The Duke Blue Devils are playing the UCLA Bruins on December 19th in the CARQUEST Auto Parts Classic. The game will be a neutral site game at Madison Square Garden in New York. This won’t be an easy game for UCLA and they have to travel much farther for this game than Duke.
This is a matchup of two of the historic college basketball teams. Duke has been much better in recent years, but with a couple big recruits from the past two seasons, UCLA is a major college basketball school again.
UCLA got off to a bad start last year and struggled to find someone to make the big shot when they needed it. They had one of the best recruiting classes in the country, but they were young and are looking to build from last season. UCLA should be a much more experienced team this year and should look to take advantage of that.
They did lose their starting point guard and first-round pick Shabazz Muhammad from last season’s team. However, they will have everyone else back and should be a much more experienced team. This is another team that has size in David and Travis Wear but Duke should have a unique advantage over them, because they faced them when they both were at North Carolina.
UCLA should be an interesting challenge because they don’t have the dominant low post but do have size. They also won’t look to run but look to slow down the game and look to play in the half court. They will look to keep Duke from running and make them a jump shooting team to keep the score low.
The Duke Blue Devils will look to run and look to spread UCLA’s defense as much as possible. Duke won’t be able to exploit their youth like some of the other teams early on in their schedule this season. This is however, another team that they can look to their backcourt as an advantage as UCLA will have to replace their point guard and that is something Quinn Cook could exploit.
On defense, Duke will have to make everything hard on UCLA and make them earn everything. The Blue Devils will look to speed up the Bruins and hope to force some turnovers from a new point guard. The matchups will favor Duke other than the post players, but UCLA doesn’t have any post players that have proven they can take over a game.
Duke’s backcourt will have a great game. This is a game well into the season for both teams and they will know how each other plays; the experienced backcourt for Duke will be able to capitalize on this. If UCLA can develop a post player from the group that includes the Wear twins and Tony Parker, it could be a tough game for the Blue Devils. When it comes down to it, no one can trust any of the post players for UCLA until anyone sees anything different for this year.
Duke will win the game against UCLA because of their athleticism and also how well they play in neutral site games.