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Grayson Allen will need to step up beyond the arc for Duke.

Key three: Can Duke do enough on the glass to beat Michigan State?



 After winning comfortably against overwhelmed opponents in their first two games, the top-ranked Blue Devils will face their first test of the season in a marquee matchup in Chicago against No. 2 Michigan State. Here are the three keys to the game for Duke: 

Keep Bridges out of transition

Spartans’ star sophomore Miles Bridges is one of the top players in the nation, and may very well be the best on the fast break. An explosive dunker, the 6-foot-7 wing player is nearly impossible to guard once he gets a head of steam, and though he is not pushover a shooting the ball—Bridges rattled in nearly 39 percent of his 3-pointers last season—it is best for the Blue Devils to force Bridges to make plays in the half-court set. 

Clean up the glass

With Bridges alongside forwards Nick Ward and Jaren Jackson Jr., the Spartans have a lot of muscle to compete with down low. Although it has succeeded against far smaller teams, Duke will have to again rebound well, especially with Michigan St.’s offensive firepower. Duke forwards Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter Jr. cannot afford to get into foul trouble, and will be compromised if the Spartans get several second chance opportunities in vulnerable spots, forcing the Blue Devils' freshmen starters to the bench. 

Hit 3-pointers early

Duke does not have many knockdown 3-point shooters, especially among what seems to be their rotation at this point in the season. However, they still have some players—Grayson Allen and Gary Trent Jr.—who have shot the ball exceptionally well from distance to start the season. To allow point guard Trevon Duval, Bagley and Carter to operate at their respective peaks, Allen and Trent will have to spread the offense up to start the game. If they can give especially Duval, who has 20 assists to just one turnover so far, and Bagley enough space to carve up Michigan St.’s defense, the Blue Devils will have their way offensively.


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