amile

Furman at Duke By The Numbers

amileDuke (5-0) vs. Furman (1-2)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014 • 5:00 p.m. • ESPNU

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

 Opening Tip

• Duke (5-0) returns to Cameron Indoor Stadium following three straight neutral site contests to face Furman (1-2) Wednesday, Nov. 26. Tipoff is set for 5:00 p.m. with ESPNU televising the contest.

• Duke is ranked No. 4 in the AP Poll and No. 2 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. The Blue Devils are 62-13 all-time when ranked No. 4 in the AP Poll. Furman enters the game unranked in both polls.

• The Blue Devils have won an NCAA-best 111 straight non-conference home games, more than twice as many as the next closest school (Syracuse – 53).

• Duke owns the longest active home win streak in the NCAA at 35 games. The Blue Devils are one home win shy of the fourth-best mark in school history and ACC history. NC State won 36 straight home games from 1972-75, while Duke matched that feat from 1991-93.

• Duke has featured a balanced scoring attack with six players averaging at least 8.0 points per game. The Blue Devils have had 21 double figure scoring games and have not have a player top the 20-point mark yet this season.

• Eight different Blue Devils have scored in double-figures this season with Quinn Cook, Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow reaching double figures in all five contests.

• Jahlil Okafor has been named ACC Freshman of the Week each of the past two weeks. The Chicago, Ill., native ranks among the conference leaders in scoring, rebounds, offensive rebounds, blocks and field goal percentage.

• Quinn Cook led the Blue Devils in scoring in all three games last week and is averaging a career-high 17.0 points per game. He was named MVP of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic after averaging 16.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists for the tournament.

u By the numbers

• Quinn Cook scored in double figures and made at least three three-point field goals in all five contests this season. He leads the ACC in three-point field goals (3.4 3pg.), while also ranking among the conference leaders in scoring (17.0 ppg. – 5th), three-point percentage (.486 – 7th), assists (4.2 apg. – 10th) and assist-to-turnover ratio (5.25:1 – 2nd).

• Mike Krzyzewski has started three or more freshmen in a game 40 times at Duke, including all five games this season. Coach K started three or more freshmen 27 times during the 1982-83 season.

• Quinn Cook was named Most Valuable Player of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, becoming the second Duke player to earn MVP honors at a major in-season tournament twice in a career. Cook was also the MVP of the 2012 Battle 4 Atlantis, while Kyle Singler earned MVP honors at the 2007 Maui Invitational and 2008 Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.

• Duke’s top-rated freshmen class – Grayson Allen, Tyus Jones, Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow – combines to average 48.7 points per game while shooting an efficient 52.6 percent (82-of-156) from the field. The group has combined for 13 of Duke’s 21 double figure scoring games this season.

• The Blue Devils have trailed for just 29 seconds through the first five games of the season. Duke trailed Fairfield, 2-0, for 18 seconds and Stanford, 2-0, for 11 seconds. The Blue Devils led wire-to-wire in wins over Presbyterian, Michigan State and Temple.

• Duke has won each of the first five games by 10 or more points, marking the first time since the 2010-11 season it has accomplished that feat.

• Duke has made 36 more three-point field goals than its opposition on the year. The Blue Devils are 48-of-115 (.417), while holding the opposition to just 12-of-72 (.167) shooting from behind the arc. Quinn Cook has more three-point field goals (17) than Duke has allowed (12) on the year.

• Jahlil Okafor (15.8 ppg.) and Justise Winslow (15.4 ppg.) rank 11th and 13th, respectively, in scoring in the ACC. They are the top two scoring freshmen in the conference and two of four freshmen to rank among the league’s scoring leaders.

• Amile Jefferson continues to be active on the glass, averaging 7.6 rebounds per game. He has collected 19 of his 38 rebounds on the offensive end of the floor and ranks sixth in the league in offensive rebounds (3.8 orpg.).

• Duke’s backcourt tandem of Quinn Cook and Tyus Jones have combined for 46 assists with just nine turnovers (5.11:1 assist-to-turnover ratio) through five games. Both players rank in the top 10 of the ACC in assists and assist-to-turnover ratio.

• Justise Winslow shot a season-high 10 free throws in the win over Stanford and ranks second in the ACC with 7.2 free throw attempts per game.

• Matt Jones is averaging 6.8 points per game, while shooting 50.0 percent (6-of-12) from three-point range. As a freshman, Jones was just 3-of-21 (.143) from behind the arc and averaged 1.8 ppg.

• Duke topped the 100-point mark in each of its two previous home games. The Blue Devils have not scored over 100 points in three straight home games since the 2000-01 season.

