Duke basketball: Detailing matchup against Arkansas in ACC/SEC Challenge

Duke basketball forward Kyle Filipowski (Photo by Isaiah Vazquez/Getty Images)
Duke basketball forward Kyle Filipowski (Photo by Isaiah Vazquez/Getty Images) /

The Duke basketball and Arkansas matchup should be one of the best of the season.

Arkansas will host the Duke basketball program in the inaugural ACC vs. SEC Challenge this season and despite the widespread desire for a matchup between the Blue Devils and Kentucky, this unexpected could be a battle of Top-15 teams.

Duke will step into enemy territory in Bud Walton Arena, where it will undoubtedly face a rowdy sold-out crowd.

Historically, the two teams have met four times, with both schools winning two games.

One of the more significant encounters was the National Championship in 1994, which Arkansas emerged victorious by defeating Duke, 76-72.

However, this year’s edition of the game will feature some high-end talent, including multiple lottery picks, and fans should anticipate a strategic battle of matchups, lineup adjustments, and tactical X-and-O’s.

Duke will be led by potential preseason All-American Kyle Filipowski, who is currently still rehabbing after undergoing double arthroscopic hip surgery shortly after the season as Jon Scheyer’s team returns four starters and posses a high powered recruiting class.

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Filipowski led the Blue Devils in both scoring and rebounding and aims to have an even greater impact in both departments.

Another key player and potential All-American is Tyrese Proctor, the sophomore Australian point guard.

He left a lasting impression on NBA scouts with his outstanding performance in the latter part of the season for Duke. The 6-foot-5 orchestrator will be one of the top point guards in college basketball next season and should see his role increase in every situation.

Mark Mitchell and Jeremy Roach are the other two returning starters who aim to make a similar impact as last season.

Roach, who was the second leading scorer and the sole captain for the Blue Devils, made a significant decision to return to Duke after testing the NBA Draft waters.

His experience, scoring ability, and strong on-ball defense will be valuable assets while Mitchell, the versatile forward, is expected to contribute with scoring, defensive versatility, and the length necessary for the renowned Duke defense.

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Barring any last-minute additions to the roster, Duke’s sole uncertainty lies at the rim.

They will heavily rely on Kyle Filipowski, Christian Reeves, Ryan Young, and Sean Stewart to step up and anchor the interior defense.

The performance of the freshmen, Jared McCain, Caleb Foster, TJ Power, and Stewart, will be crucial as they will need to make shots and play solid defense against the significantly more experienced Arkansas team in what is proven to be one of the most hostile environments in college basketball.

Overall, Arkansas should prove to be a formidable opponent for Duke as they boast a talented, athletic, tough, and highly experienced lineup.

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The Razorbacks have added eight new players, six of whom joined through the transfer portal and two incoming freshmen as head coach Eric Mussleman is a skilled team builder who has the necessary experience to effectively manage the team’s roles and allocate minutes.

Jon Scheyer is aiming to make a significant impact in his second season as the head coach of Duke after he lined up an impressive non-conference schedule, providing an opportunity to witness the true potential of this talented squad.

A late November matchup has the potential to be an exciting battle and provide Duke with a valuable Quad-1 opportunity.

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