In a matchup of unbeaten teams, top-ranked Duke visits No. 17 Indiana in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Wednesday.
The Blue Devils (5-0) face their second straight ranked opponent after beating then-No. 11 Memphis 70-67 Friday in the title game of the NIT Season Tip-Off at Madison Square Garden.
Shelden Williams, named the tournament’s most outstanding player, scored 30 points and J.J. Redick added 15 to give Duke it third NIT crown.
“Together, Shelden and J.J. still scored 45 points. If they do that every night, we’ll be good,” said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who earned his 726th win to put him in a tie with Temple’s John Chaney for 14th place all-time. “We just have to figure out other people to score with them. That’s where we miss DeMarcus (Nelson) because he was capable of scoring, of driving, rebounding, shooting. When DeMarcus comes back we have a chance to be better.”
Nelson is expected to miss 6-8 weeks with a right ankle fracture suffered during the NIT semifinal win over Drexel on Nov. 23.
Freshman Josh McRoberts contributed a season-high 12 points for Duke against Memphis. The Indiana native is third on the team in scoring with 7.6 points per game.
“We’re a young team,” Krzyzewski said. “As we bring them along, you only get better. That’s why these tournaments are great in the early season. Not preseason, this is the season.”
Duke’s five freshman have contributed a combined 19.5 points per game average, but Redick and Williams continue to be the team’s main offensive weapons. The duo is accounting for 41.2 of the team’s 77.8 points per game this season.
Duke is the only unbeaten team in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, going 6-0 overall, including 4-0 at neutral sites. Indiana has split four games in the series, beating North Carolina and Maryland and losing to Wake Forest and North Carolina.
Indiana (3-0) has a 5-14 record against No. 1 teams, with its last win coming against Duke in 2002. The Hoosiers defeated Michigan State the last time the top-ranked team visited Bloomington on Jan. 7, 2001.
With wins this season against lesser opponents Nicholls State, Florida A&M and Western Illinois, facing the nation’s No. 1 team should provide a very difficult challenge for Indiana.
Marco Killingsworth and Robert Vaden each scored 22 points in Indiana’s 102-79 rout of Western Illinois on Sunday.
Killingsworth leads the team with 20 points per game and is followed by Marshall Strickland with 19.3.
“The key to this basketball team is playing together and making the extra pass. When we make the extra pass, we have guys who can make the open shot,” Indiana coach Mike Davis said. “I love this team because of the unselfish play.”
Indiana has five players averaging over 12.0 points per game, including former walk-on Errek Suhr, who has all of his points off the bench.
Indiana defeated Duke 74-73 in the last meeting between the teams in the NCAA tournament on March 21, 2002. The Hoosiers are 3-2 all-time against the Blue Devils with all the games being played on neutral courts.