Duke vs Georgia State 12 009

Duke rolls past Boston College – Coach K statements

Duke came to play today against Boston College, coasting to a 89-68 win, pushing their season record to 24-3.  Duke played lock down defense in the first half, which included a 12-0 run, and they never looked back.  Rasheed Sulaimon scored a career-high 27 points and in the process probably took a lead for ACC Freshman of the Year.  Interestingly, one of his primary competitors for that award is BC’s Oliver Hanlan, and today Sulaimon drew the defensive assignment on a number of occasions on Hanlan, and helped hold him to 12 points.

Mason Plumlee contributed another double-double as well with 19 points and 15 rebounds; he continues to lead the Atlantic Coast Conference in the prestigious category.  Plumlee also dished out a team high 4 assists, two of those coming to Quinn Cook on consecutive trips.  One has to think Plumlee might let his point guard know he owes him a return favor. I kid, I kid.

The bottom line is that Boston College simply had no chance in this game.  But Coach K still took time to praise the Eagles while pointing ahead to a week in which the team must play in Charlottesville in a 9:00 game on Thursday night and then return home the same evening to begin preparing for the much-anticipated rematch with Miami on Saturday.  The Blue Devils will have less than 48 hours rest for that showdown, so the coach’s concern is understandable.

Duke played its 203rd game as a Top 10 team today and they remain undefeated in Cameron this season.  We’ll have more coming your way but until then, check out Coach K’s opening statements via Blue Devil Nation.

duke vs bellarmine 055

Boston College at Duke Game Notes

Duke vs. Boston College

Sunday, February 24, 2013 • 2:00 p.m. • ACC Network

Durham, N.C. • Cameron Indoor Stadium (9,314)

 

ACC Network

Play-by-Play: Tim Brant

Analyst: Cory Alexander

 

 

Blue Devil IMG Sports Network

Play-by-Play: Bob Harris

Analyst: John Roth

Sirius – 94; XM – 191

 

The Opening Tip

• The Blue Devils are ranked No. 6 in the AP Poll and in the USA Today Coaches Poll. Duke is 105-29 all-time when ranked No. 6 in the AP Poll.

• The Blue Devils have been ranked in the AP Top 10 for 109 consecutive weeks. Duke had been ranked in the top five for 13 straight weeks prior to this week’s No. 6 ranking.

• Duke is playing its 203rd straight game as a top-10 team in the AP poll. Duke is 169-33 in that span.

• Following Thursday’s win at Virginia Tech, head coach Mike Krzyzewski moved into third place for most wins by a coach at one school with 877. He is two wins why of tying Dean Smith for second on that list.

• Duke is 13-0 in Cameron Indoor Stadium this season with three home games remaining. Duke has put together 16 undefeated seasons in Cameron, including nine under Coach K, the last of which came in 2010-11.

 

The Last Time Out

• Seth Curry hit 5-of-6 three-pointers and scored 22 points to lead Duke past Virginia Tech 88-56 in Blacksburg, Va., Thursday.

• Curry sparked a three-point shooting barrage in which Duke finished 12-of-17 from beyond the arc and five different players hit a three-pointer. The .706 three-point shooting percentage was the highest by any visiting team in Division I basketball this season.

• Mason Plumlee recorded a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds while also dishing out five assists and blocking three shots. Rasheed Sulaimon and Josh Hairston also scored in double figures with 17 and 11 points, respectively.

• Duke had just five turnovers while dishing out 15 assists.

• The win was Duke’s largest over an ACC opponent since an 82-50 win over North Carolina on March 6, 2010.

 

Numbers Game

• Duke, ranked No. 6 in the latest AP Poll, has been ranked in the top 10 of the poll 109 consecutive weeks. The last time Duke was not ranked in the top 10 was Nov. 19, 2007.

• Duke is one of only three teams in the top 10 of the Associated Press Poll (No. 6), Coaches Poll (No. 6), NCAA RPI (No. 1) and Strength of Schedule index (No. 1). Miami and Louisville are the other two teams ranked among the top 10.

