30 second game guide
Bring’em Out: No. 7 Duke (8-1) vs. No. 15 Gonzaga (8-2) at Madison Square Garden in the Aeropostale Classic Saturday, December 19th at 1 p.m. on KREM 2.
Watch for: Battle-tested Gonzaga gets a chance to prove it belongs in the same conversation as Duke for top-programs in the country. The Bulldogs have shown they can beat top-25 teams with fairly good consistency, but knocking off the Blue Devils would make a huge statement. The Zags need to show they can hang with the Devils early to have a chance late. A win would also go a long way in convincing the NCAA committee to grant GU a higher seed (assuming the Bulldogs make a tournament appearance).
Fear: Kyle Singler. Duke’s 6’8” junior forward is as valuable and versatile as a guard, averaging over 16 points nearly seven rebounds per game. Singler’s been widely tabbed as a first-team All-American candidate and poses all sorts of match-up problems for the Bulldogs. It’ll be a challenge to match up with him, seeing Robert Sacre (7’0”) and Elias Harris (6’7”) are the only Zags with similar build and height as Singler.
Respect: Matt Bouldin. The Zags’ leader and leading scorer has plenty of rest, sitting out the Battle in Seattle against Davidson. Bouldin has had nearly a week-and-a-half to recover from a head injury he suffered against Augustana back on December 9th. We’ll either see a refreshed, tenacious version of Bouldin on Saturday, or a rusty, timid one. For any chance of a GU victory, the Zags will need a solid performance from their best player. Bouldin is the only current Bulldog to play against Duke back in ’06.
Random Stuff: Gonzaga is 0-1 versus the Dukies, losing 61-54 at MSG back in 2006. The Blue Devils only loss of the season came to Wisconsin, who GU beat convincingly in the Maui Invitational.