They call it “we want Bama’ syndrome during the college football season. Well one of the stars of the undefeated Michigan Wolverines basketball team wants Duke in a big way. Michigan leading scorer Ignas Brazdeikis called out the Blue Devils Friday afternoon, according to 97.1 The Ticket. Duke may not be No. 1 come Monday when the new polls arrive, but the Blue Devils are the only team ahead of the Wolverines right now. He wants a shot at Duke, and specifically Zion Williamson.
“They got that No. 1 team and that No. 1 hype, and we feel like we’re definitely better than them,” Brazdeikis said. “ … I’m not scared about no competition. I’ll guard anyone.”
The freshman has a team-high 15.6 points per game to go along with 5.4 rebounds. Williamson, a freshman sensation at Duke, has 21.4 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. Williamson’s season has the nation’s attention while Brazdeikis is quietly becoming a star for undefeated Michigan.
Michigan is 17-0 and No. 2 in the country heading into a Saturday game at Wisconsin. Should Michigan win, combined with Duke’s recent loss to unranked Syracuse, the Wolverines are expected to rise to No. 1 status in the Associated Press voting.
“That’s kind of why they’re 17-0. Seventeen teams have tried, 17 have failed,” Northwestern coach Chris Collins said after this week’s game. “I think only two teams have come within 10 points of them. When you play 17 games and 15 of them are double-figure games, you’ve got a real good thing going. It’s probably the most well-rounded team (I have seen from Michigan). It’s a really good mix of guys who know their roles.”
Meanwhile, Duke can get back on track in a big way with a win over Virginia. Virginia is undefeated heading into a battle with Duke Saturday evening in Cameron Indoor Stadium, but checks in as a 3.5-point dog so far.
ANN ARBOR — Michigan and Duke are currently battling in the polls. Ignas Brazdeikis would like to see the teams meet on the court.
“I would love to play Duke, along with a bunch of (my teammates),” the Michigan freshman said Friday when asked if he ever thinks about how the Wolverines would match up with the No. 1 team in the country.
“They’ve got that No. 1 team, that No. 1 hype, and we feel like we’re definitely better than them. We’re just looking forward to playing every single team, and we’re not scared of no competition. We want to play them all.”
Michigan, No. 2 in the AP poll, could be in line to replace Duke in Monday’s rankings. The Blue Devils lost earlier this week. Michigan plays at Wisconsin on Saturday.
Brazdeikis, who leads Michigan with 15.6 points per game, is as confident and outspoken as they come. He said he felt Michigan was worth of a No. 1 ranking as soon as preseason practices began. “That’s the kind of competitor I am,” he said.
Duke has three players who could be selected among the top-five picks in the next NBA draft: Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, and Cam Reddish. Brazdeikis has played with and against Barrett growing up in Canada, and has played against the other two as well.
If the two programs did meet in the NCAA Tournament? “I would love to guard Zion,” Brazdeikis said. “I’ll guard anyone.”