• Duke leads the ACC in three-point percentage (.414) and three-point field goals per game (7.7 3pg.). The .414 clip would rank as the third-best in school history. Duke has made 10 or more three-point field goals nine times this season.

• Head coach Mike Krzyzewski passed Adolph Rupp for the third-most career victories at one school. Krzyzewski is 877-235 (.789) all-time as Duke’s head coach. Krzyzewski is two wins shy of tying Dean Smith for second all-time at one school and 34 shy of all-time leader Jim Boeheim.

• Coach K recorded his 950th career win on Thursday at Virginia Tech. He is the winningest coach in Division I men’s basketball with 40 more wins than the next closest coach.

• Duke is one of only five teams in the country with two players averaging at least 17.0 points per game. Both Mason Plumlee (17.5 ppg.) and Seth Curry (17.1 ppg.) average over 17.0 points per game.

• Duke has outscored opponents 81.0 to 61.1 at Cameron Indoor Stadium this season on the way to a perfect 13-0 home record. Duke has defeated 11 opponents by double figures in Cameron this season.

• Duke owns a 1.39:1 assist-to-turnover ratio, which would best the school record of 1.32:1 set by the 2000-01 NCAA Championship team.

• Mason Plumlee needs just one more rebound to reach 1,000 for his career. Plumlee would be the eighth Blue Devil to reach that mark and the third with 1,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 150 blocks.

• Seth Curry has scored 20+ points in eight of Duke’s 13 ACC games. He has scored in double figures in all but two of those games and averages 17.9 points per game in league play to rank third in the ACC. Curry is also tops in conference play in made three-pointers per game (3.2) and third with a .456 three-point shooting percentage.

• Josh Hairston has scored in double figures in back-to-back games while shooting 8-of-11 from the floor. Hairston has four career double-figure scoring games.

 

Duke-Boston College Series History

• Duke and Boston College have met 17 times heading into Sunday’s game with the first meeting between the two schools coming on Dec. 21, 1979.

• The Blue Devils lead the all-time series 15-2, including an 11-1 ledger since Boston College joined the ACC.

• Duke has won six straight and 14 of the last 15 games in the series.

• Mike Krzyzewski is 14-2 at Duke against the Eagles, including a 6-0 record in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

• Eight of the 12 games since Boston College joined the ACC have been decided by 10 points or less.

• In the first meeting between the teams in 2013, Duke scored six straight points in the final two minutes to win, 62-61. Duke trailed 61-56 with 1:58 remaining until Quinn Cook hit a three-pointer and Mason Plumlee hit three free throws in the final minute.

 

RIC_1821

Preview — Duke vs. Boston College (round 2)

It was just two weeks ago that Duke braved three feet of snow to battle Boston College at their Chestnut Hill, MA home. Forced to fly to Boston the day of the game (instead of the usual day before) and to miss their game day shootaround, the Blue Devils started off a bit discombobulated and never really shook it off, edging the underdog home team by a mere point, 62-61, on a Mason Plumlee free throw with 24 seconds remaining. Boston College’s return trip to Cameron comes this Sunday at 2pm.

The Eagles sprung a surprise defensive scheme on Duke, triple-teaming Mason Plumlee pretty much every RIC_1821time he touched the ball, and it seemed to throw Duke out of its offensive comfort zone. Still, Mason scored 19 points and ripped down 10 boards, hitting 7 of 10 free throws, including 3 of 4 in the last minute to bring Duke from down 2 to up 1. Seth Curry was the only other Duke player in double-figures, scoring 18. Quinn Cook had 9 points on 3 for 5 shooting from behind the arc, including a huge three-pointer with less than two minutes to play to cut a Duke deficit from 61-56 to 61-59, setting the stage for Mason’s charity stripe heroics. However, Boston College also harassed Cook into 4 turnovers against only 3 assists.

