Duke forward Marvin Bagley III, left, goes in for a dunk against Elon forward Tyler Seibring on Nov. 10. Chuck Liddy cliddy@newsobserver.com
Duke forward Marvin Bagley III, left, goes in for a dunk against Elon forward Tyler Seibring on Nov. 10. Chuck Liddy cliddy@newsobserver.com

Duke

It’s Duke vs. Archie Miller in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. What you need to know.

By Jonathan M. Alexander

jalexander@newsobserver.com

November 29, 2017 09:35 AM

Duke will play its first true road game of the season on Wednesday at Indiana – coached by Archie Miller, the former N.C. State guard and assistant.

The Blue Devils and Hoosiers will face off in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, an event which Duke has dominated (16-2) over its 18-year history.

Here are five things to know ahead of Wednesday’s game:

1. Duke will play its first true road game

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Through Duke’s first eight games, four have been at home, while four have been at neutral sites. This time the Blue Devils (8-0) will travel to Bloomington, Ind. to play at the historic Assembly Hall, an arena that seats 17,222 and is one of the toughest road venues in the country. Duke has played Indiana (4-2) eight times and leads the series 5-3. It has only played at Assembly Hall once, in 2005. The Blue Devils won that game 75-67, as former guard J.J. Redick led Duke in scoring with 29 points.

Dating back to last season, Duke has lost two straight road games against unranked opponents. Those losses came against Miami on Feb. 25 and Syracuse on Feb. 22.

2. Indiana hasn’t been particularly impressive

Miller, in his first year as Indiana’s head coach, got off to a rocky start when the Hoosiers got blown out at home by Indiana State, 90-69, in the first game of the season.

They have since won four out of their last five games, but none have been against top competition.

Miller was hired at Indiana in March after coaching at Dayton from 2011-17.

Indiana’s Archie Miller coaches against Arkansas State on Nov. 22. The former N.C. State assistant and point guard will go up against Duke in th ACC-Big Ten Challenge on Wednesday.
Darron Cummings AP

3. Marvin Bagley is Duke’s one constant

Bagley, a 6-11, 234-pound forward, has dominated for Duke in recent games. He won the MVP of the Motion Bracket of the PK80 tournament last weekend. He averaged 27.3 points per game and 15 rebounds in three wins over Portland State, Texas and Florida.

On Friday, Bagley scored 34 points - 21 in the second half and overtime - in the Blue Devils’ come-from-behind overtime win against Texas. Against Florida on Sunday, Bagley had 30 points and 15 rebounds as the Blue Devils rallied after being down by 17 points in the second half.

Through the first six games of the season, Bagley is 18-for-36 from the free throw line, and over the last two games, Bagley was 18-for-23.

For the season, Bagley is leading the team in scoring and rebounding. He averages 22.3 points per game, and 11.3 rebounds. The only game Bagley hasn’t scored in double figures was against Michigan State two weeks ago, when he was poked in the eye and sat out the last 30 minutes of the game.

4. Duke hasn’t had much rest recently

The Blue Devils have had a demanding schedule in recent weeks. Wednesday will be the Blue Devils’ ninth game in 20 days, including three games in four days over the Thanksgiving holidays. Four of their games were on the road.

Two weeks ago, it played in Chicago. This past weekend it played in Portland, Ore. According to Duke, the Blue Devils will have logged nearly 8,500 miles in the air after the trip to Bloomington.

5. Duke has trailed at halftime in each of the past three games

Duke trailed at halftime in each of its games at the PK80 Invitational. Against Portland State, the Blue Devils were down by 4 at the half. Against Texas, they trailed by 12, and against Florida, they trailed by 4.

None of that really mattered though. Duke came back to win each of those games. But the wins over Texas and Florida, both took monumental efforts.

On Wednesday, the Blue Devils will want to get out to a faster start against the Hoosiers, especially with it being in a tough road environment.

Jonathan M. Alexander: 919-829-4822, @jonmalexander

Duke at Indiana

What: ACC-Big Ten Challenge

When: 9:30 p.m., Wednesday

Where: Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Ind.

TV: ESPN