No. 2 Michigan State basketball faces its first big test on Tuesday against No. 1 Duke in the Champions Classic. This is as big of a matchup as any you’ll see in early-season college basketball, and the Spartans will be looking to reverse recent history, which is on the side of the Blue Devils.
Michigan State has a 1-10 record against Duke under Tom Izzo, something that’s not lost on the Spartans’ coach.
“It doesn’t sit very well with me,” he told reporters Monday. “The truth of it is they’ve beaten us. And they’ve beaten us, and there have been some fights, very few one-sided games. But that’s what I said. That’s the next step for us. We have to learn to win big games on big stages. There’s no bigger stage than this tournament. There’s no bigger stage than playing Duke. We could argue who’s the winningest team for hundreds of years and whether it’s Kentucky or this. The best team in my era, the last 35 years, has been Duke. And so the nice thing is we’ve played them 11 times.”
Michigan State lost at Duke, 78-69, last November. The rematch on Tuesday tips off at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. Kentucky-Kansas is also on Tuesday night, with the College Football Playoff rankings release show sandwiched in between.