For BC, the top performers were the team’s best two players: 6’8″ sophomore Ryan Anderson scored 17 and pulled 6 rebounds, and 6’4″ freshman Olivier Hanlan scored 20 points, including 11 of 12 from the free throw line. For the season, Anderson averages 15.1 ppg and 8.4 rpg, while Hanlan scores 14.6 ppg, along with 4.1 rpg, 2.4 apg, and 1.2 steals. BC also gets 10.0 ppg from 6’2″ freshman Joe Rahon and 9.8 ppg from 6’3″ sophomore and long range bomber Lonnie Jackson. The rest of BC’s rotation includes three more sophomores, 6’5″ Patrick Heckman, 7’0″ Dennis Clifford (who started against Duke), and 6’7″ Eddie Odio (who had two monster dunks against Duke but didn’t do much else), along with 6’10” grad student Andrew Van Nest and 6’6 junior Danny Rubin.

Since the Duke game at Chestnut Hill, Boston College has won two of three games, beating Wake Forest and Maryland at home and losing a close one at Florida State. BC’s overall record is 12-14, with a 4-9 ACC record. Pomeroy rates them 108th in the country (55th on offense and 191st on defense); Sagarin has them 107th, and they’re 149th in the RPI.

As is somewhat typical for such a young team, BC is a much better team at home than they are on the road. At home, Boston College has 3 wins against 4 losses, including three very close losses to upper echelon teams (they lost to Duke by 1, Miami by 1, and NC State by 5, as well as by 12 to UNC), which is pretty respectable for a team that’s probably a year or two away from an NCAA bid. On the road it’s a different story, however, as the Eagles are winless in six tries. Playing in Cameron Indoor will likely be a significant challenge for them.

Boston College’s identity this season has more or less been defined by poor defense and shooting tons of threes, but they showed neither of these characteristics the first game against Duke. It’s not clear which was more of a surprise two weeks ago, BC’s smother-Mason strategy or their decision to attempt only 11 threes (making just two), instead of their usual 21 per game. Perhaps Duke played outstanding perimeter D, but Boston College scored less than 10% of its points from the bonusphere, when they usually get almost 32%. For the season, BC leads the ACC both in three-point attempts and in the percentage of their points from threes. It will be interesting to see whether they repeat their strategies or if they revert to their normal game this Sunday.

On the Duke side, the team is coming off a strong 32 point victory over Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. Mason Plumlee atoned for his pedestrian effort in a loss at Maryland by pulling down 12 rebounds to go with 13 points, a game-high 5 assists, and 3 blocks, along with the most inspired defense we’ve seen from him in weeks. Mason’s first rebound against BC will give him 1000 for his career, to go with 1000+ points and 150+ blocks, joining Mike Gminski and Shelden Williams as the only Duke players to accomplish this feat (at least since they started keeping blocks as a statistic). Plumlee also made Academic All American for the 2nd consecutive season, joining Gminski and Jim Spanarkel as Duke players with that distinction.

Seth Curry is on a roll, having scored 25 against Maryland and 22 against Virginia Tech (19 in the first half). Rasheed Sulaimon scored 17 against the Hokies, and Josh Hairston scored 11 for the 2nd game in a row, and he plus Amile Jefferson (essentially Ryan Kelly’s two-headed replacement), netted 15 and 8 in 38 minutes. Alex Murphy had 8 points in 11 minutes.

Quinn Cook got into early foul trouble against Virginia Tech and only had 7 points. It will be interesting to watch Quinn against BC (and beyond), because in some ways he seems to be the player most affected by Ryan Kelly’s absence. Although in the first seven games without Kelly, Cook played his usual stellar floor game, dishing 43 assists against just 14 turnovers (a better than 3 to 1 ratio), in the last four games, starting with the first BC game, Quinn has been aggressively hunting his own shot more and finding his teammates less, getting only 12 assists against 16 turnovers for a subpar 0.75 a/to ratio.

