Duke hosts Michigan in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Tuesday night with hopes of continuing one streak that goes back 13 years while avoiding another that extends even longer.
A win by the No. 22 Wolverines would snap the 10th-ranked Blue Devils' much-hyped streak of 106 consecutive home wins against non-conference opponents that began in November 2000. It would also give Duke consecutive non-conference losses for the first time since November 1999.
A 72-66 loss to Arizona in the NIT Season Tip-Off championship Friday in New York marked the Blue Devils' first game being held under 70 points this season. They've had their two worst shooting performances in their last two games, hitting 43.1 percent and scoring 70.0 points per game after shooting 55.0 percent and averaging 92.7 in their first six.
The offensive struggles against Alabama and Arizona didn't have coach Mike Krzyzewski down on Duke (6-2), which has lost to two top-five opponents.
"We played a game worthy of winning," Krzyzewski said after the Arizona loss. "I thought we played a lot better than we did against Kansas (a 94-83 loss on Nov. 12). I think my team has improved. There is no shame in losing to Kansas or Arizona. Part of us getting better is getting older together."
Freshman Jabari Parker experienced a portion of that growing process with his worst game of the season, going 7 of 21 from the floor with 19 points and three rebounds against a physical Arizona frontcourt.
"Getting the experience of playing against bigger guys. It's no excuse for them to have the advantage because it is not necessarily a game that requires height," Parker said. "It's just about getting back in the gym and work on it."
Rodney Hood scored a game-high 21 points and Quinn Cook added 13 as the three combined for 53 of the Blue Devils' 66 points.
Duke is 9-1 against Michigan since Dec. 12, 1998. They last lost a home game to the Wolverines on Dec. 8, 1996, and are 4-0 against them at Cameron Indoor Stadium since, winning by an average of 34.2 points.
The Wolverines (5-2) have yet to face a ranked opponent this season, though they went 4-4 against top-10 teams a season ago on their way to a national championship appearance.
They played Friday's 87-45 home win over Coppin State without leading scorer Nik Stauskas, one of three remaining starters from their Final Four run. Stauskas suffered a sprained ankle Nov. 24 against Charlotte and his status for Tuesday's game is uncertain.
Freshman guard Zak Irvin stepped up in 26 minutes off the bench Friday, scoring a game-high 24 points while knocking down 6 of 10 3-pointers.
"He's one of those rare shooters," Michigan coach John Beilein told the school's official website. "Zak can shoot and defend. And really those are his two things. Our defense picked up a lot."
Sophomore Mitch McGary, who missed Michigan's first two games with a lower-back injury, made his first start of the season against Coppin State. The preseason All-American is averaging 8.2 points and 7.8 rebounds in five games after averaging 14.3 points during the Wolverines' NCAA tournament run.
Duke is 5-0 at home in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, and at 12-2 overall leads all teams in victories and winning percentage. Michigan is 5-7.
- Sports & Recreation