The Utah Runnin' Utes men's basketball team will play reigning national champion Duke in Madison Square Garden on Dec. 19, 2015 in a nationally-televised game on ESPN or ESPN2. Utah and Duke have played once previously in Madison Square Garden, with the Utes beating the Blue Devils 78-75 in the first round of the 1970 National Invitational Tournament. It will be the fifth meeting all-time between the Runnin' Utes and the Blue Devils. Utah is 1-3 all-time against the Blue Devils with all of the games played at neutral sites. In addition to last year's loss in the Sweet Sixteen, the Utes played Duke in the 1966 NCAA Tournament--falling 79-77 in the consolation game. The first game of the series was a 63-52 Duke win in the Dixie Classic in Raleigh, N.C., in the 1959-60 season.
"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. We think it will be a terrific opportunity and test before we start conference play less than two weeks later," said Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak, whose Utes were edged 63-57 by the Blue Devils in the NCAA South Regional semifinal in Houston on Mar. 27. "This will be a marquee preseason game and the national exposure for our program will be invaluable."
Utah has really improved their nonconference schedule the last two seasons, last season facing Kansas, San Diego State, UNLV, and Wichita State. Utah basketball has not announced their full schedule, but the addition of Duke gives Utah a huge boost in their nonconference schedule for the 2015-16 season.