• The Blue Devils are averaging 111.0 points per game, while shooting 62.6 percent (83-of-131) from the field at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

marshall

Quick Take – Duke drops Temple

marshallThe Duke Blue Devils moved to 4-0 on the young college basketball season with a 74-54 win over Temple.  Granted, there was not a lot of flash by the players in the victory.  Instead, Duke won with a workmanlike effort against a team which thrives on getting you into grinder of a game.  Experiencing a physical, half court oriented type of game  should help the team grow as they move forward.

The Blue Devils are relying on a lot of freshman, with three in the starting line up and there is a learning curve at the college level.  Jahlil Okafor struggled a but early, but finished the game with 16 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocked shots.  Okafor is learning to play through contact and be strong with the ball.  The Owls defense gave the talented freshman center something new to think about moving forward.

Tyus Jones struggled with his shot from the field, but he leaned on his passing acumen where he led the Blue Devils with a game high 7 assists.  Jones steadies the Duke offense and finds ways to contribute and that helps free up his teammates to play off ball.

One of Jones teammates who played on and off the ball was the steady to date Quinn Cook.  Averaging just under 17 ppg, Cook has been the most consistent offensive performer to date.  Cook drained three more three-point shots last evening on a night when the Blue Devils went just 7 of 23 behind the stripe.

Cook and Okafor were joined in double figure scoring by Justise Winslow, who ended the game with 15 points.  But it is Winslow’s activity on defense that has been just as impressive thus far for Duke.  Winslow is an active player who adds a new dimension of ability to this years team.

Not to get lost, was a solid performance from Duke co-captain Amile Jefferson.  The Philly native scored some key buckets in route to his 8 points and added a solid 8 rebounds for the Blue Devils.  Jefferson doesn’t have to have big numbers to always be effective and remains the one player who always talks to his teammates on the court.

Duke eventually just wore the Owls down with their talent, but they had to go back to their starters.  When Duke went to its bench, production fell off after extended minutes.  While not particularly disturbing, the Blue Devils will need better production against Stanford on Saturday night.

This game of course, sets up the first match up between Mike Krzyzewski and one of his most prized recruits and former assistant coach, Johnny Dawkins.

Stanford looked good in their walloping of UNLV last night and they return most of their players from last seasons NCAA Tournament run.  The Cards should be ranked this season but instead is just outside the top 25 at this time.

The Cards will offer Duke yet another different look on defense where they’ll play a disciplined zone.  The Blue Devils need to better looks from beyond the three point stripe in this game which is televised in TruTV, a Turner Network.  The Blue Devils next game after the Stanford match up will be against Furman this coming holiday Wednesday in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

 

quinn

Duke Defeats Michigan State 81-71

quinnAs far as big early season games go, Duke had a very nice win against a scrappy Michigan State team.  In the process, the team and talented freshman learned a lot about themselves.  When the dust cleared Duke defeated the Michigan State Spartans 81-71 and they overcame adversity and some Spartan runs to do so.

When Jahlil Okafor went to the bench with four fouls, Duke did not whither.  In fact, they flourished.   Okafor’s  roommate  Tyus Jones came alive and took over the game.  It all started with a four point play and Jones finished the game with 17 points, including going 7 of 7 from the free throw stripe.

Okafor added 17 points for Duke on an efficient 8 for 10 from the field.  Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski said Okafor might be the best post player to ever wear the Duke uniform in his post game press conference and many will surely agree with him.

But the player who was steady all night long, was a senior.  Quinn Cook tallied 19 points and led the team with 6 assists.  When Duke needed a key bucket, Cook was there for a three pointer or a slash to the rim for a deuce.

The backcourt combination of Cook and Jones were really good together.  Neither of the guards committed a turnover against and aggressive Michigan State team.

Justise Winslow chipped in with 17 points and 5 rebounds as well.  Winslow got better as the game went on after a sluggish start by taking advantage of the opportunities when they were presented.

All in all, this was a good learning experience game for Duke who moves to 3-0 this season.  They faced various forms of adversity and they answered the bell.  What that means in time is that they will be better from the experience.

Time after time when it looked as if Duke might crack under pressure, they found ways to recover and that is something which surely pleased the staff.

Every player on the team can take something from this game.  Okafor has to learn that he can get fouls called on him quickly on either end of the court.  The team should have learned that taking good shots is always important for they could have probably had a bigger lead going into the half had this happened.

When Duke did take a bad shot, their transition defense suffered, so that too will be a lesson learned.  But on this early season night, Duke did more things right than wrong and they earned a win against a pesky ranked opponent.

Michigan State is not the kind of team that folds up the tent when they are down.  And against a very tough upcoming  ACC schedule where there are several solid teams, the experience of winning a game like this will help.

The Blue Devils will enjoy this win for an evening, but Krzyzewski will not allow them too much celebration time.  With two more tough games coming up against good competition, the Blue Devils next lesson is to put a game behind them and prepare for the next play.

