Category Archives: Duke Basketball

It’s Duke vs Michigan I at MSG – preview and pick

[private]While many fans were expecting UCLA to be in the finals, the Wolverines proved that their program was on the upswing with a 55-52 upset win.  Much of this is due to their new coach John Beilein who has his club at 3-0.

Many of you will remember Beilein as the coach of an inspired West Virginia team which knocked Duke out of the NCAA's last season.  That is one of the main story lines going in.  Another story line is that the Blue Devils travel to Ann Arbor on December 6th, meaning these two clubs twice in 15 days.

Michigan employs a tricky 1-3-1 zone which befuddled the Bruins.  The Wolverines got 19 points from DeShaun Sims who controlled the game in the paint.  Then there is Manny Harris and a cast of kids who can shoot the three, a Beilein trademark.

Duke shot more free throws than Michigan and UCLA hit and missed combined.  It's no secret that the Blue Devils will hope to get to the line again and I expect to see the ball go inside early and often in that Beilein will defend the three with his zone.

Another key will be which team dictates their tempo.  Duke wants to run up and down, while Michigan will be a bit more controlled or methodical.  Both teams have now adjusted to New York, but it's a mystery as to whether Michigan will play loose.  For that matter, Duke was pretty tight in the first half with their offense struggling.

I think Michigan will come out strong and implement their game plan, but as the game goes on, Duke will find a way to counter.  Once Duke has Michigan playing in transition, fouls should mount up.  Then again, if the 1-3-1 zone works as it's suppose to, passing lanes and relocation of the ball is difficult, which would force Duke to seek cutters to the rim.

While this may sound odd, if you are watching on TV, the rim to the right is extremely tight, while the one on the left seems loose.  This was evident to me in last seasons Duke-Pitt game.  In short, lets hope the Devils have the left rim last.

The pick here is Duke 84 Michigan 65[/private]

Duke rides 40 of 47 free throw shooting to win over Southern Illinois

[private]Duke got a little bit defensive on their way to a 83-58 win over Southern Illinois to advance to the finals of the 2K Coaches for Cancer Classic in New York City.  Going into the game, there was much talk of the Saluki's defense, but by games end Duke proved that they are known for their man to man prowess as well.

Duke shot an incredible 40 of 47 from the free throw stripe during a contest in which they struggled in the first half offensively.  The bright spot was Gerald Henderson who scored 20 points not to mention gaining the ESPN Play of the Day on a thunderous dunk.

He was helped by the continued good play of Brian Zoubek, who tallied 10 points and 6 rebounds in just 18 minutes of play.  Singler and Scheyr contribute 13 apiece, putting four Devils in double figures.  Duke advances to play Michigan, an upset winner over UCLA this evening.

The game went pretty much as our preview said it would in that Duke used the first game to adjust to MSG and got one of their key contributors in Henderson to step up.[/private]

Duke-Southern Illinois square off in MSG – Game Picks

[private]Duke returns to New York City once again, where they will face Southern Illinois in the semifinal of the Coaches for Cancer 2K Classic.  The game tips off just after 7:00 EST and will be televised on ESPN2.

Duke is coming off a close call at home versus Rhode Island and is facing a team which plays with a similar tenacity.  SIU is no pushover.  In fact, all week long people have raved about their defensive prowess which held opponents to well under 60 points per game last season.

The Saluki's are anchored on the inside by well rounded Carlton Fey and the back court is manned by Bryan Mullins.  There is little doubt that they will want to showcase their program to a national audience, especially against the team that gets everybody's best shot in Duke.

It will be interesting to see how the Devils respond.  In the past, Duke has blown through early games, but this is a team with a developing chemistry.  Coach Krzyzewski shortened his bench against the Rams, so one thing we'll watch for is if a freshman can step up on a national stage.

In the first few games, the freshman have looked like freshman, looking lost at times and reacting too slow and or with hyper speed or forcing the issue instead of letting the game come to them.

Then there is Greg Paulus who will not be 100%.   That means Nolan Smith will have to prove he's ready to take the next step as a leader.  More intriguing is the early play or lack thereof from Gerald Henderson.  "G" has all the tools to dominate aspects og the game, but has yet to put together a complete game and seems to be struggling to find his place in the chemistry.

Duke can likely count on Jon Scheyer and Kyle Singler for leadership and cool under pressure, but they will need help to get through the next two games. That help could come by way of Lance Thomas, who has shown he wants to be starting with his recent play.

I am of the opinion, that K is bring this team along at his pace, one which will help them develop come the ACC.  There have been time when Duke didn't play well in the limelight of the Big Apple, but SIU will be facing this stage for the first time in awhile.

I feel that Gerald Henderson will have a breakout game and that Duke will get balanced efforts from their cast in route to a win.  Look for the Devils to go at Fey early and often to get him in could trouble.  Fey is a solid defender, but the Saluki's will be challenged if Duke gets into their bench up front.

It will be vital that Duke gets good play from either Smith or Paulus as well.  While I certainly respect the tough opponent, I feel Rhode Island prepared Duke for this game and that K will in no way allow Duke to look ahead to possible match with UCLA.

