Cal Basketball: Golden Bears Face No. 1 Duke at Madison Square Garden

Jeff Faraudo

CAL (4-0) vs. No. 1 DUKE (4-0)

WHERE: Madison Square Garden, New York City

WHEN: Thursday, 6 p.m.

WHAT: 2K Empire Classic semifinals (Cal will play either Georgetown or  Texas on Friday)


CAL-DUKE HISTORY: Cal leads 2-1. Duke won the most recent meeting, beating the Bears 68-53 in the 2010 NCAA tournament. Cal beat the Blue Devils in a pre-conference game in 1982-83 then upset the two-time defending national champions 82-77 in the second round of the 1993 NCAA tournament.

CAL STORYLINES: The Bears are 4-0 for the first time since 2015-16 under first-year coach Mark Fox, but are coming off their poorest performance of the young season. They had 22 turnovers and shot just 30 percent in the second half of their 54-50 win over Prairie View on Monday night. . . . Sophomore guard Matt Bradley has scored at least 16 points in every game and leads the Bears at 20.0 per game. . . . Cal is 3-25 all-time against No. 1 teams and has never faced a Duke team that was top-ranked. . . . Cal continues to shoot the ball well from deep, ranking No. 4 nationally in 3-point accuracy at 45.5 percent.

DUKE STORYLINES: Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s Blue Devils are making their second trip this season to MSG, where they opened their schedule with a 68-66 over then-No. 3 Kansas. Duke climbed to No. 2 in the AP Top-25 after that victory, then moved to No. 1 this week after Kentucky lost. Duke has won its past three games by an average margin of 32 points. . . . The Blue Devils start three freshmen and have four in their rotation, but they are led by sophomore point guard Tre Jones, who averages 17.0 points and 5.8 assists and scored 31 in last Friday’s win over Georgia State. . . . Center Vernon Carey Jr., a 6-foot-10, 270-pound freshman, provides 14.8 points and 8.3 rebounds. . . . Of course, the real star of the Blue Devils is Coach K, whose 1,136 victories are the most ever by any Division I coach. He has taken Duke to 12 Final Fours and won five national championships. . . . The Blue Devils are out-rebounding opponents by 11.2 per game and have forced an average of 21 turnovers per game. But they are shooting just 30 percent from the 3-point arc and 64 percent from the free throw line.

CAL GAME NOTES: Click here