After the taut, one-point game at Boston College, it’s unlikely Duke will overlook the Eagles again. That plus BC’s struggles on the road should add up to Duke being a strong favorite in this game.

NCAA BASKETBALL: FEB 09 North Carolina at Duke

Rested Blue Devils Breeze Past Outmanned Hokies

Lance King Photo for BDN
Lance King Photo for BDN

The Duke Blue Devils, taking advantage of both a four day break between games and the ACC’s cellar-dweller, rode Seth Curry’s 19 first half points and solid shooting from just about everyone else to roll to an easy 88-56 win over the Virginia Tech Hokies tonight in Blacksburg, VA.

Duke came out blazing, as before ESPN finished showing the obligatory Big East wrestling match, Duke had hit five of six 3-pointers, three of them by Curry, and had a 17-10 lead.  Those first three Curry 3’s showcased the variety of ways in which this outstanding scorer can get it done.  One was an individual move, a step-back three with a defender in his face.  The second was a curl move around a baseline screen set by Amile Jefferson.  And the third was on a handoff, perfectly using Mason Plumlee’s screen on that two-man play.  The Blue Devils never looked back, as they continued to blister the nets throughout the first half while Virginia Tech clanged jump shots and fumbled balls out of bounds.  The crowd was out of it early, as were the Hokies.  With about 6 1/2 minutes to go in the half, it was already a 15 point margin, and it never got closer than that again.

The Devils did it in a variety of ways offensively.  As already stated, Curry was on fire in the first half, nailing five of six from 3-point land.  The team was 8 of 9 in the half from distance, and 15 of 25 overall — that’s 60% shooting.   And they were 10 of 10 from the free throw line.  In the meantime, the Hokies hit only 10 of 26 in the first half, none of them three’s.  So in the first half, the score on three pointers was 24 to 0.

Mason Plumlee came back strong from his off game on Sunday in College Park.  He was clearly more rested and more energized at both ends.  He made several strong moves in the post, and not all of them the same.  He backed his man down for his best shot, the righty jump hook, several times.  In the first half he got caught in an awkward position down low, but instead of forcing it up or charging or turning it over he re-gathered, and patiently pivoted around to the other side of the hoop for the score.  It was a very mature play.  And he hit his free throws in the first half.  Mason was strong on the boards, too, finishing with 12 to go along with his 13 points, and he was credited with three blocks, though it should’ve been four.  He was very, very good in this game.

Josh Hairston was excellent in the first half, and really the whole game, as well.  The junior forward really seems like a much more confident player than he was even a month ago.  It seems like the game has slowed down for him, and he has slowed down and started to channel all that energy he’s got into more positive action on the floor.  What I see in Josh now is a more mature player than I’ve ever seen before.  He threw in a lefty half-hook (!), banged home a 17 foot J, and hit two free throws in the first half alone, on his way to 11 points in 21 minutes.  And he took a charge — though that call, in all honesty, was not a good one.

Presbyterian v DukeAmile Jefferson had a nice drive from the corner that he finished, and also hit a couple of free throws in the first half. So that means that in that first half, three of our shakier FT shooters — Mason, Amile, and Josh — all nailed a pair.  It was that kind of shooting night.

Defensively, it quickly became apparent that Virginia Tech is essentially a one-man team.  Erick Green, the nation’s leading scorer, is simply terrific.  But the Hokies don’t have anything else.  Duke alternated Rasheed Sulaimon’s length and lateral quickness with Tyler Thornton’s tenacity on Green in an effort to make him work for everything he got.  And they did.  Duke did pretty well hedging against the ball screens Va Tech set for him too.  My favorite play came with about two minutes to play in the half.  Green had it on the top with Amile Jefferson having had to switch onto him.  But Duke had two defenders lurking, one on either side of Amile, because they knew Green was going to take it past Jefferson and into the lane if he could.  He tried, but Sulaimon stepped up and poked it away, leading to a runout dunk for Rasheed himself.

