The Duke Football Spring Game will be held at high noon in Wallace Wade Stadium tomorrow and Blue Devil Nation caught up to two key players, in Laken Tomlinson and Brandon Connette –
The Duke Blue Devils rode a quick start to a 66-48 victory over Virginia Tech. Leading the way for the Blue Devils was Rodney Hood who tallied 21 points and worked as the point distributor against the Hokies tight zone defense. During the post game press conference, Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski said that he was the teams most consistent player. Blue Devil Nation caught up to Hood in the Duke locker room to get his thoughts –
Duke vs. Virginia Tech
February 25, 2014 • 7 p.m.
Durham, N.C. • Cameron Indoor Stadium (9,314)
ESPNU • Blue Devil IMG Sports Network
The Opening Tip
• In the first of its two final remaining home games, Duke hosts Virginia Tech Tuesday in Cameron Indoor Stadium. The game tips off at 7 p.m. and will air on ESPNU and the Blue Devil IMG Sports Network.
• Duke is ranked No. 6 in the AP Poll and No. 7 in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll. The Blue Devils are 113-31 all-time when ranked No. 6 in the AP Poll.
• The Blue Devils are 20-3 against unranked team this season but dropped their last meeting against a team outside top 25, falling 74-66 at North Carolina on Feb. 20.
• Duke’s home-court winning streak sits at 31 consecutive victories, tied for the longest active streak in the nation. Duke is 15-0 at home this season after going 16-0 on Coach K Court in 2012-13. Duke has gone undefeated in Cameron Indoor Stadium in 17 seasons, including three of the past four years.
The Last Time Out
• Led by another double-double from Jabari Parker, Duke defeated the No. 1 team in the nation for the sixth time under head coach Mike Krzyzewski, defeating top-ranked Syracuse 66-60 Saturday in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
• Parker led Duke with 19 points and 10 rebounds while hitting 6-of-8 field goals on the way to his third straight double-double. The freshman forward hit all three of his three-point attempts and scored 11 second-half points to lead Duke to the upset win.
• Rodney Hood contributed 13 points and seven rebounds, while the guard tandem of Quinn Cook, Rasheed Sulaimon and Tyler Thornton combined for 27 points, 11 assists and just three turnovers. Sulaimon dished out a team-high seven of those helpers.
• Duke shot .479 (23-of-48) from the field against Syracuse for the second-highest opponent field goal percentage against the Orange this season.
By The Numbers
• Duke has won 31 consecutive games at Cameron Indoor Stadium, tied for the longest active home win streak in the country. Included in that streak is a 66-60 win over top-ranked Syracuse this past Tuesday as well as eight wins by 20 points or more.
• The Blue Devils have held 11 straight home opponents to less than 70 points. Opposing teams average just 65.5 points per game on Duke’s home court, good for a +18.4 Duke scoring margin.
• Duke owns an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.55:1, which would rank as the highest ratio since Duke began tracking turnovers in the 1970-71 season. The Blue Devils logged a school-record 1.51:1 assist-to-turnover ratio last season, bettering the previous school record of 1.32 set in 2000-01.
• Opposing teams are shooting just .304 (110-of-362) from the three-point line against Duke with an average of 4.0 made three-pointers per game. Duke has surrendered the fifth-fewest made three-pointers in the nation.
• Jabari Parker has a double-double in seven of his past 10 games and is averaging 19.2 points and 11.6 rebounds per game during that stretch. Parker owns an ACC-leading 11 double-doubles this season and ranks among the league’s top three in scoring (2nd – 19.1 ppg.), rebounding (1st – 8.8 rpg.) and field goal percentage (3rd, .485 – 189-of-390).
• Andre Dawkins needs just 13 points to become the 63rd Duke player to join the 1,000-point club. Dawkins is averaging a career-best 8.7 points per game this season.
• Rasheed Sulaimon has scored in double figures in nine of 14 ACC games and averages 10.5 points and 3.1 assists per game in conference play. He leads Duke with 37 assists over his past 10 games and owns a 2.31:1 assist-to-turnover ratio during that span.
