Top-25 showdown pits Wolverines against Blue Devils

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Updated: 12/03/2013 10:43 am

Durham, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of Top-25 foes will collide in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, as the 22nd-ranked Michigan Wolverines take on the 10th-ranked Duke Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Tuesday night.

Mike Krzyzewski's Blue Devils advanced to the NIT Season Tip-Off title game, but failed to bring home the tournament crown, suffering a 72-66 loss to the Arizona Wildcats. Now at 6-2, Duke returns home where it has won an NCAA-best 106 straight non-conference games at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke is 12-2 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

John Beilein's Wolverines will try to end the streak, but are jumping up in competition, as this represents the first ranked opponent Michigan has faced this season. UM moved to 5-2 overall with Friday's 87-45 rout of Coppin State. Michigan is 5-7 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Duke has won the last two meetings overall with Michigan, the last four in Durham, and leads the all-time series, 21-8. Duke beat Michigan in the 1992 NCAA Championship Game and knocked the Wolverines out of the 2011 tournament.

The Wolverines were without star guard Nik Stauskas (ankle) last time out, but that allowed freshman guard Zak Irvin to step forward. The 6-foot-6 youngster came off the bench, hit six 3-pointers and netted 24 points in the lopsided win over Coppin State. Caris LeVert added 15 points and Glenn Robinson III finished with 14. Overall, Michigan shot a solid .516 from the floor, while completely dominating the Eagles on the glass, with a 44-19 edge in rebounding.

Stauskas has been vital to Michigan's success thus far, as he is shooting over 50 percent from the floor, including 47.4 percent from behind the arc, and putting up a hefty 20.3 ppg. He is listed as questionable for this contest. Without him, LeVert (13.9 ppg) and Robinson (12.1 ppg) will need to elevate their games, as will Derrick Walton Jr. (89. ppg) and Mitch McGary (8.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg).

The Blue Devils were stymied by Arizona's defensive play, as they shot just .431 from the floor overall and finished with a season low 66 points. Rodney Hood led the way in defeat with 21 points and eight rebounds. Freshman phenom Jabari Parker added 19 points, while point guard Quinn Cook chipped in with 13 points.

What does it say when a 19-point effort from a freshman is his lowest output of the season? It says that Parker is without question one of the top players in the country regardless of his age. He has done it all for Duke this season, shooting efficiently (.554 overall, .500 from behind the arc), and leading the team in both scoring (23.0 ppg) and rebounding (8.0 rpg). Hood is another newcomer that has fit right in, as he is shooting 62.2 percent from the floor and pouring in 20.0 ppg. Cook is the perfect complement in the backcourt, with his ability to score (13.4 ppg) and distribute (6.0 apg) at a high rate.

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