Green’s going to get his, though, and he did.  He hit a number of contested J’s and got to the line when he drove.  He’s very fast with the ball, and has a quick release on his pullup.  He is a willing passer as well, and a good one, despite the fact that most of his teammates don’t know what to do with it when he gets it to them.  But what I really like about this kid is that even in the midst of being blown out on his home floor, in a nationally televised game, he didn’t hang his head once.  He continued to play hard, and play clean — and play well.  Kid like that can play on my team anytime.  He ended up with 22 points on 8 of 14 shooting.  He deserves better than this.

The second half was glorified garbage time, as Virginia Tech never threatened to tighten the game up.  They shot a little better, but not much, ending up at 43% to Duke’s 54%, but still for the game hit only 1 of 16 three pointers.  Duke hit 12 of 17.  Game over.  Rasheed Sulaimon shouldered more of the offensive load in the second half, hitting 3’s, driving to the hole, cutting to the hoop, converting inside, the whole kit and kaboodle. He also continued to D-up on Green.  Kid showed the whole package tonight, really.  Alex Murphy made a strong drive late in the game for a reverse layup and an and-one, followed by a challenged 3 pointer.  Tantalizing.

I know the competition was weak.  They’re last in the ACC, I get it.  But it nevertheless is good to see Duke hitting on all cylinders and just blowing somebody out, especially on the road.  Seth Curry was rested and it showed, as he was essentially unstoppable in the first half (again), scoring 19 of his 22.  He’s in the conversation for ACC Player of the Year, for real.  Mason Plumlee was rested too, and that obviously helped him as well.  He’s just really difficult to fluster, as he came back so strong after the tough one at Maryland last weekend. Sulaimon played a beautiful all-court game, Hairston is settling into somewhat of a groove, and some of the reserves contributed meaningfully.  The team only turned the ball over five times and gave up almost nothing in transition to a team that prefers to push it.  Gotta believe the staff is pleased with this one.

Next up: rematch with BC on Sunday in Cameron.  Hold the blizzard.

Note: per the ESPN announcers, K is sounding more positive and upbeat about Ryan Kelly’s return.   Kelly was seen in the arena tonight walking without crutches.  That appears to be some sort of tangible progress.  Hopefully the next steps on the path back to the court follow in quick(er) succession.

 

8

Get Your O.M. Stull References Here: Duke vs. Virginia Tech Preview

Duke vs Georgia State 12 007OK so on Thursday night Duke tries to bounce back from a tough two point loss at Maryland on Sunday as they travel to Blacksburg to face the Hokies of Virginia Tech.

So first things first:  what the heck is a Hokie anyway?  Well, actually, it’s . . . nothing.  It’s not an animal, a vegetable, a mineral.  Not a person, place, or thing.  It’s nothing.  It’s a made-up word.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  The word was coined by yell leader O.M. Stull, class of 1896, who as part of a contest, created a new cheer and included “hoki” in it, just for fun I guess.   Oh, that ol’ O.M.!  Here’s how it went — sing along if you already know it:

Hoki, Hoki, Hoki, Hy

Techs, Techs, V.P.I.

Sola-Rex, Sola-Rah

Polytechs-Vir-gin-ia

Rae, Ri, V.P.I.

 

It was another time, folks.

It’s also a new day in Virginia Tech basketball this season, as the always complaining, always sweating, paranoid, inferiority complex-having Seth Greenberg was fired after last year and replaced by James Johnson, who two weeks prior had left Greenberg’s staff to take an assistant’s job with Clemson, only to scurry back to Blacksburg when the top job opened up.  Doesn’t Greenberg strike you as the heavy-set kid who was always the last one picked for the team on the schoolyard, lost all self-esteem, and has been overcompensating ever since, and thinks he’s a lot more clever and a lot funnier than he is?  I digress.

In any event, whether the change turns out to be positive for Virginia Tech basketball in the long run remains to be seen.  Greenberg, though he was under .500 last year, had won more than 20 games in four of the previous five seasons, averaging just shy of 22 wins per year during that stretch, though due to some really lame scheduling, he only received one NCAA bid.  (“Oh, the hu-MAN-ity!”)

