Category Archives: Duke Basketball

NCAA5

Duke Can’t Afford to Overlook Spartans

NCAA5NCAA5The Duke Blue Devils have found their way to Indianapolis through having a great season.  Four freshman and four upper classmen have helped Mike Krzyzewski go to another Final Four where they will take on Michigan State this Saturday.

While it is true that Duke defeated the Spartans in an early season contest, that game will have little bearing on the game at hand.  Since their last encounter, the Spartans are much improved and riding a hot streak.

Many will be quick to think back on the road to date as a familiar one.  In 2010 the Blue Devils won the national title by defeating Butler in the same venue, Lucas Oil Arena.  In fact, they had to travel through Houston to do so.

Current assistant coach Jon Scheyer was a player on that team and only Nate James remains as a then assistant.  Both of these former Blue Devils know that getting here is but part of the battle, but to make magic truly happen, it takes focus.

Without said focus, the Blue Devils could be caught looking ahead and that would mean the end of the road.  While Duke is slated as a 5 point favorite, make no mistake that the coming game will be a war.

Intangibles come into play more often than some realize.  At some point Tom Izzo may very well halt the success Mike Krzyzewski holds over him and upsets do happen.  Interestingly, both of these teams were in the 2010 Final Four and both coaches are quite familiar with one another.

For the Blue Devils to advance and fend off the law of averages, it will take a solid effort from the start.  Duke nor any other team is wise to play from behind when the games have the immense meaning they do now,.  Momentum can make teams tight when the contest is do or die and you just don't want to dig a hole nor let up when you have a lead.

Most recently, Duke has leaned heavily on Justise Winslow to lead them forward, but to get past the Spartans, other players need to show up.  Namely, Jahlil Okafor, who by his lofty standards has not been on the top of his game.

Duke needs Okafor to be a beast in the paint, for Michigan State rebounds at all positions.  And it's only a matter of time before teams try to expose the one weakness of his game, which is free throw shooting.

Doing the little things and doing it as you have to date has been the message from Mike Krzyzewski this week.  And the team would fare best to listen.  Duke played nervous in their first game against Utah in Houston.  If the freshman have a slow start against a veteran Michigan State team that could spell doom.

Another thing the Blue Devils are battling are media expectations.  Michigan State likely feels disrespected that so many talking heads have penciled Duke in versus Kentucky.  As ridiculous as that notion might be, the media doesn't care.  Yet that kind of thing can end up on bulletin boards as a form of motivation.

I don't think Duke overlooks Michigan State, for if they if they do, the players will be at Myrtle Beach before Monday nights tip off to crown a champion.  But it surely will not be from experience, for this is indeed one of the youngest Duke teams Krzyzewski has coached.

For Duke to advance, they have to block out the vast amounts of attention.  Young freshman, as talented as they are have to play like grown men.  To win and advance, it will take what got Duke here.  Toughness, togetherness, resilience and heart have given Duke the opportunity to make some new memories.

Special memories are what Mike Krzyzewski is hoping for in Indianapolis.  But it's not easy.  Nothing is easy when you get this far, nor should it be.

The Blue Devils are capable of moving on to the national title game, but first things first.  A tough minded, Michigan State team stands in the way to play for it all and Duke would be well served to take them very seriously.

a houston

Duke vs Michigan State Game Notes

a houstonDuke (33-4, 15-3 ACC) vs. Michigan State (27-11, 12-6 Big Ten)

Saturday, April 4, 2015 • 6:09 p.m. (EST) • TBS

Indianapolis, Ind. • Lucas Oil Stadium • NCAA Tournament Final Four

The Opening Tip

• Duke (33-4, 15-3 ACC) faces Michigan State (27-11, 12-6 Big Ten) Saturday, April 4 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Tipoff is set for 6:09 p.m. (EST) with Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill and Tracy Wolfson calling the action for TBS.

• The Blue Devils were tabbed the No. 1 seed in the South Region. Duke has received a No. 1 seed 13 times, second-most in NCAA Tournament history. The Blue Devils are 49-9 (.845) as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

• Duke is 103-34 (.752) all-time in NCAA Tournament play, including an 86-26 (.768) mark under head coach Mike Krzyzewski.

• Mike Krzyzewski has led Duke to the Final Four 12 times, tied for the most in NCAA history. Krzyzewski is 8-3 (.727) in national semifinal games.

• The Blue Devils enter Saturday’s game ranked No. 4 in the AP Poll and No. 5 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. Duke is 79-15 (.840) overall when ranked No. 4 in the AP Poll.

• Duke is playing its 291st consecutive game as a ranked team in the AP Poll. The Blue Devils are 241-49 (.831) in that span.

• Michigan State is ranked No. 23 in the AP Poll and No. 22 in the Coaches Poll. Duke is 8-2 (.800) all-time against the No. 23 team in the AP Poll.