Duke was far from a well oiled machine at times tonight, but the potential was clearly there as was toughness.  For this team to have so many young components, the win over Michigan State is a sweet one.

Blue Devil Nation Photo

Preview: North Carolina at Duke

Preview: North Carolina at Duke
7:30 PM ET
Thursday, November 20
Durham, NC
TV: ESPN
Radio: Blue Devil IMG Sports Network, Sirius Ch 126 and XM Ch 193

Duke in 2014: 8-2
North Carolina in 2014: 5-5

DUKE INJURIES

OUT – Alonzo Saxton II (CB)
OUT FOR SEASON – Kelby Brown (LB), Braxton Deaver (TE), Jake Kite (S), Taariq Shabazz (DE)

NORTH CAROLINA INJURIES

QUESTIONABLE – Elijah Hood (TB)
OUT FOR SEASON – Khris Francis (TB), Conner Gonet (RB)

Thursday night football arrives in Durham as the Blue Devils host the rival Tar Heels in a primetime matchup. A year ago, Duke escaped Chapel Hill with a 27-25 win, clinching the ACC Coastal Division crown. This year, the Blue Devils need wins in their final two games to repeat as Coastal Division champions; meanwhile, the Tar Heels need a win to secure bowl eligibility. North Carolina holds a 58-38-4 edge in the all-time series, with the Blue Devils winning the last two meetings.

HOW DUKE CAN WIN

Get back to playing Duke football. The Blue Devils are 10-2 in their last 12 ACC regular season games, and for good reason. When at their best, they play sound fundamental football, and make their opponents pay for mistakes.

1. Win the turnover battle. Even after the loss to Virginia Tech, Duke remains +7 in turnover margin on the season, including a +2 in ACC play. While Jim Knowles’ defense is becoming more adept at taking the ball away from opponents, the key for the Blue Devils is to take care of the football, and that starts with QB Anthony Boone. In Duke’s two losses of the season, the redshirt-senior has thrown four interceptions; in their eight wins, just two. In a game that could easily turn into a shootout, the Blue Devils simply cannot afford to give away possessions and points. Conversely, one of the glaring weaknesses of Larry Fedora’s offense has been a propensity for turnovers; through 10 games, the Tar Heels have thrown 11 interceptions and given away 5 fumbles. On a chilly night in Durham, look for the opportunistic Duke defense to secure a few takeaways.

2. Control the line of scrimmage. When looking at Duke’s offensive success, it’s easy to point to the balanced attack that averages nearly 33 points, 202 passing yards, and 193 rushing yards per game. That balance is not possible without strong offensive line play. After giving up 3 sacks and averaging just 3.4 yards per carry last week, the Duke offensive line, led by All-ACC senior Laken Tomlinson, should be ready for a big bounce-back effort. Expect a big day for the Duke stable of running backs against a North Carolina defense that ranks last in the ACC against the rush (and the pass, for that matter), giving up 4.9 yards per carry. Anthony Boone should have plenty of time to get the ball to his star senior WRs Jamison Crowder and Issac Blakeney, as the Tar Heels have allowed 24 passing touchdowns on the season.

3. Contain, contain, contain. It’s no secret that these two defenses are capable of giving up lots of yards – the Blue Devils and Tar Heels rank last in the ACC in total defense. The difference between an 8-2 Duke team and a 5-5 North Carolina team, however, is that the Blue Devils rank second in the ACC in scoring defense. Jeremy Cash, David Helton, and the Duke defense will have to wrap up the elusive Tar Heel playmakers. Marquise Williams is a true dual-threat quarterback, and he alone has accounted for 28 of the North Carolina touchdowns this season. With two high-scoring offenses, the defense that manages to limit explosives and keep the opponent out of the end zone will win this rivalry game. In a game that could be decided by less than a touchdown, it’s worth noting that the Tar Heels haven’t made a field goal outside of 23 yards on the season.

HOW DUKE CAN LOSE

1. Make Duke predictable. Virginia Tech and Miami have laid out the blueprint for beating this Duke team, but do the Tar Heels have the talent and discipline to replicate their efforts? It all starts up front defensively, where the Tar Heels have struggled all season. A big night will be needed for the North Carolina defense, led by senior bandit Norkeithus Otis, in order to slow the balanced Duke offense. Holding Duke to well under their 5.3 yards per carry average is essential in pressuring Boone into obvious 3rd down passing situations. If North Carolina can win the battle in the trenches, they should create a lot of work for Will Monday. The Tar Heel secondary will be equally challenged, however, as they will have to keep pace with Crowder, who is averaging 8 catches per game over his last 4. Sophomores Des Lawrence and Brian Walker will have to provide tight coverage on Crowder and Blakeney in particular, as Boone has shown he can be pressured into forcing throws to his senior receivers.

