Ready for some Duke Football and Basketball chatter? Welcome to another edition of Monday Musings to kick off your week. This week we prep for basketball, talk of Coach K's NBA viewing habits and a the big win over Pitt and what to expect from Syracuse on the football side of things.
Duke tabbed a slight favorite over Syracuse
Coming off a big win over Pittsburgh, Duke will waste little time in turning their attention to a pending road trip to Syracuse. Their focus is a good thing, because the Orange are better than their record indicates in that they played a challenging slate to date. In fact, Vegas who labeled Pitt as a FG favorite last weekend, this time gives the edge to the Blue Devils by 3 in their opening lines. That makes for what should be a close game on the surface. What Vegas knows is that Syracuse actually plays pretty good defense (held Clemson to 16 and Louisville to 20) and that they'll be scrapping for some wins to become bowl eligible. The good news is that Duke will not have to face nasty weather in that this game will be in the Carrier Dome. Add to that, players are generally quicker on turf and Duke is built for speed and one has to like the Blue Devils chances to further secure their division leading record. Duke Coach David Cutcliffe has instilled a one game at a time mentality in his team which worked well a season ago. Duke will likely be favored in all of their remaining games against ACC opponents, but the margin will not be great, thus the aforementioned focus will be the key to success.
What the Pitt win meant ...
Had Duke lost to the Panthers, they'd have been mired in the middle of a crowded ACC Coastal race. In fact, the Panthers would have moved ahead of them had Duke not won an exciting overtime game. A week ago, some reporters were wasting air on questions pertaining to all the teams going 4-4. Now, it is clear that the Coastal Division race is down to three teams, those being Duke, Georgia Tech and Miami. The Pitt win further enabled the Blue Devils to control their own destiny. If they win out, they'll play in the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte back to back years. They can still lose up to one game and come out ahead, but that would mean some help along the way. Miami has a key home game with Florida State looming where Duke fans should be helping with the Tomahawk Chop cheers. The Yellow Jackets would need a win over a tough Clemson team, for Duke would win the tie breaker if they finished the season with even records. There are other games on the Jackets and Canes schedules for sure, but these mentioned are the ones to watch. This is where I refer you back to the perfect Duke strategy of taking it one game at a time. A second consecutive Coastal Division crown is within grasp if they do the work. Lastly, the victory over Pitt meant an ascent in both polls. Duke is now ranked 20th in the land by the coaches poll and 22nd in the A.P. How cool is it for Duke fans to be firmly in the first annual top 25 of the College Bowl Playoff rankings in its first season of existence? They'll move up a couple of spot there too from 24th by the end of Tuesday evening.
Duke Radio Show Moved
The Washington Duke Inn sits on campus near Wallace Wade and Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke Coach David Cutliffe joins Art Chase each Tuesday to talk Duke Football at the Vista Restaurant. This week, the event which is carried locally by 620 the Buzz has been moved up to 5:00 to help accommodate the men's basketball teams opening game at 7:00 versus Livingstone. If you are going to the game, you can stop by the Inn and listen in live or just tune in a little bit earlier on the radio.
Speaking of Basketball ....
Duke finally gets to play somebody other than themselves on Tuesday evening when they take on Livingstone in the first of two exhibition games. Duke was tabbed by the media to win the top-heavy ACC this past week where four teams are in the nation's top 10 ranked teams. Cameron will be rocking as Mike Krzyewski debuts his team to the masses. This will also be the season when the man known as Coach K gains his unprecedented 1000th win as a collegiate basketball coach. Add that to an exciting freshman class led by Jahlil Okafor and some key returning players and you have the makings for yet another enjoyable and possibly magical season. The Blue Devils held an open practice this past weekend which was very well attended despite the football team playing at the same time. It is also worth mentioning that the women's team walloped their opponent in an exhibition game to start their hoops season.
Coach K and the NBA
I was able to ask the last question to Coach Mike Krzyzewski during media day at the recently concluded ACC Operation Basketball. I asked of his viewing diet of basketball games during the season, specifically the NBA. It should come as no surprise that Coach K is an avid follower of the league being the Team USA coach, but I wondered how many games he watched in season. The answer is many, Krzyzewski said that his TV was constantly tuned into NBA games but that the sound was not always on. He basically compared watching the games in the back drop while he worked on his teams strategy to music. If he sees a play that catches his eye, he rewinds it and turns the sound up. So, his comparison was much like we all get into music. If a tune catches you, it becomes in grained in your taste palette. The same can be said for plays he might implement or build on for his teams once he sees it. In short, good plays are to his eyes, like good tunes are to his ears.
Virginia Tech at Duke Kickoff Time Announced
The Virginia Tech at Duke game will has a newly slated noon kickoff time in Wallace Wade Stadium. The game will be televised on ESPNU.
Be sure to check out our football player interviews after the win over Pitt in our football section. Also, tune in tomorrow after a busy media day where Blue Devil Nation will cover Cut's presser and Coach K and company as they embark on the hoops season. Also follow our staff on our twitter network and join our open Facebook Group, Blue Devil Nation which is a place for Duke fans to hang out. See you at the games!