Johnson’s initial campaign has been a rocky one, as his team sits at 11-14 overall, and dead last at 2-10 in the conference.  They’ve lost eight in a row coming into Thursday night’s contest, and while I haven’t researched it, I’m quite sure it’s been a veeeery long time since a team broke an eight game losing streak with a win over Duke.  But in addition to a nice win over Oklahoma State earlier in the year, the Hokies have at least been in a lot of games in which they’ve fallen short.  They lost by only 9 to Miami, took Carolina to OT on the road, lost by 5 to Maryland, and in their last outing took State to OT, also on the road.  Along with some stinkers, too, don’t get me wrong.

This year’s edition of the Hokies is currently #164 in the RPI.  Their numbers are equally bad on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.  They’re fourth in the ACC in scoring, but 11th (that’s next to last) in FG% and 10th in 3 point shooting.  They’re last in the league in scoring defense, at 73.7 ppg, and 9th in FG% defense.  They’re 11th in rebound margin, last in assists, last in steals, 11th in turnover margin, and 10th in assist-to-turnover ratio. The only major statistic that they’re in the top four in the league in is offensive rebounds.  Probably because they provide themselves so many opportunities, if you know what I mean.

What Virginia Tech does have going for them, primarily, is star scoring guard Erick Green.  The 6’3″ senior out of Winchester, VA is leading the nation — not just the conference, but the whole country — in scoring at 25.3 ppg.  That’s an increase of almost 9 ppg over last year.   Though Green is, by necessity on this team, a high volume shooter, he still is an efficient scorer, with a O Rating of 121.  He does this primarily by shooting 47.3%, and a lot of his shots are tough, contested ones, as the Hokies don’t have all that many other options, so defenses focus primarily on Green.  Green drives it strong to the hole, and he often scores or gets fouled.  Or he finds open guys on the perimeter, as he’s a good passer too.  He’s also nails from the line at 81%, which is very important because he gets to the line a ton — between eight and nine times per ballgame.  Another great thing about his scoring:  he’s consistent.  Green has scored over 20 points in 23 of Va Tech’s 25 games, falling short only at BYU and at Carolina.  Green does it all for Va Tech — he not only leads the ACC in minutes played, but he also is the leading assist man on the team, and sixth in the ACC, dishing out over four per game, and is fifth in the league in assist-to-turnover.

Virginia Tech’s next best player is  junior forward Jarrell Eddie, who averages 13 ppg and 6 boards, both second best on the squad.  The 6’7″ junior struggles with his shot, however, as he’s hitting only 40% from the field.  He is prone to long stretches of poor play, too.  While he had 17 points in the Hokies’ loss to State on Saturday, in the three games previous to that, he shot 1 of 8, 0 for 6, and 1 for 7, totaling 2 for 21.  With a total of 11 rebounds in those three games.  Not good.

The team’s leading rebounder is rugged 6’9″ junior Cadarian Raines at 6.8 boards per game, including 3.1 off the offensive glass; he only scores 7 ppg though.  No offensive game, really.  The other two starters are lanky 6’5″ soph Robert Brown, who scores 9 ppg on lousy 32% shooting, including a truly unsightly 22% from 3 point land, and 6’8″ soph C.J. Barksdale, who is just not an impact player in any particular area. Five other guys are averaging at least ten minutes per game for Coach Johnson, and though none of them score much, many of them are decent rebounders, contributing to the Hokies’ overall adequacy in that department.

Because the Hokies do not have a wealth of talent on the offensive end, they try to push the tempo when they can.  This also enables them to play to Green’s strengths.  They have some pretty good athletes on the team, so when they do go to the glass, it provides them an opportunity to then get out and run.  Duke’s going to have to watch its defensive transition, and not get caught backpedalling while Green is ramming it down their throats.  Make them play halfcourt.

