The first thing I want to ask, is if you think playing Duke is a good thing for the basketball program? I honestly do not know. On one hand, you get to go on National TV and play against a Nationally known team. If you win, everyone will hear about it. On the other hand, if you get smoked by 20 points, is it still beneficial for it to be witnessed by the nation?
For guys like Brackins and Gilstrap, guys who are trying to do this basketball thing for a living, it's a big game. They need to do well on National TV, because the opportunities for them to be noticed are a lot smaller.
As far as how the game goes, here's what the team's Season Four Factors look like heading into the game:
Right now we have the slight edge in shooting and getting to the foul line. If this holds true for the game, it's probably going to be pretty close, as 55% of the weightings favor ISU, while 45% favor Duke. A word of caution though: ISU has acheived it's stats playing a schedule ranked the #271 most difficult; Duke has played one that's #32 right now. Since the opponent quality is much different, I'd actually give Duke the nod in eFG% over us, because they're doing it against harder teams.
Anyhow, the gameplan is simple: shoot better than Duke, turn the ball over less than them, and get as many offensive rebounds as you can. Have your best game of the year, with Brackins scoring 30, Gilstrap 20, and Lucca hitting 5 three pointers. Be badass, and go for loose balls and offensive rebounds like crazy. That way, regardless of what the score ends up, I think everyone can be satisfied with the effort shown on a bigger stage.
The game tips off at 8pm CST, on ESPN2. Duke is favored by 5 in Vegas, while it's in the double digits according to Pomeroy and Sagarin.