Duke Basketball: Blue Devils ready for SDSU in Maui opener

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

The Duke Basketball team will be taking on the San Diego State Aztecs in the First Round of the Maui Invitational late Monday afternoon.

The Duke Blue Devils will remain the No. 1 team in the country ahead of their matchup with the San Diego State Aztecs on Monday afternoon.

The Blue Devils were bumped from No. 4 to No. 1 in the AP Top-25 Poll after demolishing then No. 2 Kentucky Wildcats in the State Farm Champions Classic and beating the Army Black Knights on Veterans Day.

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In their first game as the No. 1 team in the country, Duke soundly beat Eastern Michigan but will face a much tougher test on Monday in San Diego State.

The Blue Devils will rely on their dynamic duo of freshman in R.J. Barrett and Zion Williamson who have combined to average 50.6 points per game in their first three college basketball games.

One thing to keep an eye on for Duke is the health of freshman Cam Reddish.

Reddish did not play in the second half in the win over Eastern Michigan because of a sore right groin but the freshman said he sat out due for precautionary measures. Reddish, who has averaged 16.7 points per game this season, has also been dealing with a rib injury that he suffered in the preseason and has been wearing protective padding underneath his jersey.

The San Diego State Aztecs are going to give the Blue Devils its best shot on Monday afternoon, but to make things simple the Duke has the better players and coaches and are used to playing on the big stage?

Can San Diego State overcome the pressures of playing in a big time preseason tournament against an opponent like Duke?

I don’t think they can but the first five minutes of this game should give us an idea if San Diego State is serious about pulling off the upset.

The Aztecs will compete, but at the end of the day Duke has the better players and will move on to face either Xavier of Auburn tomorrow in the winners bracket.

Duke and San Diego State are set to tipoff at approximately 5:00 pm ET on ESPN2.

PREDICTION: Duke 88, San Diego State 71

Stay tuned to Ball Durham at our Twitter, @Ball_Durham, and here at our website, balldurham.com, for complete coverage of the Duke Blue Devils vs. the San Diego State Aztecs.