Sweet 16 rematch next season: Duke-Utah happening at MSG

Duke beat Utah 63-57 in the South regional semifinal in March. (USATSI)

One of the most anticipated Sweet 16 games from last season’s NCAA Tournament is getting a regular-season rematch.

Duke and Utah announced they’ll meet in New York City next season (Dec. 19) at Madison Square Garden. The game fulfills Mike Krzyzewski’s annual self-imposed obligation to play at least one game in the greater New York area as a substitute for a true road game.

At least the opponent will be viable, as is usually the case with Duke foes in these settings. Utah was the No. 4 seed that fell in the regional semifinals to the eventual champs. Who won’t be playing: Utah’s likely first-round pick, Delon Wright, who graduated, and Duke’s early departures — Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow and Tyus Jones.

The Utes bring back a big-time big man in Jakob Poeltl, in addition to Brandon Taylor and Jordan Loveridge. Duke again will boast an impressive freshman class led by Luke Kennard, Derryck Thornton, Brandon Ingram and Chase Jeter. Plus, Grayson Allen, Matt Jones and Amile Jefferson are back.

“This is an opportunity to play one of the elite programs in college basketball in one of the most recognizable basketball venues in the country,” Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said. “We think it will be a terrific opportunity and test before we start conference play less than two weeks later.”

The only other time Duke and Utah have played at MSG? 1970. Utah won 78-75 in the NIT.

We’ve got the Devils at No. 6 and the Utes at 21 in our offseason rankings.

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