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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


No. 12 Arizona faces No. 2 Duke in an early season Top 25 matchup

Jackie Cabrera
The Arizona mens basketball team huddles up during the game against Morgan State on Nov. 7 in McKale Center. The Wildcats won the game with a score of 122-59.

The Arizona men’s basketball team opened the season with a massive win over Morgan State University, beating the Bears 122-59. The Wildcats were firing on all cylinders during their season opener, with Arizona having eight players reach double figures. After notching their 23rd straight home opener victory, the Wildcats travel to Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, North Carolina, to face No. 2 Duke University on Friday, Nov. 10, at 5 p.m. 

History vs. Duke

Friday night’s matchup against Duke will be the 10th meeting between the two prestigious programs. Arizona currently holds a 5-4 lead in the series. Additionally, the Wildcats have won their two previous matchups against the Blue Devils, with their most recent matchup taking place on Nov. 30, 2013, at Madison Square Garden, resulting in a 72-66 victory for the Wildcats.

However, the most notable head-to-head matchup between the two squads was the 2001 National Championship Game. Legendary head coach Mike Krzyzewski guided No. 1-seed Duke to an 82-72 victory over Lute Olsen and the No. 2-seed Wildcats, securing his third National Championship with the Blue Devils. 

What to watch for Duke

The Blue Devils are led by second-year head coach Jon Scheyer, who replaced Hall of Fame Coach Krzyzewski after he retired in 2022. In his first season, Scheyer led Duke to a 27-9 record before bowing out in the Round of 32 of the NCAA Tournament.  

Reigning ACC Rookie of the Year Kyle Filipowski leads Duke in his second season. During his freshman season, Filipowski led the Blue Devils in scoring and rebounding, averaging 15.1 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. Aside from Filipowski, the team is also guided by senior Jeremy Roach and sophomore Tyrese Proctor. Roach, a four-year starter, averaged second most on the team, with his 13.6 points and 3.1 assists last year. Meanwhile, in his freshman season, Proctor averaged 9.4 points and a team-high 3.3 assists per game. Now a confident sophomore, he’s poised to be one of the best point guards in the country. 

The Blue Devils boast a strong freshman class of Sean Stewart, Jared McCain, Caleb Foster and TJ Power, which ranks second in the nation. Foster and McCain showcased their skills in Duke’s opening victory against Dartmouth University, with Foster scoring 15 points and McCain scoring 8. 

Wildcats to watch:

Caleb Love

Love spent his first three seasons with the University of North Carolina before transferring to Arizona. During his time with the Tar Heels, Love faced the Blue Devils seven times, averaging 17.7 points and 4.4 assists per game. His previous experience against Duke should be valuable for the Wildcats as they look to take down the Blue Devils on the road.   

Kylan Boswell

Boswell saw an increase in minutes toward the end of the 2022-23 season, as the then-freshman showcased his ability to score and defend. With a full year of experience under his belt, he has secured a spot in the starting lineup and is ready to become a dominant force for the Wildcats. In Arizona’s season opener, Boswell demonstrated his versatility and potential, scoring a career-high 18 points against Morgan State, as the sophomore guard shot 7-10 from the field and 4-6 from deep. 

Oumar Ballo

Ballo is arguably one of the most dominant forwards in the league. The seven-foot senior is coming off of a breakout season, where he averaged 14.2 points and 8.6 rebounds per game, earning him a spot on the All-Pac-12 First Team. Ballo’s ability to utilize his size and his advantage over smaller defenders makes him hard to stop. However, Ballo will likely be matched against Filipowski, another seven-footer, in a clash of two of the better centers in college basketball.

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