• Duke is 9-2 (.818) on the year against ranked opponents, including a 5-1 (.833) mark against teams ranked in the top 10 of the AP Poll.

• The Blue Devils are 8-2 (.800) in NCAA Tournament play in the state of Indiana. Duke is 7-2 (.778) in Indianapolis, including a 3-1 (.750) mark at Lucas Oil Stadium.

• Duke completed NCAA Tournament championship runs in Indianapolis in 1991 and 2010.

• Duke has limited its four NCAA Tournament opponents to 53.5 points per game on 36.8 percent (86-of-234) shooting from the field.

• The Blue Devils are shooting 50.0 percent (105-of-210) from the field, including 42.9 percent (27-of-63) from three-point range in NCAA Tournament play.

By the numbers

• Jahlil Okafor has averaged 17.5 points and 8.7 rebounds per game to earn consensus first team All-America status. He is the 18th Duke player overall and just the second freshman (Jabari Parker - 2014) to accomplish that feat.

• Quinn Cook, a Sporting News second team All-America selection, is averaging a career-high 15.5 points per game while also posting career bests in field goal percentage (.453), three-point percentage (.401), three-point field goals (2.73 3pg.) and free throw percentage (.887).

• Duke is the only team in the NCAA with three freshmen averaging double figures in scoring. Jahlil Okafor (17.5 ppg.), Justise Winslow (12.5 ppg.) and Tyus Jones (11.6 ppg.) combine for 41.6 points per game (52.3 percent of Duke scoring). The trio has combined for 40 or more points in a game 23 times this season. The Blue Devils are 21-2 when the trio combines to score 40 or more points in a game.

• Justise Winslow is averaging 14.0 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.8 blocks and 1.5 steals in NCAA Tournament play. He is shooting 51.3 percent (20-of-39) from the field, including 58.3 percent (7-of-12) from three-point range.

• A freshman has led the Blue Devils in scoring in 27 of 37 games. Jahlil Okafor has paced the offensive attack 14 times, while Tyus Jones (7), Justise Winslow (5) and Grayson Allen (1) have also led Duke in scoring. The rookie class has also accounted for 25 of Duke’s 32 20-point games on the year (Okafor 14, Jones 6, Winslow 4, Allen 1).

• Duke’s starting backcourt of Quinn Cook and Tyus Jones has combined to shoot 88.8 percent (229-of-258) from the free throw line. The remaining six players in the Duke rotation are 312-of-518 (.602) from the charity stripe.

• Jahlil Okafor leads the ACC and ranks second nationally with a .668 field goal percentage (267-of-400). He has shot 70 percent or better from the field 20 times on the year. Okafor’s field goal percentage is second-best in Duke history, trailing only Christian Laettner’s .723 (115-of-159) field goal percentage as a freshman in 1989.

• Justise Winslow is averaging 14.6 points and 8.2 rebounds per game while shooting 54.2 percent (97-of-179) from the field, including 51.1 percent (23-of-45) from three-point range, over the past 18 games. He has scored in double figures in 17 of the 18 contests and has seven double-doubles in that span.

• Justise Winslow is averaging 6.3 rebounds per game. He is looking to become the second player 6-6 or under to average 6.0 rpg. under Coach K. Chris Carrawell averaged 6.1 rpg. in 1999-2000.

• Tyus Jones is averaging 16.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.4 steals per game against ranked opponents. He has scored in double figures in all 10 games, including three 20+ point efforts.

• Jahlil Okafor has scored 629 points on the season to become the second Duke freshman and the seventh ACC rookie to top the 600-point mark. Jabari Parker holds the Duke freshmen scoring record with 670 points.

• Duke is shooting 41.7 percent from three-point range against ranked opponents. Quinn Cook leads the way at 45.0 percent (27-of-60), while Justise Winslow is shooting 44.8 percent (13-of-29) from long range in those matchups.

• Tyus Jones ranks in the top three in the Duke freshman record books in assist-to-turnover ratio (1st - 2.86:1), assists (3rd - 212), made free throws (2nd - 135), minutes played (2nd - 1,247) and games started (2nd - 37).

NCAA7

Duke vs Utah Game Notes

NCAA71 Duke (31-4, 15-3 ACC) vs. 5 Utah (26-8, 13-5 Pac-12)

Friday, March 27, 2015 • 9:45 p.m. (EST) • CBS

Houston, Texas • NRG Stadium

The Opening Tip

• Duke (31-4, 15-3) faces Utah (26-8, 13-5 Pac-12) Friday, March 27 at NRG Stadium in Houston. Tipoff is set for 9:45 p.m. (EST) with Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill and Tracy Wolfson calling the action for CBS.

• The Blue Devils were tabbed the No. 1 seed in the South Region. Duke has received a No. 1 seed 13 times, second-most in NCAA Tournament history.