2. Keep it on the ground. Much like the Blue Devils, the Tar Heels are at their best when their offense dictates the game. Duke’s defense has been vulnerable to the run, and a heavy dose of the North Carolina ground game will be crucial for a Tar Heel victory. Expect a big game from TJ Logan and company, who may be bolstered by the return of star freshman Elijah Hood. Jim Knowles typically likes to dial up pressure on third down, but If Williams can find ways to move the chains with his feet as well as his arm, it should put Jeremy Cash and the Duke defense on their heels. An effective running game will open up opportunities downfield through the air. Ryan Switzer is emerging as a threat not just on special teams, but in multiple roles on offense, and the Blue Devils will have to account for him at all times.

WHY DUKE WILL WIN

The Blue Devils are more disciplined and have the better defense, and that will be the difference in this game. Duke is among the least penalized teams in the ACC, while North Carolina gives up over 60 yards in penalties per game. Though both defenses are prone to giving up yards, the Blue Devils manage to keep their opponents out of the end zone. With the help of a few timely Tar Heel penalties and turnovers, Duke will pull away in the second half. A strong ground game with the re-emergence of Shaun Wilson will keep Marquise Williams and his offense on the sidelines and trailing on the scoreboard. Expect a monster game from Jamison Crowder, who will prove to be too elusive for the much-maligned Tar Heel defense.

BOTTOM LINE

Did you know it’s been almost three years since Duke lost to an in-state rival? When it’s Duke and North Carolina, anything can happen, but this Blue Devil team is too focused, too veteran, and too talented for the young Tar Heels. David Cutcliffe will have his squad back to winning football and one more win away from a repeat Coastal Division title, while Larry Fedora will drop to 0-3 against Duke.

Duke 38, North Carolina 27

Lance King for BDN

Duke vs Michigan State Preview

duke-wf rick c 071The last time Duke was in Indianapolis they lost a tough NCAA battle to Louisville.  Just before that loss, they won the national title in Indy where they will once again play tonight.  Make no mistake about it, when Duke travels to Indy the games are always big and tonight’s early season match up with Michigan State is no different.

It’ll surely be a grand moment tonight for Duke Assistant Coach Jon Scheyer, who was on that special 2010 title team.  But the emphasis will not be on past memories, no matter how wonderful they are, but the future of Duke Basketball.

For the first time this evening, the vaunted freshman class and 2014-15 Blue Devils will be on a big stage.  The nations eyes will be checking out how they fare away from Cameron in this early season marquee matchup of traditional powers.  How Duke responds may give one an early idea if they can return to Indy again come April, for this is where he Final Four will be played.

Once Duke Coach Mike Krzyewski tames the many good ghosts of titles past, his focus will be to make new memories.  By now, the team has heard the many stories from Indy.  But now, it’s time to see how this newer version of Blue Devils will handle the spotlight.

If the two early season games in Cameron that Duke has played to date are an indication, the Blue Devils will be ready.  Duke has been an offensive machine to date, but the Spartans are known for their tough defense and this will truly be a test against physically strong opponents for the freshman.  Michigan State will also seek to slow this game down and keep it in the sixties.

Despite the great starts from Winslow, Okafor and the rest, look for veteran Blue Devils to play a key role if Duke is to win.  Never will it be more important for captains Quinn Cook, the lone senior and Amile Jefferson to lead by example.

There have been several match ups past between these two solid programs.  In those games, Duke has had recent success not having lost to Michigan State since 2005.  The Spartans rode a career high 25 points from senior Travis Trice to win their opener against Navy.  As expected coming into the season, Branden Dawson helped in the win at Navy as well.

The Spartans are currently ranked 19th in the country, but if Duke can implement their will or pace, this should be a win.  Still, you can bet that Mike Krzyzewski is not taking any Tom Izzo coached team lightly.  Duke will seek to pick up the pace and go to what seems to be a deeper bench.

Unlike seasons past, Duke can press and trap with a true center in Jahlil Okafor staying home.  The Blue Devils also have a knack for early season success under Krzyzewski in big games and by nights end, I see Duke winning their third consecutive game.

Krzyzweski will undoubtedly make it a point before leaving Indianapolis that the goal is to return to the venue where the Final Four will be held.  And this seasons team has a shot but it’s long, long ways until March Madness and a very top-heavy and tough ACC slate is in the future.

In the past, the coach seeking his 1000th win this season, likes to treat games coming this week as tournaments.  He might treat tonight’s game like a regional final.  Later in the week against Temple and then Stanford or UNLV he might seek to simulate a final four or regional setting.

Having a coach who has been there before bodes well for Duke tonight, but it will come down to the players performing  and continuing to mesh together as a cohesive unit.

I feel like Duke will push the ball at will early on and that pace will make it tough for the Spartans to catch up.  For entertainment purpose only, the game line went from Duke by 3.5 to 7.

The pick here is Duke 79 Michigan State 65