In a clash of top-5 heavyweights, No. 5 Duke battles No. 1 Gonzaga on Friday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas for the Continental Tire Challenge presented by Ameritas. The Blue Devils, who have played more games when ranked No. 1 (283) in college basketball history, are facing a No. 1 team for the first time since the 2013-14 season. Duke has won four of its last seven and five of its last nine versus No. 1 – all under Mike Krzyzewski. Duke and Gonzaga have combined for three of the eight wins this season over teams ranked in the AP top 10 – Duke beat No. 10 Kentucky; Zags beat No. 2 UCLA and No. 5 Texas.
In this 25-year period (since the 1997-98 season), Duke (703), Kansas (697) and Gonzaga (688) have the most wins in college basketball. In that span, Gonzaga (17) and Duke (12) have won the most conference tournament titles of any team in the nation.
- Duke is ranked in the AP top 10 this week for the 700th time as a program (second most in NCAA history) and for the 559th week under Mike Krzyzewski (most in NCAA history).
- Duke has faced the nation’s No. 1 team 17 times under head coach Mike Krzyzewski and is 6-11 in those games. Duke is 5-4 against the nation’s top-ranked team since a March 26, 1988 win against Temple.
- Duke is 9-21 all-time against the AP’s No. 1 team. Duke has won four of its last seven and five of its last nine versus No. 1 — all under Coach K. Coach K’s six wins over No. 1 are third most in NCAA history and tied for the most among active coaches (John Calipari).
- Junior Wendell Moore Jr., is the nation’s only power conference player averaging 17.0+ points, 6.0+ rebounds, 5.0+ assists and shooting .500+ from the field this season (17.5/6.3/5.7/.575).
- Moore has one of the two triple-doubles in the nation this season with his 19 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists vs. Army, and is coming off a 22-point, nine-assist, eight-rebound game vs. The Citadel.
- Freshman Paolo Banchero is Duke’s leading scorer (17.8) and rebounder (8.0) after his career-high 28 points in The Citadel win.
- Banchero has 11 assists and one turnover over Duke’s last three games — had just one assist and 10 turnovers over the first three.
- Opening his career with a 22-point, seven-rebound effort to help Duke beat No. 10 Kentucky, freshman Paolo Banchero was named the ACC Freshman of the Week on Nov. 15. After a career-high 18 points from AJ Griffin in last week’s win over Lafayette, Griffin was named this week’s ACC Freshman of the Week. The duo became the 19th and 20th different Blue Devil to win the ACC Freshman of the Week award since 2013-14. In that time, a
Duke freshman has won nearly 50 percent of the time — 66 of a possible 138 weeks.
- Duke is forcing 15.0 turnovers, averaging 9.3 steals and owns a +71 margin in points-off-turnover scoring (114-43).
- Duke has made 29 more free throws than the opponents have attempted this season (76-47). Of the 47 attempts, just 18 have come in the first half. Duke is committing 12.3 fouls per game — fewest in the ACC and sixth fewest nationally.
- The Blue Devils have played three times in Las Vegas, including a 94-45 win over UNLV at T-Mobile Arena on Dec. 10, 2016 in the Neon Hoops Class behind 34 points from Grayson Allen. Current Director of Player Development Amile Jefferson had a double-double (10
points, 12 rebound) in that game, which was the first college game played at T-Mobile Arena.
- The two previous Vegas games came in 1972, falling on back-to-back nights to UNLV and Purdue at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
- Friday’s sold-out crowd is expected to set the arena’s basketball attendance record.
- From ESPN Stats and Info, Gonzaga is the first AP No. 1 team to play two Top-5, non-conference opponents in the same week of the regular season since Kentucky did it in the 1954 UKIT (Kentucky Invitational). Gonzaga is just the fifth team in the AP Poll era with multiple wins over Top-5 opponents in November, joining: 2016-17 Indiana (2), 2012-13 Duke (3), 2001-02 Ball State (2), 1989-90 Kansas (2).
- The Bulldogs are coming off an impressive 83-63 win over No. 2 UCLA in the Empire Classic Tuesday. Andrew Nembhard scored 24 points for GU, Drew Timme added 18, while Chet Holmgren had 15 points.
- Gonzaga is 6-0 for the fourth straight season, and fifth time in the last six seasons. The Bulldogs have started the last three seasons 8-0.
- The Bulldogs currently lead the nation in field goal percentage (55.6), third in scoring offense (91.5), fourth in scoring margin (31.3) and total assists (114).
- Chet Holmgren was selected as the WCC Freshman of the Week for the second straight week. Holmgren averages 13.2 points, 6.7 rebounds and shoots .714 (30-of-42) from the floor.
- The Zags are No. 1 in the Associated Press preseason poll for the 20th straight time matching San Francisco’s run from 1955-56 for the fourth-longest streak in the poll’s history. Gonzaga leads the country with 98 consecutive appearances in the AP Top 25, with Villanova second at 43.
- This game is Gonzaga’s third this week at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas after beating Central Michigan (Monday) and No. 2 UCLA (Tuesday). Led by junior Drew Timme’s 18.7 points, the Zags have four averaging in double figures. The team scores at a 91.5 points per game clip and their scoring margin of +31.5 is fifth best in the NCAA this season.
- Gonzaga is the only program in NCAA Div. 1 history to boast five straight 30- win seasons (37 in 16-17, 32 in 17-18, 33 in 18-19, 31 in 19-20, 31 in 20-21)The Zags have been the first team in the nation to reach the 30-win plateau in four of the last five seasons.
- GU has reached 30 wins in a season seven times, all coming in the last eight years; 32-3 in 2012-13, 35-3 in 2014-15, 37-2 in 2016-17, 32-5 in 2017-18, 31-2 last season, and currently 30-0.
Duke vs Gonzaga
- Duke leads the all-time series over Gonzaga, 3-1.
- Each of the games have come on neutral courts, with Duke winning twice at Madison Square Garden (2006 and 2009) and in the 2015 Elite Eight in Houston.
- The Zags won 89-87 in the 2018 Maui Invitational title game.
- Against teams from the West Coast Conference, Duke is 14-3 all-time.
How to Watch
Time: 10:30 p.m. (ET)
TV: ESPN (Dan Shulman, Jay Bilas)
Stream: Watch ESPN
Radio: Blue Devils Sports Network (David Shumate, John Roth)