• Duke is 101-34 (.748) all-time in NCAA Tournament play, including an 84-26 (.763) mark under head coach Mike Krzyzewski.

• The Blue Devils enter Friday’s game ranked No. 4 in the AP Poll and No. 5 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. Duke is 77-15 (.837) overall when ranked No. 4 in the AP Poll.

• Duke has seven wins against the rest of the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 field with five of the seven wins coming by 10 points or more.

• Duke is 7-2 on the year against ranked opponents, including a 4-1 mark against teams ranked in the top 10 of the AP Poll.

• The Blue Devils are 4-4 in NCAA Tournament play in the state of Texas, including a 3-1 mark in Houston (2-0 at NRG Stadium in 2010).

Last Time out

• Duke recorded a 68-49 win over San Diego State to advance to the Sweet 16 for the 24th time in program history.

• Jahlil Okafor scored 26 points on 12-of-16 shooting from the field and added six rebounds, two assists and three blocks in the win.

• Justise Winslow filled the stat sheet with 13 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, three blocks and four steals. He has collected 10 or more rebounds in each of the past three games.

• Quinn Cook added 15 points and five rebounds against the Aztecs.

• Duke shot 54.5 percent (30-of-55) from the field as Okafor, Winslow and Cook combined to go 24-of-39 (.615) from the floor.

By the numbers

• Mike Krzyzewski has guided Duke to 14 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearances in the past 18 years, most in the NCAA. The Blue Devils were 14-1 in the Round of 32 in that span.

• Jahlil Okafor is averaging 23.5 points on 77.8 percent (21-of-27) shooting through two NCAA Tournament games. He is the first Duke freshman to score 20 or more points in his first two NCAA Tournament contests. Dahntay Jones (2003) was the last Blue Devil to scored 20 or more points in the first three rounds of the NCAA Tournament.

• Quinn Cook is averaging a career-high 15.8 points per game while also posting career bests in field goal percentage (.460), three-point percentage (.407), three-point field goals (2.86 3pg.) and free throw percentage (.891).

• Duke is the only team in the NCAA with three freshmen averaging double figures in scoring. Jahlil Okafor (18.1 ppg.), Justise Winslow (12.1 ppg.) and Tyus Jones (11.4 ppg.) combine for 41.6 points per game (51.7 percent of Duke scoring). The trio has combined for 40 or more points in a game 21 times this season.

• A freshman has led the Blue Devils in scoring in 25 of 35 games. Jahlil Okafor has paced the offensive attack 14 times, while Tyus Jones (7), Justise Winslow (3) and Grayson Allen (1) have also led Duke in scoring. The rookie class has also accounted for 24 of Duke’s 31 20-point games on the year (Okafor 14, Jones 6, Winslow 3, Allen 1).

• Jahlil Okafor leads the ACC and ranks second nationally with a .677 field goal percentage (260-of-384). He has shot 70 percent or better from the field 20 times on the year. Okafor’s field goal percentage is second-best in Duke history, trailing only Christian Laettner’s .723 (115-of-159) field goal percentage as a freshman in 1989.

• Quinn Cook has made at least one three-point field goal in each of the past 45 games, tied for the fourth-longest streak in ACC history. He is shooting 41.1 percent (122-of-297) from behind the arc in that stretch. Cook has an ACC-high 100 three-point field goals this season.

• Duke’s starting backcourt of Quinn Cook and Tyus Jones has combined to shoot 88.7 percent (204-of-230) from the free throw line. The remaining six players in the Duke rotation are 301-of-501 (.601) from the charity stripe.

• Justise Winslow is averaging 14.1 points and 8.3 rebounds per game while shooting 55.2 percent (85-of-154) from the field, including 48.6 percent (18-of-37) from three-point range, over the past 16 games.

• Tyus Jones leads the Blue Devils in assists (203) and steals (53). Tommy Amaker (1984), Bobby Hurley (1990) and Jason Williams (2000) are the only Blue Devils to lead the team in both categories as freshmen. Jones, Hurley and Williams are the only Duke freshmen to record at least 200 assists and 50 steals in a season.

• Justise Winslow has grabbed 10 or more rebounds in each of the past three games and is now averaging 6.3 rebounds per game. He is looking to become the second player 6-6 or under to average 6.0 rpg. under Coach K. Chris Carrawell averaged 6.1 rpg. in 1999-2000.

• Duke is playing its 289th consecutive game as a ranked team in the AP Poll. The Blue Devils are 239-49 (.830) in that span.

• Duke has shot 50 percent or better from the field 18 times, including both NCAA Tournament games. The Blue Devils are shooting 58.7 percent (64-of-109) from the field in NCAA Tournament play and are one of three teams in the NCAA shooting over 50 percent on the year.