As far as Green goes, you can’t stop him.  You can only hope to contain him.  I know: groan.  Seriously, though, the guy always gets his points.  You’ve got to make him work for them, though.  Nothing easy in transition, no open looks on the perimeter.  When he drives it into the lane, help!  It’s not like the other guys are likely going to kill you if the ball gets swung to them.  They can’t shoot!  When they run screening action for Green, we have to effectively hedge, and we have to play solid help and recover.  If we don’t hustle on those plays, Green will turn the corner every time, and make a lot of Duke fans very uncomfortable.  I would expect Tyler Thornton to spend some significant minutes in Erick Green’s shirt, as a change of pace from Rasheed’s longer-armed, athletic defensive presence against the Hokies star.

Defensively, again, Va Tech is fairly long and rangy, and athletic.  As has been well documented, some Blue Devils struggle against length and athleticism.  Mason Plumlee has (though the Hokies are not particularly tall, per se) and Seth Curry has.  Josh Hairston too.  But while they’re lousy on the defensive boards, Duke is unfortunately only rarely able to take advantage of that weakness.  Also, as they were under Greenberg, Va Tech plays physical.  Everyone seems to think now that muscling Mason is the way to go defensively, so as to make him play through contact, make him finish plays.  Plumlee had better be ready for a physical game.  But he’s not the only one.  Their perimeter guys are going to bump Seth and Quinn and Rasheed around the screens, grab and hold when they can get away with it, all that kind of stuff.  Better be ready for it both mentally and physically, guys.

The guy everyone will be looking for to bounce back from the Maryland game, of course, is Mason Plumlee.  I don’t know if he was tired — wait, yes I do.  He was. — or if he had a sore ankle, or if he just had a bad game like college kids (or any other basketball player in the world) do sometimes.  I’m sure nobody feels worse about it than he does.  Don’t expect to see “fire in his eyes” or an “angry Mason.”  That’s not who he is, on the outside.  What I do expect is a determined, committed Mason, one who knows he’s the best big man on the floor, by a lot, and one who makes up his mind that he’s going to establish solid position in the post, demand the ball, and turn and score with authority.  He’s not going to have to defend an A+ big man at the other end, so that may free him to play more loosely overall, and more confidently.  When he does that, everyone benefits.

The reality is that even if Mason doesn’t have a great game on Thursday night, Duke can still win.  And should.  Duke has many more weapons than do the Hokies.  Still, Virginia Tech is an ACC team who has an impressive win this year and some very close calls, and the top scoring guard in the nation.  And it’s on the road.  Duke will be focused, as they always are in particular after a loss, so I think the regaining of their legs, the determination they’ll have post-Maryland, and the fact that they have just a much stronger team will seal the deal, and Hoki, Hoki, Hoki Hy will have to wait for another day.

9

Duke at Virginia Tech Game Notes

9aDuke at Virginia Tech

Thursday, February 21, 2013 • 9:00 p.m. • ESPN2

Blacksburg, Va. • Cassell Coliseum (9,847)

The Opening Tip

• The Blue Devils are ranked No. 6 in the AP Poll and in the USA Today Coaches Poll. Duke is 104-29 all-time when ranked No. 6 in the AP Poll.

• The Blue Devils have been ranked in the AP Top 10 for 109 consecutive weeks. Duke had been ranked in the top five for 13 straight weeks prior to this week’s No. 6 ranking.

• Duke is playing its 202nd straight game as a top-10 team in the AP poll. Duke is 168-33 in that span.

• Head coach Mike Krzyzewski is tied with Adolph Rupp for the third-most wins by a coach at one school with 876.

• Duke is playing back-to-back road games – excluding neutral sites – for only the second time this season. Duke defeated Wake Forest and Florida State in consecutive road games on Jan. 30 and Feb. 2.

• Duke is 9-3 away from Cameron Indoor Stadium this season.