• Senior Tyler Thornton has logged 26 assists and just four turnovers in his past 10 games, good for a 6.5:1 assist-to-turnover ratio during that span. Thornton has not committed more than one turnover in any of Duke’s 15 ACC games this season and has posted turnover-free performances eight times in conference play.
• Rodney Hood is averaging 16.1 points per game in his first season at Duke, which would be the highest scoring average by a transfer under Coach K in his first season, bettering the previous averages of Seth Curry (9.0 ppg., 2010-11), Roshown McLeod (11.9 ppg., 1996-97) and Dahntay Jones (11.2 ppg., 2001-02).
After recovering from untimely off season surgery, Duke big man Marshall Plumlee is starting to assert himself giving the Blue Devils solid minutes off the bench.
In his last two outings, Plumlee has showed well by simply being long and clogging up the lane. With cellar dwelling Virginia Tech coming to town, look for Plumlee and other Blue Devils to continue to get looks for the staff.
Plumlee had to go to the locker room for an IV in his last game, the huge Duke win over Duke and he addressed that issue with Blue Devil Nation in the following chat from the winning locker room.
Plumlee mentions that he hopes to build off the momentum in order to contribute down the stretch for the Blue Devils as well.
As entertaining as professional wrestling is to some, it is no doubt scripted to elicit all kinds of fan responses. With that said, suppose for a second the ACC scripted games for the betterment of the league.
If this were to happen, the Duke versus Syracuse games to date would have had the exact effect the league wanted and they could not have scripted better games for fan chatter and overall interest.
In the first meeting, a now infamous no call on a Rodney Hood dunk attempt stood out, but even that could not tarnish a great game. In their first game in the Carrier Dome, Duke and Syracuse traded punches until he very end, one upping each other with a dizzying display of offense. The game was an instant classic and competitive like few other games this season with some amazing play.
Flash forward to Cameron Indoor Stadium this past Saturday where Duke and Syracuse took the game to the wire again, but this time with great defensive efforts in a grinder of a game. The game was just as exciting but different enough to make the Basketball Gods or the promoter, in this case the ACC seem genius.
Once again, the game came down to a critical late game play and once again, fans around the nation were glued to their television sets to see it all unfold.
For those with their head in the sand, Rodney Hood was again involved in the play and this time he took a charge and we all know what happened next.The normally actively complaining yet usually restrained Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, ripped his coat off and was at mid court complaining of a call which led to double technical fouls and his ejection.
And the call? It was made by the same referee who elected to go with a charge call that made no call at all right in front of the aforementioned Hood attempted dunk at Syracuse.
This of course, made for great theater, even if it cost his team a chance to still win the game. And in some ways, that is one of the many side chats that have been visited making again, for great entertainment.
Say what you will of the calls in either game but the reality is a split is what was destined to happen and in some ways it indeed seemed oddly scripted.
There have been no losers in either match up and that means the ACC wins big here with one of its new marquee games. In fact, the games were an immense success in the all important entertainment ratings and still the talk of the town. Everywhere you turn there are memes funning with Boeheim, or those still discussing verticality of a player on a charge call and everything in between.
And to further the seemingly scripted games popularity, the teams now seem almost destined for a rubber match in the up coming ACC Tournament. While it will truly be a challenge to get to the title game, it would be a disappointment for many if it doesn’t happen and can you imagine the joy in the faces of those in the ACC offices should they get a ratings banaza?
Maybe, just maybe, good friends Jim Boeheim and Mike Krzyzewski got together this off-season and decided the games would play out as they did. And perhaps in their angst to play one another they agreed that each game would go down to the wire in incredibly entertaining fashion earning each an agreed upon split.
Okay, we all know that didn’t happen, but what did occur could not have been scripted any better by Don King or any other promoter.
Only time will tell if we see these two teams battle again, but be it this year or the next, the Duke versus Syracuse match up is now must watch television. Pass the popcorn, please.