Duke will take on UNLV Saturday in T-Mobile Arena’s first college basketball game. A seasoned Coach K, coming off a win over Florida in the Jimmy V Classic, will meet the Runnin’ Rebels’ first-year coach Marvin Menzies.
1. The history is deep
Duke will have only played UNLV three times before Saturday, and the last two were high-profile matchups. UNLV leads the all-time series, 2-1. The Rebels defeated Duke in the 1990 national championship game by 30 points, the largest margin of victory in an NCAA championship game. They kept winning, too, until they met Duke the following year, when the Blue Devils ended the Rebels 45-game winning streak in the Final Four. Mike Krzyzewski’s woud go on to earn his first title that season in Duke’s back-to-back run.
Chris Jeter, Duke sophomore Chase Jeter’s dad, was on both those UNLV teams in 1990 and 1991 and now supports his son at Duke.
2. Luke Kennard keeps rising
Not only is Kennard Duke’s leading scorer with 20.4 points, the sophomore guard is now third in the ACC. The funny thing is, had everyone been healthy to start the season, the plan was for Kennard to come off the bench along with Frank Jackson. Kennard has started in every game and established himself as Duke’s best player so far this season.
3. Jayson Tatum is settling in
Averaging 16 points in his first two college games, it was clear after the Florida game that the star freshman is finding his rhythm. He went off in the second half against the Gators, really giving Duke a defensive push.
Duke at UNLV
When: 5:15 p.m. Saturday
Where: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas