Duke vs UNC-Greensboro Game Notes

Game 12 [1 AP / 1 Coaches] Duke (11-0, 0-0 ACC)  vs. UNC Greensboro (0-11, 0-2 SoCon)
Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010 • 7:00 p.m.
The Opening Tip

• Duke faces UNC Greensboro on Wednesday, Dec. 29 at the Greensboro Coliseum. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.
• The game is being televised by ESPNU with Rob Stone (play-by-play) and Jay Bilas (analyst) calling the action.
• Duke is ranked No. 1 in the AP and ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, while UNC Greensboro is unranked in both polls.
• The Blue Devils enter the contest 11-0 on the year, while the Spartans are 0-11 overall.
• Duke has won 21 consecutive games entering Wednesday’s contest.
• Duke is seeking its 38th straight win against a team outside of the traditional power conferences (Big Ten, Big East, SEC, ACC, PAC-10, Big 12).
Duke vs. UNC Greensboro• Duke is 8-0 all-time against UNC Greensboro with a 2-0 mark at the Greensboro Coliseum.
• Duke has a +37.8 margin of victory in the eight wins over UNC Greensboro.
• Duke has scored 90 or more points in five of the eight meetings between the two schools.
Duke vs. Southern Conference• Duke is 141-24 all-time against teams currently in the Southern Conference.
• The Blue Devils have won 46 straight against Southern Conference opponents. Duke’s last loss to a SoCon foe was 75-73 to Davidson on Dec. 29, 1981.
• Mike Krzyzewski has led the Blue Devils to a 46-2 record against schools currently in the Southern Conference.
Numbers Game
l Mike Krzyzewski is one win shy of moving into second place on the NCAA all-time wins list. He enters Wednesday’s game tied with Dean Smith with 879 career victories.
l The Blue Devils have won 21 consecutive games dating back to a 79-72 loss at Maryland on March 3, 2010. Duke has won 29 of its last 30 games.
l Duke has won 11 straight games at the Greensboro Coliseum. The Blue Devils’ last loss was a 95-87 overtime defeat to Maryland in the 2004 ACC Championship game.
l Mike Krzyzewski is 38-9 with the Blue Devils at the Greensboro Coliseum. Duke has won five ACC Championships under Coach K at the venue.
l Duke has won 38 consecutive games against teams outside the traditional power conferences (Big Ten, Big East, SEC, ACC, PAC 10, Big 12). Virginia Commonwealth’s 79-77 win over Duke in the 2007 NCAA Tournament was the Blue Devils’ last loss to a team from a non-power conference.
l Duke has scored 80 or more points in 10 games this season. The Blue Devils have won 25 consecutive games when scoring 80+ points. Duke is 492-46 under Coach K when scoring 80 or more points in a game.
l Seniors Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith have combined for 89 points in the last two games. Both players scored 20 or more points in the wins over Saint Louis and Elon. Singler and Smith combine to average 34.1 points per game on the year.
l Kyle Singler is averaging 20.7 points per game while shooting 50.0 percent (9-of-18) from three-point range in the last three games.
l Nolan Smith is expected to make his 50th consecutive start on Wednesday against UNC Greensboro. Duke is 44-5 (.898) during his string of starts.
l Duke is averaging 48.7 ppg. in the second half of play. The Blue Devils are shooting 55.9 percent (171-of-306) from the field, including 55.3 percent (63-of-114) from three-point range after halftime.
l The Blue Devils lead the ACC and rank third nationally in three-point field goal percentage (.436) and three-point field goals (9.6 3pg.). Duke has made 10 or more threes in a game five times and has made 49 more treys than its opposition on the year.
l Duke ranks third in the NCAA with a +25.8 scoring margin. The Blue Devils have won six games by 30 or more points.
Coach K has ...l   4 National Championships (most in league history)l   879 career wins (tied for second all-time)l   77 NCAA Tournament wins (first all-time)
l   an NCAA-record 11 season with 30+ wins
l   coached 9 National Players of the Year
      (most in NCAA history)
l   coached 9 National Defensive Players of the Year (most in NCAA history)
l   11 Final Four appearance (tied for second all-time)
l   12 ACC Tournament Championships
      (second in league history)
l   15 season ranked No. 1 in the AP poll
      (most in NCAA history)
l   coached 15 NBA Lottery picks & 21 first round picks
      (most by any coach)
l   been named National Coach of the Year 12 times
l   been named ACC Coach of the Year five times
l   3 gold medals as head coach of U.S. National Team

What do we know heading into 2011?

What do we know about this year's team as 2011 quickly approaches? Well, for starters, we know Duke is deep with the ability to place a lot of top talent onto the court. Plus, we know Duke has all the different pieces required to be a champion commencing with senior leadership. Additionally, we know Kyrie Irving is the real deal. He has proven all the hype was warranted. Unfortunately, what we do not know is when Kyrie will be available and on the court for Duke due to his right big toe injury. We know the freshman to sophomore jump is alive and well in Durham. All one has to do is look at the improvements in the play of Mason Plumlee, Andre Dawkins and Ryan Kelly. Finally, we know the team still needs to develop and improve if they are to equal the accomplishments of last season's team.

There’s no real point in discussing Kyrie’s injury because there is too much we do not know so let's take a look at each of the "things we know" and break them down:

Duke has senior leadership.

The presence of senior leadership is not widespread in today’s college basketball landscape; however that does not make it any less valuable. In fact, it makes it more valuable as Duke has what few other teams have – two proven senior leaders in All American candidates Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith.

Coach Krzyzewski discussed Singler after the victory over Oregon in Portland: "I'm very proud of Kyle. Today was a special day for him. He is truly one of the special kids I've had the opportunity to coach at any level. He has a warrior's spirit. He's all about winning and playing hard and I love the way he performs. He's never nervous. He's the same all the time. He never has a play in a game or in practice when he's not working hard. He's what I call a no-maintenance guy."

Nolan Smith is currently number eight on statistics guru Ken Pomeroy’s list of contenders for the 2011 Player-of-the-Year Award.

During the St. Louis post game press conference, Associate Head Coach Chris Collins stated, “For Nolan to get back, I mean he didn’t have a field goal against Bradley the other night, but he played a good floor game. For him to come back today and have the six rebounds, five assists but also get 22 points at the point guard position, I thought was really good.”

Last season’s run to the national championship demonstrated the utility of senior leadership as Scheyer, Thomas and Zoubek combined to be a steadying influence upon the Blue Devils during the stretch run. In 2009, North Carolina won the championship with senior Tyler Hansbrough as their key player. Kansas started two seniors and two juniors in 2008 when they won the national championship, and when the Florida Gators repeated as national champions in 2007, they started a senior and four juniors.

There seems to be a pattern here and the pattern is experience is King come March and April. The experienced leadership on Duke’s roster in 2011 will provide the Blue Devils a decided advantage once the post season arrives. Singler and Smith are two of the best players in the nation.

Duke is deep and talented.

The roster contains five McDonald’s All Americans: Kyle Singler, Nolan Smith, Mason Plumlee, Ryan Kelly and Kyrie Irving. However, other players on the roster earned accolades prior to arriving in Durham.

Freshman Tyler Thornton was the Washington D.C. Gatorade Player-of-the-Year while fellow freshman Josh Hairston was the Maryland Gatorade Player-of-the-Year. After the St. Louis game, Associate Head Coach Chris Collins commented on the play of Thornton and Hairston, “I mean we felt great when the guys came off the bench. I mean Josh Hairston and Tyler Thornton did a great job, especially in the second half. They hit us with a little run to start the half. We weren’t as happy with our energy coming out of halftime. We went to our bench and those guys played great.”

Prior to transferring to Duke, Seth Curry was the Big South Conference Freshman of the Year.

Andre Dawkins skipped his senior year of high school and enrolled at Duke early so he missed out on the opportunity to be named as a member of the various All American teams. However, he was a two-time first team NCSAA All-American.

Duke has all the requisite pieces required to be a champion.

It takes more than talented players to win a championship. It takes the right mix of players who complement each others game. A championship team needs perimeter players and inside players, jump shooters as well as players who can attack the rim, rebounding specialists and defensive specialists. Chemistry is vital to building a championship team.

Duke’s roster contains all of those individual pieces.

The freshman to sophomore jump is alive and well in Durham.

Andre Dawkins was inserted into the starting line-up for the Bradley game in response to Irving’s toe injury. Dawkins responded by scoring 28 points on 8-14 shooting on 3-pointers. After the game, Coach Krzyzewski stated, “It’s great; I hope it’s not a passing fancy. Andre has been, and I said it last week, Andre has been as consistent as anybody we’ve had this season including Kyle and Nolan and Kyrie. Andre has been solid, just really solid and was hitting with a limited amount of shots.”

Dawkins currently leads the ACC in 3-PT FG percentage at .536 and is averaging 12 points per game.

Mason Plumlee is averaging 8.3 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. Against Michigan State, in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, Mason played 35 minutes, having five steals, to go along with a 10 points, 10 rebounds double-double. Coach Krzyzewski praised his performance, “Mason had to play 35 minutes with the foul trouble we had and they kept alternating bigs and Mason got a double-double and five steals. As obviously sensational as Kyrie was, quietly Mason was outstanding, he was outstanding.”

Mason’s high scoring game so far this season was against Marquette when the 6’10 big man exploded for 25 points on 12-16 shooting from the field. Additionally, he recorded 12 rebounds and five blocked shots. Mason leads the team in blocked shots.

Ryan Kelly scored a career high 13 points in the most recent game against Elon. Kelly is a versatile player with advanced passing skills and solid shooting ability. He has demonstrated rebounding and shot blocking skills as well. As his playing time increases, his game will continue to develop. Kelly is much better now than he was as a freshman, and he will most likely be much better in March compared to December.

Seth Curry is the fourth sophomore but he is two years removed from his freshman season due to sitting out last season after his transfer to Duke from Liberty. Curry has been a little inconsistent at times this season but he has demonstrated a solid shooting stroke and excellent wing defense skills. Curry has second most steals on the team behind Singler.

This team still needs to develop in several areas.

Duke is 11-0 and the unanimous number one ranked team in the country. The ACC schedule kicks off next week when the Miami Hurricanes visit Cameron Indoor Stadium, and with the conference schedule comes games against teams, and perhaps more importantly coaches, who are intimately familiar with the Blue Devils. Things are going to get tougher in January and February before the real test of March and hopefully April arrives. This Duke team is deep and talented with the senior leadership that provides an unlimited upside, so 2011 has the potential to be another great year, but everyone knows there is a lot of work to be accomplished over the next three and a half months.

Every team has to develop their unique identity but this year’s team has been thrown a curve ball with the injury to Irving. Therefore, a need exists for the team to rediscover who they are specifically in regard to playing style. Will the team continue to apply maximum pressure on the perimeter with an emphasis on creating turnovers? Or will they revert to last season’s style, which focused upon rebounding? On offense, will they push the ball at every opportunity? Or will they look to become a dominant half court offensive team?

There are a lot of questions and the answers will be forthcoming over the next month, all one has to do is watch. Coach Krzyzewski is a master at transforming a team.

Free throw shooting is another area where the team could improve. Duke is shooting .743 as a team; however, Mason Plumlee (.417), Miles Plumlee (.611) and Josh Hairston (.538) all have room to improve. In a close game, the ability of these players to convert from the free throw line could the decisive factor.

With 2011 literally just around the corner, it is time for Duke fans to sit back and enjoy the ride as Coach Krzyzewski and the Staff lead the Blue Devils in their pursuit of excellence. No one knows how the season will end, but it is apparent the 2011 Duke Blue Devils have all the pieces in place to make a serious run toward Houston and another national championship.

BDN Monday Musings – It’s all business for Duke Basketball after the Holidays

Cheerleader of the week

Firstly, I hope all of you are having a safe and happy holiday season!  I hope too, that all of you caught your breath for the basketball season will now get into the meat of the schedule. 

First things first

Before we can discuss the coming ACC season we must first address Wednesday nights game with UNC Greensboro in Greensboro Coliseum.  The game, itself, will be a walk in the park for the nations top rated team.  Coach Krzyzewski will use thes game to help his troops shake off the holiday rust, so expect the Blue Devils to be focused by games end.  Not to be lost or under the radar is the fact that Mike Krzyzewski will be in sole possession of the second most NCAA wins in history at nights end.  It's a heck of an accomplishment for sure, but Krzyzewski has his eyes set on another championship and he knows it will not be easy for this seasons team to meet lofty expectations for they are through the roof.  That said, Coach will once again downplay the history making moment where he officially passes former North Carolina legend Dean Smith.  Tickets are still available and it is a great chance to see Coach K and Team Blue Devil for many fans in the central and western part of the state.  You can be a part of history should you choose to go to the game.

Kyrie Irving

I've chosen to remain positive with concerns to KyrieIrving returning to the court for Duke this season, but in truth nobody seems to know for sure what will happen.  Everybody has an opinion, some justified, some just plain silly.  All I can say is that I hope he comes back but until there is news of a firm plan, it's time to start looking at the Blue Devils without Irving.  About the only fact I can pass on is that Irving and the other Duke players spent Christmas at home with their families and they were to return today.  Irving will likely have another look at his injury any day now and the team tending him will go from there.

Here comes the ACC season

The ACC Basketball season begins in earnest in January where the Blue Devils will face seven conference foes with Alabama-Birmingham and St. John's mixed in.  Duke has two home games to start off the ACC season with Miami and Maryland.  They then travel to Tallahassee to take on Florida State in a game the pundits are already circling as a good possibility of an upset.  They then face Virginia at home before two in state road game affairs with N.C. State and Wake Forest.  Duke will be looking for a bit of revenge against the Pack, but their opponent will be at full strength then.  The Deacons have much better talent than their record indicates, so this could be a trap game.  Heck, it's the ACC, so they could all be trap games.  By the end of January, fans will realize the road will indeed be a tough one and that Duke will continue to take everybody's best shot.

Reality check

Duke fans wouldn't trade places with anyone.  After all, they are undefeated and ranked #1 in the nation and have Coach K at the helm.  Earlier in the season Coach Krzyzewski said this team would have to make their own journey but a lot of fans continued to whisper undefeated as did the media labeling Duke clearly the best.  A look around the college basketball landscape shows that there are a lot of good teams and those teams are capable of beating the Blue Devils on a given night.  In short, anyone thinking this team will go undefeated is fooling themselves.

On the other hand

The Blue Devils will learn a lot about themselves when adversity continues to set in.  They are currently dealing with the fact Kyrie Irving will be out for a bit if not the season.  The players were sent into the break knowing they'd have to elevate their games, so the key thing to watch will be continued development with concerns to chemistry.  In short, Duke is looking for certain players to step up their game and become consistent night in and night out.

Glaxo Smith Kline Invitational

Our members know that the Duke staff has been on the road checking out the nations top prospects while forming their wish list for the future.  In the past the Glaxo Invitational has always been a great event where it is literally filled to capacity.  The event as always, takes place at Raleigh Broughton High School and the action for the men begins on December 28th.  Broughton is the alma mater of former Dukie Shavlik Randolph and the legendary Pistol Pete Maravich.  Originally, Duke had two kids to watch closely.  But one of them, Tyler Adams backed off his commitment and now plans his future with Georgetown University.  Marshall Plumlee remains a future Duke and he will lead Christ School against Brandon, Mississippi and the aforementioned Adams on December 28th at 7:20.  You better get there early to see the two in action and if you cannot make it, BDN will be there to fill you in on the action where we'll eye a couple of other kids as well.

High School Hoops 2011 Edition No. 3

The holiday season is upon us and arriving with it are numerous high school basketball tournaments including the Iolani Classic in Hawaii, the City of Palms Classic in Florida, and the Chick fil A Classic in South Carolina. In this edition of High School Hoops, Blue Devil Nation keeps you updated on all the tournament action by providing links galore to game recaps, box scores and video clips. [private]

At the Iolani Classic, in Honolulu, Quinn Cook was named the tournament Most Valuable Player as Oak Hill won the tournament with a 4-0 record. He scored 22 points and dished out five assists as Oak Hill defeated Montverde 58-44 in the championship game. Here is a link to another championship game recap.

Cook led Oak Hill over Moanalua 108-33 with a 17 points 16 assists double-double performance in opening round action. Here is a video clip of the game action.

In the quarterfinals, Cook scored 31 points and dished out seven assists as Oak Hill defeated host Iolani Raiders 81-53. Oak Hill defeated Dr. Phillips, 81-51, in the semifinals.

The City of Palms Classic in Ft. Myers, Florida provided plenty of action for Duke commits and recruiting targets. Austin Rivers, Marshall Plumlee, Shabazz Muhammad, Alex Murphy and Kaleb Tarczewski were all in action at this tournament. Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski and Associate head Coach Chris Collins were present in Florida checking out the prospects.

Austin Rivers headed into this prestigious tournament looking to earn a championship as Winter Park’s previous best finish was 3rd Place. However, it wasn’t to be as Winter Park finished in 4th Place after losing to Milton, 63-62, in the semifinals, and to Mater Dei, 84-66, in the 3rd Place game.

Rivers was named to the All Tournament team after scoring 28, 42, 25 and 28 points in four games for an average of 30.75 points per game. Winter Park defeated Riverside Academy, 75-63, in the opening round and Dwyer, 76-64, in the quarterfinals.

Christ School won two games and lost two games in the tournament. Marshall Plumlee recorded 11 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks double-double in a 77-62 victory over Christ The King. In a 59-54 loss to Mater Dei, Plumlee scored nine points, while he scored five points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked six shots in a 73-61 win over Whitney Young. In their fourth tournament game, an 86-77 loss to Dwyer, Plumlee scored 12 points.

Plumlee also won the tournament dunk contest. Here is a video clip of his performance.

In games last week, Plumlee recorded two double-doubles with 14 points and 10 rebounds, and 11 points and 14 rebounds. Christ School won both games.

Shabazz Muhammad and Bishop Gorman HS played three games at the City of Palms winning once and losing twice. Muhammad scored 19 points as Bishop Gorman defeated North Port 62-48 in their opening game. Bishop Gorman lost to Dwyer, 72-63, and to Riverside Academy, 59-51. Muhammad scored 31 and 29 points, respectively, in those two losses.

St. Mark’s played two games in the Signature Series division of the City of Palms tournament. They dropped their first game, 65-41, to Academy of New Church. Kaleb Tarczewski scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds, while Alex Murphy was held to four points. Murphy was whistled for four personal fouls so his playing time was limited to 22 minutes. In the second game, St. Mark’s defeated Westchester Country Day, 81-36. Murphy scored 18 points and Tarczewski added 13. St. Mark’s outscored Westchester 51-10 in the second half.

At the Chick fil A Classic in Blythewood, South Carolina, Benedictine struggled to a 4th Place finish in the Classic I Bracket. Benedictine went 1-2 at the tournament with Mike Gbinije scoring 18, 22 and 21 points in the three games.

In the opening round (quarterfinals), Benedictine defeated Charlotte Christian 53-41. In the semifinals, United Faith defeated Benedictine 71-61, and in the 3rd Place game, Benedictine lost to Norcross 54-43.

Moving on from the tournament action to some general links, here is a report from last week on St. Mark's teammates, and Duke recruiting targets, Alex Murphy and Kaleb Tarczewski. Scroll down to the middle of the article to find the germane verbiage.

Here is a nice article from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Coach Krzyzewski's visit to observe Tony Parker, while the Las Vegas Sun has a similar article on Coach Roy Williams' watching Shabazz Muhammad.