The pick here is Duke 82 Southern Illinois 64[/private]

Duke-Southern Illinois Game Notes

[private]•  Game 4  • 2K Sports Classic Benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer
[10 AP/5 Coaches] Duke (3-0) vs. Southern Illinois (2-0)
Thursday, November 20, 2008  •  7:00 PM ET  •  espn2
Madison Square Garden (19,763)  •  New York, N.Y.
Game Quick Facts
TV: espn2; Dan Shulman (play-by-play), Bobby Knight (analyst), Doris Burke (sideline).
Radio: Duke Radio Network (flagship WDNC 620 AM in Durham); Reece Edwards (play-by-play), John Roth (analyst) and Matthew Laurance (sideline).
All-time Series: Duke leads the all-time series 2-1, including a 1-0 mark under Mike Krzyzewski. The Blue Devils have won the last two meetings in the series, including a 105-70 win in the opening round of the 1993 NCAA Tournament.
                                    Mike Krzyzewski
   Overall Record: 806-267 (34th year)
      Duke Record: 733-208 (29th year)
                        vs. Southern Illinois: 1-0
                                           Chris Lowery
          Overall Record: 98-41 (fifth year)
Southern Illinois Record: 98-41 (fifth year)
                                            vs. Duke: 0-0
Blue Devil Bits
l The Blue Devils are ranked 10th in the AP poll and fifth in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll. Southern Illinois is unranked in both polls.
l Duke is 3-0 on the year, marking the eighth straight year it has started with three straight wins.
l The Blue Devils have been ranked in 22 consecutive AP polls and in 225 of the last 227 polls.
l Duke is coming off a hard-fought 82-79 home win over Rhode Island on Sunday, Nov. 16. The victory extended the Blue Devils non-conference home win streak to an NCAA-best 62 games.
l Sophomore Kyle Singler was named ACC Co-Player of the Week (along with Clemson’s Trevor Booker) after leading Duke to wins over Presbyterian, Georgia Southern and Rhode Island. Singler averaged 19.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.3 blocks and 1.3 steals per game.
l Junior Jon Scheyer (23) and sophomore Kyle Singler (21) combined for 44 points in the win over Rhode Island. Scheyer and Singler became the first pair of Duke teammates to score 20+ points in the same game since Singler (26) and Greg Paulus (20) accomplished the feat against Maryland on February 13, 2008.
l Duke advanced to the semifinals of the 2008 2K Sports Classic with wins over Presbyterian (80-49) and Georgia Southern (97-54) at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Numbers Game
l Duke is 15-6 under Mike Krzyzewski at Madison Square Garden. Last season, the Blue Devils had a seven-game win streak at MSG snapped in a 65-64 overtime loss to Pittsburgh on Dec. 20.
l Nine of the previous 15 Duke games at Madison Square Garden have drawn at least 19,000 spectators.
l Sophomore Kyle Singler ranks fifth in the ACC in scoring at 19.7 points per game. He also ranks 13th in rebounding at 7.7 rpg.
l Jon Scheyer went 13-of-13 from the foul line in a 23-point effort against Rhode Island. His 13 free throws made without a miss is tied for the fourth-most in school history. Scheyer ranks second in Duke history with a .869 free throw percentage.
l Junior Lance Thomas had 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting against Rhode Island. He has come off the bench to score in double figures in two of Duke's first three games.
l Duke is 106-16 all-time in the month of November, including a 92-10 mark under Coach K.
l The Blue Devils have won 12 straight games in November and are 43-2 in the month since 1997-98.
l Mike Krzyzewski is fifth all-time (first among active coaches) with 806 career wins.
l Duke is 264-52 this decade, more wins than any other team in the NCAA.
l Duke is 5-2 all-time against teams currently in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Blue Devils have won 4 straight contests against Missouri Valley Conference opponents (last loss was 72-67 versus Southern Illinois on March 13, 1967).
l Sophomore Nolan Smith has reached double figures in scoring in all three games this season. He has raised his scoring average 6.8 points per game from last season and is currently third on the team in scoring at 12.7 ppg.
l Jon Scheyer and Kyle Singler combined to score 15 of Duke’s final 17 points against Rhode Island. The duo was 2-of-3 from the field and 10-of-10 from the foul line in the final 4:28 of the game.
l Sophomore Kyle Singler is averaging 9.7 free throw attempts per game this season. He is 23-of-29 (.793) from the foul line. Last year, Singler averaged just 3.1 free throw attemps per game.
l Duke is well represented in Dick Vitale and Dick Weiss’ latest book; Dick Vitale’s Fabulous 50 Players & Moments in College Basketball. Eight former Blue Devils (Christian Laettner [2], Johnny Dawkins [13], Grant Hill [15], Danny Ferry [18], Jason Williams [21], Shane Battier [25], Bobby Hurley [31] and J.J. Redick [44]) are listed among the top 50 players. Vitale and Weiss also ranked Laettner’s field goal at the buzzer to give Duke a double-overtime victory against Kentucky in the 1992 East Regional second overall among the Top 50 Moments of the last 30 years. Jeff Capel’s 40-foot shot to push the Feb. 2, 1995 Duke-North Carolina game into double-overtime was ranked eighth, while Duke’s 1991 NCAA semifinals win over previously unbeaten UNLV is 17th. Duke’s back-to-back NCAA titles (1991 & 1992) came in at No. 23 and the Blue Devils’ rally from a 22-point deficit to beat Maryland in the 2001 NCAA semifinals is No. 37. Duke’s final showing among the Top 50 moments is at No. 41 with the Miracle Minute at Cole Field House. Duke overcame a 10-point deficit in the final 60 seconds of play to top Maryland 98-96 in overtime on Jan. 27, 2001.[/private]

