No. 5 Kansas, No. 7 Duke clash looking to get past shortcomings

Kansas No. 5 and Duke No. 7 meet to overcome the shortcomings

It’s only mid-November and neither No. 5 Kansas nor No. 7 Duke will be quite there when they meet at Tuesday night’s Champions Classic in Indianapolis, but both teams will start to get answers about who they are this season.

The Jayhawks (2-0), who opened their national championship defense with easy victories over Omaha and North Dakota State, are without head coach Bill Self and assistant coach Kurtis Townsend.

Both are serving the third game of a four-game ban imposed by the school for their involvement in a recruitment scandal in which the program used a shoe company to gain an unfair advantage in signing top players.

As for the Blue Devils (2-0), they’re even easier on wins against Jacksonville and USC Upstate, but played those games without five-star freshman wing Dariq Whitehead (foot) and played the Jacksonville game without center Dereck Lively (Calf). .

Duke got 14 minutes out of Lively in Friday night’s 84-38 blowout of the USC Upstate. Lively delivered four points, two rebounds and two blocked shots, but things could get tougher on Tuesday as the competition soars.

Still, it will be the first really big game for first-year Blue Devils coach Jon Scheyer against a worthy opponent on neutral ground. He wants his team to continue an early trend.

“We’re learning how to play physically without fouling,” he said. “I think we have what it takes to be a good defensive team. … The effort is out there and that’s where it starts on defense.”

Freshman Mark Mitchell has averaged a team-high 15.5 points in two games, while another freshman, center Kyle Filipowski, has posted double-doubles in each of his first two games. Filipowski, Lively and Northwestern transfer Ryan Young (11.5 ppg, 7.5 rebounds per game) give Duke one of the best frontcourts in the nation.

Jeremy Roach has the offensive in his hands in the backcourt. Roach has averaged 13 points and 6.0 assists so far, with an assist-turnover ratio that’s slightly better than 2-1.

Meanwhile, Kansas’ last game on Thursday night was an 82-59 win over North Dakota State in which they established a 29-point lead at halftime. It received 21 points from Jalen Wilson, 17 of them in the first half, and a 12-point 6 rebound outing from freshman guard Gradey Dick.

Caretaker coach Norm Roberts, a former head coach at St. John’s, said the Jayhawks achieved Self’s pregame goals of working on their trap defense. Roberts noted the team scored plenty of deflections after 20 minutes of action as they rolled to a 48-19 advantage.

“I thought the boys were great in the first half,” said Roberts. “We never allowed them to be comfortable in the first half and I think that really helped us. We’re still a long way from where we’re going to be. We’re making progress. We’re getting better.”

Wilson is averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds so far, while Dick is averaging 17.5 points per game and hitting 58.3 percent of his shots.

The Blue Devils lead the all-time streak 8-5, earning a 68-66 win in the teams’ last clash on November 5, 2019.

– Field level media

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