Tennessee is participating in the Maui Invitational for just the second time, as the program finished fourth back in 2004. First-year head coach Cuonzo Martin has led the Vols to back-to-back victories to open this new season, and the most recent triumph came on Wednesday over ULM by an 85-62 final. Obviously, the level of competition spikes significantly today for the Vols, members of the SEC.
As for Duke, it has never lost a game as part of this event, posting a 12-0 record en route to four titles. The most recent Maui Invitational crown for the Blue Devils came in 2007 over Marquette. Mike Krzyzewski recently passed his mentor, Bob Knight, to move into first place on the Division I all-time wins list, and his Blue Devils are 4-0 this season after notching an 82-69 victory over Davidson on Friday. Before the ACC season begins, Duke will face some tough tests, including one against Ohio State later this month.
The all-time series between Tennessee and Duke is deadlocked at 7-7, and the programs haven't met since 1980.
Trae Golden has been the top scorer for Tennessee in both of its games thus far. After pouring in 29 points in the season opener against UNC Greensboro, Golden netted 17 points against ULM last Wednesday to help his team earn the 23-point victory. More than just a scorer, the standout guard also dished out 11 assists in that affair, more than half of the team's total. Skylar McBee netted 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting from three-point range off the bench, and Cameron Tatum posted 13 points. As for Jeronne Maymon, he finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Tennessee earned a commanding 46-27 rebounding advantage in the affair, including 17-3 on the offensive glass, as well as a 14-6 edge in points from the foul line.
Duke has achieved tremendous offensive balance thus far, as five double-digit scorers have helped the squad turn out 82.3 ppg while holding opponents to 67.3 ppg. Seth Curry leads the way with 15.8 ppg on the strength of his 10- of-17 shooting from three-point range, and he is tops in assists (3.0 apg) as well. Austin Rivers, a dynamic freshman, provides 13.3 ppg, and Ryan Kelly adds 12,8 ppg. In the victory over Davidson last time out, Rivers and Curry scored 17 points apiece, while Mason Plumlee tallied 16 points and 11 rebounds. The Blue Devils connected on 53.7 percent of their field goal attempts in that affair and dominated the game at the defensive end of the court, forcing 17 turnovers while limiting the Wildcats to 38.7 percent field goal efficiency.