Coach K talks Southern Illinois, Paulus and Henderson

[private]The four participating coaches in the 2K Coaches for Cancer Classic had their teleconference at noon today.  Here are the majority of Coach K's comments -

On Team USA Basketball program -

A goal of ours is to bring USA Basketball throughout the age groups, like the seniors - the elite players.  This should filter down sand have the same level for the kids who are developing and those who will be an integral part.

On Coach Lowrey and Southern Illinois -

He is a really good player and we had an outstanding game.  Chris Collins played really well in that game and bobby Hurley.  We had a very good team.  We had Grant and Cherokee ... and they were really good.  Coach Lowrey is like an old school coach.  You know fundamentals.  His kids play really well together and each year they not only grow individually, they grow together.  The kid Mullins is really good - he's such a good leader for them.  He epitomizes the type of player that their program has had over the last ten or so years.  They've had some outstanding coaches and outstanding teams.  We have ultimate respect for them.  It's going to be a great game for us.

On Greg Paulus -

We were off yesterday for the mandatory day off, but he was in for treatment.  He's doing better.  You could tell he wasn't close to being 100% on Sunday.  If he doesn't get injured more in today's practice or tomorrow, we'll see how he can keep coming.  We need him.  Greg is an integral part of who we are as a basketball team.  In fact, we feel that he will be much better on Thursday.

Do you separate the Olympic and Duke experience?

You can't separate those things.  The experience you have as a coach, just accumulative ... the experience I've had coaching the Olympic team the last four years has helped me, immensely.  It's furthered me as a coach and the program here at Duke.  It's like getting a PHD in your sport.  It's helped me and I would never separate it because the lessons you learn just X'S and O's wise - the lessons you learn from other coaches and people you complete with.  They're all relevant as you go forward and now with my Duke job.

On Gerald Henderson -

"G" is can be that explosive player for us - the guy that can get his own shot.  I think up to now, he's putting a little too much pressure on himself.  He's putting too much pressure on every play trying to be that for us and I think once he gets into a good rhythm. He has a chance to be a better player, one of the best in the country.  He hasn't played like he wants to or like we wanted him to.  Hopefully, Madison Square Garden will bring out the best in him.

Link to Duke vs Southern Illinois Game Facts and Figures[/private]

John Wall talks of his Memphis visit and scheduling a trip to Duke

John Wall returned from his visit to Memphis on Sunday afternoon and he may pay a visit to Duke possibly on [private] Tuesday of this week, the day before the team leaves for the Coaches versus Cancer 2K Classic in New York.

"Probably some time next week or this week," said Wall on when that visit might take place.  I then

BDN Photography
BDN Photography

asked if Duke was a serious player at this time and Wall said, "I haven't been offered yet.  Coach K wants me to sit down and talk to him in person and we'll take it from there."

He seemed to have liked his visit to Memphis, bit didn't elaborate too much on how it went saying, "It went good.  I think it's a great school with a great environment.  The fans show support and it was a great visit over all."

When asked who would play the biggest role in his recruitment he stated, "Probably my Mom and my high school and AAU Coach, Brian Clifton."

Wall also has a criteria which has pretty much remained the same saying, "I'm looking at the style of play, how my relationship might go with the coach.  I like a style that lets you get up and down the court."

"The thing I most need to work on is my jump shot," said Wall.  That's about the only thing which needs polish for Wall is a cat quick point guard who plays good on ball defense and finds his teammates with his unselfish play and terrific passing ability.

"All the teams on my list have been aggressive," said Wall.  He continued to name his list and Duke was still in it.  "They had showed some interest before and explained to me how they recruit players and once they offer they stick with that player."

He was of course talking about Kenny Boynton, who recently selected Florida.  That opened the door for Wall.  He also stated that Coach K had handled the majority of the process.

I asked the young prospect to describe his game in his own words.  "I'd say clutch and I can lead my team to victory and get other people involved and he can lead his team to victory," said Wall.  As a person, he said, "I'm cool, like to have fun and try to be a good person."

For those of you think there might be an early verbal to a school, think again.  Wall stated, "I will wait until spring before I make a decision, that hasn't changed.  I'm still wide open."

Walls list of schools - Duke, NCSU, Baylor, Memphis, Kansas, Oregon, Clemson

His team's first game - November 28th [/private]