The Chicago Tribune weighs in with this article on 2013 prospect Jabari Parker. Parker had a nine points, five rebounds, two blocks and two steals stat line as Simeon routed Lew Wallace 85-38 on Thursday night. [/private]

BDN checks in with Duke’s Andre Dawkins

Photo - Mark Watson, Blue Devil Nation

DURHAM - One of the players who is expected to pick up their game in the absence of Kyrie Irving is Andre Dawkins.  The sophomore got some major minutes against Elon and had a nice overall game.  BDN caught up to Dawkins for a one on one interview where he shared his thoughts on the coming ACC battles and more ...

BDN Checks In with Duke WR commit Blair Holliday

In recent years, Duke has had a lot of success in recruiting and developing talented wide receivers in Durham, most notably All-ACC performers Eron Riley, Donovan Varner, and Conner Vernon. Current wide receivers coach Matt Lubick hopes to continue that trend, and secured a commitment back in August from Blair Holliday, a 6’3” wide receiver from Westlake Village, California. With a great frame and a breakout senior season, Blair looks like he will become another great receiving weapon for the Duke offense. Blue Devil Nation checked in with Blair just before Coach Lubick watched Blair play in his California sectional championship game.

BDN: It looks like Oaks Christian has had a very good year; can you give us a quick recap of your season so far and update on what’s new with you?
Actually, tonight we’re in the CIF sectional championship game at home, so I’m excited for the game tonight. I think Coach Lubick is going to be out here, the wide receivers coach there at Duke, is coming. Last week, Coach Roper was over at my house for an in-house visit and then January 15 – that weekend – I’m taking my official visit out to Durham. I mean, my senior season has been going great – better than I expected. A lot of people didn’t think we’d get to the point that we are now, being in a tougher league, losing the guys that we did last year. But we’re in the CIF championship tonight and hopefully we’ll come away with the W.

BDN: Can you talk a little about your visit with Coach Roper and where the coaches think you fit with the Duke program?
Basically, when Coach Roper came over, he explained to me the offense and how it functions. They run the – I forget what exactly the technical term is – but they run a slot receiver and two outside receivers. He said that when I come in, he’ll want me to learn both slot and outside receiver. He explained to me the breakdown that basically the X gets most of the balls in their offense and that at Duke since they do thrown the ball a lot their rotations with the wide receivers – there’s a lot of rotations. Basically he was hoping I could come in and get some playing time as a freshman, next year. Like I said, he told me that since the receivers usually get a majority of the balls, there’s a lot of – I’m not going to say injuries, but their wide receivers are beat up, so rotations are continuous in their system.

BDN: How much follow have you been able to follow Duke and what are your thoughts on the program?
I wasn’t really able to watch many games, it was difficult for me to find them, but I’d watch the Sportscenter recap or ESPN mobile scores on my phone. I saw a lot of games where they lost by a touchdown or it came down to a couple plays, which just shows me that the little things that lost them some close games – those things can be fixed. I’ve been looking at the recruiting class, the commits that have committed to Duke and it seems like they’re bringing in some real good quality guys. The future is bright and with the guys that they’re bringing in ,w hich I’ll be meeting a few in a couple weeks when I go out there. It looks like our future is promising.

BDN: You’ve got the championship game tonight, but what’s next for you?

The championship game tonight, then I start basketball season. During basketball season I’m just going to focus on weight lifting, maybe some speed training on the side. Little things that will get me in shape and will get me ready for when I get out there in July and start my college career.

BDN: Thanks, Blair. Good luck tonight.
Thanks a lot.

Oaks Christian defeated Westlake 29-28 to win their CIF championship and finish at 12-2. Blair scored the game winning 2-point conversion late in the fourth quarter, while also hauling in 6 passes for 79 yards. UCLA and Colorado have recently expressed interest in Holliday, but Blair confirmed  to BDN that his only scheduled official visit will be to Duke in January. We will check back in with Blair after his official visit, as signing day approaches.