season mid-major fodder is no different then the feeling I had after watching that Kentucky team turn that Kansas team into a group of middle schoolers running offense for the first time: How in the hell is anyone going to beat Duke?
The Jayhawks do have some holdovers from previous year, though, and they will no doubt rely on bruising big man Udoka Azubuike and springy guard Lagerald Vick against the Spartans. But with a pair of five-star recruits, the Lawson brothers and holdovers like 7-foot junior Udoka Azubuike (13 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.7 blocks last season), expectations are sky-high in Lawrence once again.
Five-star prospects Quentin Grimes, Devon Dotson and David McCormack will also factor into whether the Jayhawks can make another Final Four run, but all of them will have to go through some growing pains. Of his team-leading and career-high 11 rebounds, six of them came on the offensive glass, helping Duke score on a majority of its possessions. The former contest will take place at 7 p.m. ET in Indianapolis, Ind., followed by the top-five matchup between the Blue Devils and Wildcats. As we saw Tuesday, Duke thrives in the moment. A lot of it was over-trying too, but yeah, they were both gamers tonight. Dotson finished with 16 points, 3 assists, and 3 steals while going 3-5 from beyond the arc.
"I've studied them a little bit", Self said of the Spartans.
They've defeated Duke both times they've played, and even upended Kentucky once in three tries, but beat Michigan State they haven't and that has to bother Jayhawks fans.
Barrett led the way with 33 points on 13-of-26 shooting from the field and knocked down three of the Blue Devils' 12 3-pointers. "I knew it was still somewhat a close game, closer than we had wanted it to and we had turned the ball over a lot, just those extra possessions and extra possessions probably contributed to it".
Kansas may be the most talented and have the best blend of youth and experience out of any team in the country.
Michigan State's traditionally daunting non-conference continues Sunday when defending Atlantic Sun regular-season champion Florida Gulf Coast visits East Lansing on Sunday. Duke will have to work hard against the Orange to get the looks they'll want. Which, much like Virginia's Pack Line, will likely be a problem for a team built around young and fiery rim-slashers who are used to using force in the field. "This was good for us".
The Blue Devils found themselves in deep foul trouble as six players, including Reddish, Williamson and Bolden, picked up two fouls each in the first half.