Duke will play a one-loss Florida team in Tuesday’s Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden. Duke (8-1) will have a bit more depth than usual with the returns of freshmen Jayson Tatum and Marques Bolden in Saturday’s 94-55 win over Maine. Florida (7-1), under the helm of Duke AD Kevin White’s son, Mike, beat rival Miami, 65-56, and then North Florida, 91-60, before heading to New York.
The Blue Devils lead the series, 12-4, but lost the last meeting, 87-78, in 2000. Shane Battier scored 20 points in that game.
1. Matt Jones is bigger than scoring
Never miss a local story.
The senior guard only has five points over the last two games, dropping him out of a double-digit average. But over the last two contests he passed out eight assists and had a four-steal game, bringing his career total to 12 in games where he captured at least three. He’s played a major hand in Duke’s perimeter defense limiting teams to a .266 3-point percentage. Duke has held five opponents to fewer than 30 first-half points this season.
2. Duke will experiment
It’ll be a task to work in the freshmen who are coming off injuries. In addition, guards Grayson Allen and Frank Jackson were sporting respective foot injuries, sidelining them Saturday. They’re both expected to play Tuesday, which will add another layer to the lineups displayed in the Maine win.
3. Don’t look past Florida
The Gators flipped the script against Miami, holding one of the nation’s top defenses scoreless through the first 5 minutes and 26 seconds after halftime. A balanced Florida team got 19 points, 15 rebounds, six assists and four steals off the bench that day. In its latest win, a 91-60 win over North Florida, the bench scored more points (51) than the starters (40).
Duke vs. Florida
When: 9:30 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York