The Last Time Out

• Rasheed Sulaimon hit three straight free throws to tie the game at 81-81 with 16 seconds left, but Maryland freshman Seth Allen sank a pair of free throws with two seconds left to lead the Terrapins past Duke, 83-81, in the Comcast Center Wednesday.

• After going scoreless in the first half, Sulaimon scored 16 points in the second half and hit all seven free throws.

• Seth Curry scored 25 points for Duke on 11-of-17 shooting. Quinn Cook contributed 18 points, and Josh Hairston scored a season-high 11.

• Duke forced 26 Maryland turnovers, scoring 27 poinst off Terrapin miscues. The 26 turnovers tied for the most by a Duke opponent this season.

• Maryland, which ranks second nationally in rebounds per game and rebounding margin, outrebounded Duke 40-20.

Numbers Game

l Duke, ranked No. 6 in the latest AP Poll, has been ranked in the top 10 of the poll 109 consecutive weeks. The last time Duke was not ranked in the top 10 was Nov. 19, 2007.

l Duke is one of only three teams in the top 10 of the Associated Press Poll (No. 6), Coaches Poll (No. 6), NCAA RPI (No. 1) and Strength of Schedule index (No. 1). Miami and Louisville are the other two teams ranked among the top 10.

l Duke leads the ACC in three-point percentage (.408) and three-point field goals per game (7.6 3pg.). The .408 clip would rank as the third-best in school history. Duke has made 10 or more three-point field goals eight times this season.

l Head coach Mike Krzyzewski is tied with Adolph Rupp for the third-most career victories at one school. Krzyzewski is 876-235 (.789) all-time as Duke’s head coach. Krzyzewski is three wins shy of tying Dean Smith for second all-time at one school and 34 shy of all-time leader Jim Boeheim.

l Coach K needs just one more win to reach 950 for his career. He is the winningest coach in Division I men’s basketball with 40 more wins than the next closest coach.

l Duke has lost back-to-back games just once since the 2009-10 season. Duke’s record following a loss during that span is 16-1.

l Duke is one of only two teams in the ACC with five players averaging double-digit scoring. Mason Plumlee (17.6 ppg), Seth Curry (16.9), Ryan Kelly (13.4), Quinn Cook (12.3) and Rasheed Sulaimon (11.7) are all averaging double figures.

l Duke owns a 1.36:1 assist-to-turnover ratio, which would best the school record of 1.32:1 set by the 2000-01 NCAA Championship team.

l Mason Plumlee needs just 13 more rebounds to reach 1,000 for his career. Plumlee would be the eighth Blue Devil to reach that mark and the third with 1,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 150 blocks.

l Seth Curry has scored 20 or more points in seven of Duke’s 12 ACC games. He has scored in double figures in all but two of those games and averages 17.6 points per game in league play to rank third in the ACC. Curry also ranks among the top five in league play in three-pointers per game (t-1st, 3.0) and free throw percentage (3rd, .825).

l In Duke’s two games following a loss this season, freshman Rasheed Sulaimon averages a team-high 20.0 points per game while shooting .750 (9-of-12) from three-point range. Seth Curry averages 18.5 ppg and Mason Plumlee 17.5 ppg in games following a loss.

Duke-Virginia Tech Series History

• Duke leads the all-time series with Virginia Tech 40-8, with a combined 20-6 record in games outside of Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke is 9-5 against Virginia Tech on the road and 11-1 at neutral sites.

• The Duke-Virginia Tech series began on Feb. 16, 1912 when Duke won 37-32.

• Duke is 11-3 against Virginia Tech under head coach Mike Krzyzewski.

• Duke has won four straight meetings and eight of the last nine contests.

• The last two meetings have been decided by an average of 4.5 points. Duke defeated Virginia Tech 70-65 in overtime in the final meeting of the 2011-12 regular season and then pulled out a 60-56 win in the 2012 ACC Tournament.

• Duke is 11-3 against Virginia Tech since the Hokies joined the ACC in 2004-05.