Krzyzewski vs. Izzo: Breaking down Duke men's basketball's last 12 matchups against Michigan State

Duke has gotten the better of the Spartans in all but one of their matchups in the last 20 years.
Duke has gotten the better of the Spartans in all but one of their matchups in the last 20 years.

As the Blue Devils' 39-year head coach with a career worthy of a spot on the Mount Rushmore of college basketball, Mike Krzyzewski has had his fair share of coaching rivalries with the NCAA's greatest. 

Yet, none of them have been more one-sided than Krzyzewski's history against Michigan State's Tom Izzo, a matchup that Duke's leader has dominated with an 11-1 record.

With the Blue Devils and Spartans primed for a regional final matchup as the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the East, Izzo will undoubtedly be looking to shake the proverbial monkey off his back. But until he gets his chance, here's a brief recap of a nearly two-decade-long series that the Blue Devils have dominated:

Dec. 2, 1998: No. 4 Duke 73, No. 9 Michigan State 67

The first time these two perennial powerhouses met under their current head coaches was an early-season neutral-site matchup in the now-defunct Great Eight classic. This squad of Blue Devil stars including Corey Maggette, Elton Brand, William Avery, Trajan Langdon, Chris Carrawell and Shane Battier would see the Spartans again in that year's NCAA tournament.

March 27, 1999: No. 1 Duke 68, No. 2 Michigan State 62

The second time the Blue Devils and Spartans met in the 1998-99 season, it was in a clash of titans Final Four matchup. Michigan State trailed by 12 at halftime and mounted a daring comeback, but Duke, led by Langdon, Maggette and Brand, kept the Spartans at bay to punch a ticket to the national championship. Unfortunately for the Blue Devils, their incredible 37-2 season came up short at the biggest stage, with a 77-74 loss to No. 3 Connecticut.

Dec. 3, 2003: No. 6 Duke 72, No. 5 Michigan State 50

In J.J. Redick's first of many bouts with the Spartans, the Blue Devils traveled for their first and only time to the Breslin Center in East Lansing, where they put together the most dominant showing of this series. Behind a 16-point performance from Shelden Williams, Duke put together a 20-2 first half run to bury Michigan State early.

Nov. 30, 2004: No. 10 Duke 81, No. 11 Michigan State 74

This was the matchup where the Spartans truly learned to hate the name J.J. Redick. The junior Blue Devil dropped 29 along with teammate Daniel Ewing to lead Duke past Michigan State in Durham in the second rendition of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. However, the Spartans would be the ones to get the last laugh later in the season.

March 25, 2005: No. 15 Michigan State 78, No. 3 Duke 68

In a Sweet 16 matchup in Austin, Texas, the Spartans managed to upset the Redick-led Blue Devils behind a 20-point performance from Paul Davis as well as an additional 17 points from Alan Anderson. Michigan State went on a Cinderella run to the Final Four, where it ultimately lost 87-71 to North Carolina.

Dec. 1, 2010: No. 1 Duke 84, No. 6 Michigan State 79

It took five more years for the Blue Devils and Spartans to meet again, and as has been the case in previous matchups, a Duke point guard lit Michigan State up. Kyrie Irving poured in a 31-point, six-rebound and four-assist performance to bury Draymond Green, Kalin Lucas and the Spartans.

Nov. 15, 2011: No. 6 Duke 74, Michigan State 69

This matchup was one of the only two times the Spartans were unranked facing the Blue Devils in an early-season Champions Classic matchup. Although Michigan State kept it close, Andre Dawkins and Seth Curry put together monster performances to make Krzyzewski the winningest coach in Division I men's basketball history. Also of note: this game marked the first of five times that then-freshman point guard Quinn Cook faced the Spartans.

March 29, 2013: No. 6 Duke 71, No. 9 Michigan State 61

Yet another NCAA tournament matchup between the Blue Devils and the Spartans went Duke's way, this time in the Sweet 16. Curry poured in 29 points to push the Blue Devils ahead, where they fell in the next round to eventual national champions Louisville.

Nov. 18, 2014: No. 4 Duke 81, No. 19 Michigan State 71

The second time the Blue Devils faced the Spartans in the Champions Classic, Duke managed to pull off the same outcome. With the Blue Devils' freshman core of Tyus Jones, Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow each scoring at least 15 points and Cook leading the way with 19, Duke took the first of two meetings with Michigan State for the season with ease.

April 4, 2015: No. 4 Duke 81, No. 24 Michigan State 61

In the third in-season rematch of Duke vs. Michigan State, the Blue Devils crushed the Spartans by 20 for a trip to the championship against Wisconsin—and eventually another banner in Cameron. Winslow added 19 points, Okafor had 18 and Cook joined the double-digit club with 17.

Nov. 29, 2016: No. 5 Duke 78, Michigan State 69

In Miles Bridges' first crack at the Blue Devils, 11 points and nine rebounds were not enough against a 24-point performance from Grayson Allen and a 20-point showing from Luke Kennard. Although Duke was without its talented freshman recruiting class due to injury, the Blue Devils made it look easy in Cameron.

Nov. 14, 2017: No. 1 Duke 88, No. 2 Michigan State 81

When star freshman Marvin Bagley III went out early with an eye injury, the Blue Devils seemed to have no immediate solution to match Bridges' explosive offense without its main offensive motor. That is, until Allen went supernova with a 37-point, 7-for-11 from three performance to give Duke its third Champions Classic win against the Spartans.

A previous version of this story misspelled Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski's last name in the headline. The Chronicle regrets the error.


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