Winston Salem, NC -The Duke Blue Devils had little trouble in disposing of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons 79-71 in Winston Salem on Tuesday evening. With the win the Blue Devils for to 26-4 overall and 13-2 in the ACC. The win sets up the battle for the regular season title with North Carolina this Saturday.
Once the Blue Devils gained control and held a huge working margin for most of the game but Wake mounted a late comeback to make the game interesting. Duke once held a 65-42 lead and were outscored 43-40 in the second half.
There were times in the game when you could hear only Duke fans chanting "Let's go Duke," and the Duke players all mentioned this in the locker room after the contest.
The Blue Devils were led in scoring by Ryan Kelly with 23 points to go with 8 rebounds. He was followed in scoring by Seth Curry with 15, Mason Plumlee with 12 and Austin Rivers with 10 to round out the double figure scorers.
Once again, the three ball was kind to Duke as they knocked down 10 of 20 which translated into 30 of their 79 points. The Duke bench outscored the Deacons by a 21-10 margin and the Blue Devils held a 39-29 advantage on the boards.
Duke moves to 11-10 in games played in Lawrence Coliseum and Coach K is now 41-23 all time against the Deacons. But the most impressive stat is the fact that Duke is one of four teams to go 8-0 on the road in the ACC this season and that earned the praise of Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski in his post game press conference.
Another positive in this game was Mason Plumlee going 8 of 9 from the free throw stripe. Here are two BDN Videos for you to hear Coach K's comments -
The Duke Blue Devils coasted past Boston College last evening setting up a huge rematch against Florida State this week and BDN Monday Musings takes a look back and ahead.
Duke too much for Boston College
After a slow start, the Blue Devils waltzed past the Boston College Eagles 75-50 and that kept them in a three way tie for first place. A tremendous 45-21 rebounding edge and pounding the offensive glass gave Duke the win but this game is less than memorable after the Blue Devils have won a couple high profile and talked about games. But Duke took care of business and returned to snow dusted Durham healthy and well. The 25 point margin was the larger in the series for Duke who holds a 14-2 edge in the series. Duke held the hapless Eagles without a field goal for a 14 minute plus stretch. Folks point to the Blue Devils defensive numbers being down this season and this game will help those numbers but has anyone taken into consideration the Blue Devils strength of schedule his season and that they haven't played the sisters of the poor? Just sayin'
If you've been paying close attention to the last few games, the Blue Devils are getting improved chemistry from it's guard tandem of Seth Curry and Austin Rivers. This is a good thing for Duke in that the two have become the top two scoring options on the team. You will continue to see Rivers with the ball in his hands at crunch time and Curry has a constant green light to shoot on the offensive end. Both will need to show up big against Florida State in Tallahassee this week.
Coach K on the Dan Patrick Show
Duke Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski appeared on the Dan Patrick show today where he addressed "Linsanity," an this seasons team. When asked which president he'd have a drink with if he could, Krzyzewski responded that he'd like to have a glass of wine with George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, the founding fathers. Patrick asked, but what if Washington was a UNC fan tongue in cheek. Krzyzewski responded by saying, "He's not a Carolina fan or he wouldn't be after a few bottles of wine." Kyrie Irving was also on the show and spoke of keeping up with Josh Hairston and his happiness that Rivers shot beat the aforementioned rival North Carolina.
ESPN GameDay is coming to Durham for UNC-Duke Game
The GameDay crew of Reece Davis, former Duke player Jay Bilas, former coaches Digger Phelps and Bob Knight and former UNC player Hubert Davis will broadcast live from Cameron Indoor Stadium during the North Carolina at Duke game on March 3rd. Former players and guests will appear. More details to come from BDN as the event nears. In the past, some fans just come for the atmosphere and then watch the game locally. Tickets to a Duke and UNC game are next to impossible to obtain in Cameron without giving away your first born or a large section of your wallet.
Another reminder for Greensboro
The first round of the NCAA Tournament in Greensboro will feature Duke and North Carolina and tickets are still available, so go to ticketmaster and get them now and show off your royal blue colors in an effort to move the team on.
Coach K post game comments
Here are a few comments from Coach K on yesterday's game where Terry Rains represented the Nation in these two BDN Vids
DURHAM, N.C. - Duke Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski entered a sweltering and packed media room in Cameron Indoor Stadium and he wanted no part of fielding questions about the Blue Devils perceived or real short comings or areas of needed improvement. And who can blame him? His team just pulled off an amazing comeback victory over a game N.C. State Wolfpack team that led his Blue Devils by 20 points with 11:33 on the clock in the second half.
Once again, Austin Rivers hit a huge three point shot with 2:26 left giving Duke a 73-71 lead and one they'd hold onto ending the game with a 78-73 victory keeping them in a three way tie atop the conference. "When we made that run, I could just feel it. I could just feel it. I felt confident. I love those games," said an elated Rivers.
