East Lansing – Michigan State’s difficult run through the month of November comes to a conclusion on Tuesday night with a trip to No. 5 Duke as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
It’s a place Michigan State has never won and comes against a team coach Tom Izzo has beaten just once, but the atmosphere at Cameron Indoor Stadium, with the “Cameron Crazies,” is one the Spartans will relish.
“Playing a team like Duke, who I have great respect for, playing down there will be a great opportunity for our kids,” Izzo said on Monday. “It’s one of those arenas, one of those historic places that should be on everybody’s bucket list.”
Michigan State (4-3) is coming off a 2-1 trip to the Bahamas where it took third place in the Battle 4 Atlantis. During the stretch, Izzo inserted freshman Joshua Langford into the lineup in place of sophomore Matt McQuaid.
It produced the desired results, with McQuaid becoming more of a scoring threat and helping to get Langford more involved, as he missed the exhibition season with a hamstring injury. Which lineup Izzo uses against Duke is still to be determined.
“We started (Langford) for a couple of reasons,” Izzo said. “One was to sort of try to get him going but also to get somebody coming off the bench to give us some offense, which McQuaid did. I’m not sure which way we’re gonna go this week. Some of that will be determined after today’s practice.
“I might start one, I might start the other. But it won’t be because somebody did something so much more or somebody did something so much less. It’s try to put the right group together and try to get the right people coming off the bench.”
Duke (6-1) comes in with its only loss against Kansas in the Champions Classic. The Blue Devils are short-handed and could be without guard Grayson Allen, who injured his toe in a win over Appalachian State on Saturday.
“I just have no idea because I don’t know how bad it is,” Izzo said of Allen. “I don’t know how much it affected him. I know this: He’s a damn good player, and he can beat you off the bounce.
“He’s a competitive, tough kid. But they’ve got some players. I don’t think they’ll be short of talent.”
Michigan State at Duke
When: Tuesday, 9:30 p.m.
Where: Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, N.C.
TV / radio: ESPN / WJR 760