Today, every sports fan will have their eye locked on the television. Not for the Pro Bowl but for a showdown in New York City. The No. 5 ranked Duke Blue Devils will take on the St. John’s Red Storm and are hoping to notch head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s 1,000th career victory. It will be his team that has to step up and execute in order to accomplish the goal. Duke is currently fifth in the ACC (16-2, 4-2) and looking up in the standings at Virginia, Notre Dame, UNC and Syracuse. Ironically enough, they play Virginia and Notre Dame after this game. Normally games like this can be viewed as a trap game. However, Duke should be ready to play.
Attaining a win may not be as easy as everyone is making it out to be. Sure the Blue Devils come into the game ranked No. 5 in the nation, but St. John’s has a great coach as well. Steve Lavin is responsible for the turnaround of the Red Storm. He is bringing the excitement back into Madison Square Garden and has his team eighth in the Big East (13-5, 2-4). If they win on Sunday, this could be a momentum swing in the right direction and a confidence booster for the upcoming game against Providence.
Players to watch: Duke- Who else should you watch for other than Jahlil Okafor. The freshman comes in averaging 18.8 points per game along with 8.9 boards. The kid is a machine, but I’ve got my eyes on Quinn Cook in this game. Cook comes in averaging 14.2 ppg, which is second on the team along with a 38 percent three-point field goal percentage on the year. MSG is notorious for guards to have stand out performances like Kemba Walker and Jonny Flynn did in the past. Cook is poised for a big game.
St. John’s- Sticking with the guard theme, the player to keep your eye on for the Red Storm is D’Angelo Harrison. Harrison is a 6’4” senior guard and leads his team in scoring, averaging 19.5 ppg. He also pulls down 5.7 boards a game which is third best on the team. He only trails Chris Obekpa who is a 6’10” forward averaging 7.9 rebounds and Sir’Dominic Pointer who is averaging 7.2 boards. Harrison should continue his scoring ways against the Blue Devils, especially considering the venue and magnitude of the game.
The Pick: It’s hard to go against Coach K when things are on the line. The man knows how to pull out victories in any situation. He does a good job of keeping his players in the moment and focusing on the task at hand. With the combo of Okafor, Cook, Jefferson and Jones, I’m picking Duke to win.
*Section Photo credit to Alex Goodlett, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Mark Dolejs, USA Today Sports.