While he may have liked the outcome, he was quick to say as did other Blue Devils that they cannot keep digging holes and expect to comeback. In a span of eight days, Austin hit two of the biggest shots of the season with one being a dagger to the heart buzzer beater over arch rival North Carolina.
To give you an idea of the ferocity of the comeback, it was the largest in the Krzyzewski era, down 14 in the half. "That was an amazing win," said the Hall of Fame coach who broke the all time NCAA win mark this season. He continued, "I thought our fans were terrific, they never let us die."
And Cameron did rock and it sounded like jet aircraft taking off the runway when Rivers nailed the three to put Duke ahead for good. There were times when every fan in the old girl were standing and it has been while since the collective did that.
While it seemed bleak for much of the game, the first 29 minutes to be exact, Duke kept the faith, their heart and never quit which payed off in a most big way. "They thoroughly outplayed us for close to 29 minutes but we thoroughly outplayed them for 11," said Krzzyewski.
And those 11 minutes were amazing (37-13 run to end the game) for a Duke team that has set the tone for ACC drama of late. A quick look at the message boards, showed a lot of fans giving up, just as they had in the North Carolina game, only to all come back and dine on a crow sandwich as they celebrated another incredible and impossible to script win.
"Heroic," was the word Krzyzewski used for Seth Curry in the post game and man was he on the mark. The junior went to the sidelines with what seemed like a game ending injury and he was escorted to the training room by Duke trainer Jose Fonsesca. Curry told Fonseca that he didn't know if he could make a go of it according to Krzyzewski, but he was told he had to and he did and in the process had a story book 2nd half.
Curry dropped 21 of his team high 26 points in the second half in what I feel was his best game of the season. He drew praise from his coach for his strong play with the ball in his hands and he was a match up nightmare for the befuddled Wolfpack team. "That was a heroic performance by Seth," said Krzyzewski. Duke will scheduled to take a look at his injury today to see if he is a go for Boston College this Sunday.
Now back to Krzyzewski and that hot media room. A mildly flustered Krzyzewski when questioned by media said, "No, no, no,"when questioned about his concerns. "You know what I am concerned with today? A celebration of a great win. Whatever string of things happened, we are 22-4 and ranked in the top five of the RPI all season long. We're not a perfect team, but we're a good team," stated the long time Duke head coach.
And he is right. Far too often the media and especially the fan base expect perfection yet overlook the fact of the seasons accomplishments to date. The bottom line is Duke won and they are winning and they are competing with anyone. Go back and harp on a loss at Ohio State if you like, but this is a better team now and a resilient one at that.
And keep in mind how tired Duke was after starting the season off in China and Dubai, then to Hawaii, New York and then Columbus where they faced a team that had nine days rest and had not played away from home with the Buckeyes. Just sayin'
While there is no take charge leader on this years team, there is a perpetual will to get better and win and the Blue Devils continue to find ways of hanging around in the top five ranked teams in the country. This Blue Devils team is finding ways to win in tough situations and that is the mark of a winner.
Pundits, critics and haters will continue to speak of the short comings of Duke while not recognizing their amazing success and a string of two memorable victories. The media is just like that, some say doing there job, but the fan base should know better and if you haven't noticed yet, this team is pretty darn good and still learning.
Sit back and enjoy the season as it winds down and leave the nit picking to others. This team has been amazing and it is time to give the Devils their due.
It's gameday for Duke at North Carolina and if one lives in the Triangle area almost everywhere you go or look, somebody is wearing a shade of blue. When the Blue Devils and Tar Heels come together, it's as if time stops until games end and once that happens one fanbase is extremely elated while the other deals with a tough couple of days.
Whether one walks into a convenience store, sits down to eat in a restaurant, works out in a gym, takes the kids to kindergarten, somebody is likely to ask you with often times a southern drawl, "Who you got tonight?" followed by a little smack talk as they bait you into conversation. Some fans even worry themselves into a frenzy making one wonder if their should be a new addition to the DSMV manual. Work productivity goes way down and sports bars make a killing.
Fans gather in droves to watch the game in a mix of both dark and light blue. Others couldn't watch a game with the other side if they had to. Many will put on their lucky charms and colors, some will go through rituals. You can almost hear the pacing in households afar once the game starts and all hang on every single play, every call and ride a roller coaster of emotion that leaves them drenched in sweat from the stress by nights end.
A bit later, I will meet with a co worker to eat and then head to Chapel Hill to the Dean Dome which is mere minutes from Duke University where car flags will be a flapping and the color goes to a lighter hue as you approach. Once checked in, it's off to the media area for me, setting up a good two hours in advance and then talking with the throng of reporters from both far and near as the teams begin to warm up in the background. And while the media cannot cheer on press row and must remain professional and objectionable, you can read their faces and clearly see who they're for and trust me, eveybody has a dog in this race if you are local media.
