Duke and Butler to meet again in regular season
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) – Duke and Butler will meet again next season, eight months after their classic national championship game.
The two schools will play Dec. 4 in what is sure to be a highly anticipated regular-season game at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J. The Blue Devils won their fourth NCAA title in Indianapolis on April 5 by beating the fan favorite Bulldogs 61-59, as Gordon Hayward’s potential winning shot from halfcourt bounced off the rim.
“It’s an honor for our program to be invited to play in the Izod Center in December,” Butler coach Brad Stevens said in a release. “Obviously, the challenge will be great, as we have a tremendous amount of respect for Duke.”
The Blue Devils have a long, successful history at the arena, going 18-1 and winning five NCAA regional finals there. Butler has never played at the Meadowlands, which is losing the NBA’s New Jersey Nets as a tenant.
“Given the outstanding game played between Duke and Butler in the 2010 NCAA championship, there will be added interest in next year’s matchup. Surely, Coach Stevens will have his team ready to perform at a high level,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “We look forward to what will be a significant challenge.”
The game will be televised by ESPN.
Both teams will go into the season among the favorites to return to the championship game. The Blue Devils return stars Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith but must replace senior starters Jon Scheyer, Brian Zoubek and Lance Thomas.
Hayward declared early for the NBA draft but has not signed with an agent and could rejoin Shelvin Mack, Matt Howard and Ronald Nored in the Bulldogs’ lineup.