The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

77° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona faces Duke in preseason NIT championship game

Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat The Arizona Wildcats men’s basketball team took on the Duke Blue Devils Thursday, March 24, 2011, in a NCAA West Regional game in the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. The Wildcats advance to the Elite 8 with a 93-77 win.

A pair of college basketball’s heavyweights in No. 4 Arizona and No. 6 Duke clash Friday night in Madison Square Garden in the finals of the NIT Season Tip Off. The two schools look to break an even 4-4 all time record against one another.

The game will be at 4 p.m. Arizona time on ESPN.

The Blue Devils (6-1) seek revenge from their 93-77 upset loss to the Wildcats (6-0) in the Sweet 16 round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament. Former UA great Derrick Williams outplayed Duke’s Kyrie Irving, scoring 32 points with 13 rebounds and led Arizona to its first Elite Eight appearance since 2005.

Arizona took control of the game in 2011 with a 19-2 run that the Associated Press described as a “4-minute, 13-second dunking and driving display.”

The Blue Devils have won two of the last three meetings though, including the 2001 national championship game, 82-72.

Cleveland Cavaliers picked Irving first overall while Williams went second to the Minnesota Timberwolves in that year’s NBA draft.

Like the Wildcats, the Blue Devils’ road to New York City began on their home floor, where they defeated UNC Asheville and East Carolina, outscoring them a combined 174-129. Wednesday night, Duke upended Alabama in the semifinals 74-64.

The lone Blue Devil’s loss of the season came then No. 5 and now No. 2 Kansas (4-0). Duke’s freshman standout Jabari Parker dropped 27 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, but his squad still fell 94-83 to the Jayhawks.

The championship game carries a lot of hype from the five-star freshmen recruit matchup between Parker and Arizona’s Aaron Gordon. Both were ranked in the top five of the 2013 ESPN 100 with Gordon at No. 4 and Parker in the second spot.

Duke is led by its head coach of 33 years, Mike Krzyzewski, who brought four national championships to the program, most recently in 2010. ‘Coach K’ has been awarded 12 National Coach of the Year honors and a total 45 of his former Blue Devils have been drafted to the NBA, 25 of them being first round selections.

Who are the Duke Blue Devils?

2012-13 record: 30-6, (14-4 Atlantic Coast Conference)

2012-13 notable victories: 75-68 versus Kentucky, 76-71 versus Louisville, 73-68 versus Ohio State, 79-76 versus Miami, 71-61 versus Michigan State (Sweet 16).

Top recruits

Parker headlines Krzyzewski’s 2013 class, but shooting guard Matt Jones and small forward Semi Ojeleye are both four-star recruits according to ESPN. Parker is expected to be one and done, potential high NBA lottery pick material, averaging 23.6 points and 8.7 rebounds per game thus far this season. Jones and Ojeleye come off the bench.

He said it

“The first thing is communication, which he [Krzyzewski] does very well because he likes to teach,” said Brooklyn Nets head coach Jason Kidd, who played for Krzyzewski in the 2012 Olympics. “He makes things easy because he gives you what he wants to see out there, which makes it easy for a point guard. I think he would do great in the NBA, but we all know that he has a great gig at Duke.”

Player to watch

Obviously Parker is the star of this team, but UA head coach Sean Miller will have to keep tabs on Duke junior guard Quinn Cook. Cook has been the workhorse for the Blue Devils, leading the team in minutes played (35.3) and assists (6.4) per contest. His 13.4 points per game ranks ranks third to Parker (23.6) and Duke sophomore forward Rodney Hood (19.9) as well.

Projected starting lineup

PG Quinn Cook

SG Tyler Thornton

SF Jabari Parker

PF Rodney Hood

C Josh Hairston

— Follow Joey Putrelo @JoeyPutrelo

More to Discover
Activate Search