Anyhow, here are a bunch of random thoughts going into tonight's game -
UNC favored by 6 points
When the line came out it caused several folks to raise an eyebrow. Every single media person I have spoken to this week thinks UNC will win this game easily and or that the line is too low. Many feel they'll go double digits on Duke and never look back and local bookies have added points to that total to try and keep money coming in on Duke. I in no way advocate betting and only speak of this for entertainment purposes and trust me gambling has a dark side, so beware. And while I am at it, if you are goaded into a sucker bet by the opposing fans and friends, it's your own fault. If you want to take the chance of wearing the other teams colors for a week at work, go right ahead;)
Numbers, stats and more numbers
Everywhere you look there are people throwing out numbers and they prove to be quite interesting. Duke has won 20 of the last 30 against UNC, Duke is even at the Dean Dome ... so on. The truth of the matter though, is that when these two teams get together, you can throw conventional wisdom out the window. But while I seem to be making fun of the numbers, I still read them and here is a must read article from my friend, Al Featherston at Duke Basketball Report that is well worth your time.
The biggest advantage for UNC is ...
It is not their front court of Barnes, Henson and Zeller. It is not Kendall Marshall, the league leader in assists. It is their experience. The aforementioned front line all returned for UNC when all of them could have gone in the first round in the NBA draft. These guys are battle tested now and for the most part the Tar Heels are an old team. The Tar Heels fast break finishes a close second in my book and Duke must control the glass enough against the leagues best rebounding team to win.
Who is ready to step up for Duke?
Is there a Fred Lind or Reggie Love in the group? Lind, then a bench warmer, went off against UNC in the sixties and has become a legend for his performance when Duke starting center Mike Lewis fouled out. Love, a former Barrack Obama aide was a walk on from the football team that filled in when Duke had injuries to Carlos Boozer, outplaying his UNC opponent which helped Duke close out the Heels in their backyard. For Duke to win tonight, it will likely take a player or players stepping up their game to a beyond normal level.
The last time out ...
Duke rocked UNC at the ACC Tournament and proceeded to cut the nets. But that team had Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith. Nolan scored 20 plus points in that game and dished out 10 assists. This years Duke team is averaging just under 13 assists per contest combined. Again, I point to experience and you can bet they'll miss those dimes and Smittys' on ball defense. Remembering that loss could serve a a plus side intangible for the Tar Heels, who will be hell bent on revenge.
Plumlees have had success
Duke will need to hit the boards as a team tonight but I feel many are underestimating the abilities of Team Plumlee. Both Mason and Miles have had success against the UNC front court but that help side defense from Singler is missing and Kelly and others will have to fill that role. The key for Duke will be to keep Mason out of early foul trouble and to adjust as a team to the way the game will be called.
Young Devils will need to step up
This will be Austin Rivers first trip to Chapel Hill and freshman past, not matter how good they are have taken a beating at times in this series. Rivers will be a focal point for the Tar Heels defense and seeing if he can rise past that attention will be interesting. Quinn Cook will also need to be calm cool and collected and that will not be easy in a hostile environment. Here is ESPN on how freshman will play key roles in the game.
A Duke loss will add pressure to the team
If Duke loses to UNC this evening and Florida State and N.C. State win along with Miami and Virginia which is all likely to happen, the Blue Devils will find themselves in a three way tie for 4th place in the ACC. That in turn will make my job hard as much of the fan base will freak out on the message boards and quite frankly I do not look forward to that happening. So, be forewarned that this loss could be devastating but keep your composure please and be a good and supportive fan. Also, Duke would then face an N.C State team in Cameron this weekend that is a half game ahead in the standings. Funny how big that game has suddenly become and getting that 20th win can get harder and harder until a victory is achieved.
That darn Harry guy ...
Harrison Barnes spurned Duke at the midnight hour and then chose UNC but he didn't exactly do it in what many would consider proper decorum. His clunky Skype lives as a reminder to other stars not to go that route and few have done so since that time. Interestingly, Barnes immediately starting loathing Duke after his decision and he is perhaps one of the more detested Tar Heels for Blue Devil fans. But Barnes leads his team in scoring and the talk in media rooms is if the Tar Heels will get four players on first team All ACC. Barnes is a huge matchup problem for Duke and any other team and he took a mild shot over the bow as he mentioned that Kyle Singler was gone and that he'd gladly take shorter players to the rack.
On paper it looks like a UNC win
Everything points to a UNC victory in paper. Duke has lost two of their last three conference games in Cameron and Krzyzewski has been looking for upper classmen to step up. UNC has up to four 1st team All ACC players starting. That game is in Chapel Hill and the Blue Devils seem to still be coming together as a team. But you know what? Duke has a chance any time they step on the court. Duke has been beat down of late but if the team plays together anything can happen and that's why we watch the games. My objectionable pick would be for the Tar Heels to win but my heart says Duke can pull off a shocker and make all the aforementioned worries go to the wayside.
Don't hold me to all the numbers mentioned for everything here was off the top of my head and just random thoughts before tonight's game. BDN will be in the house to bring you live tweets and post game chats with the players, so stay tuned for our usual wall to wall coverage. And yes, I am homer media, so I can get away with saying, "GTHC, GTH!" It should be a lot of fun as the best rivalry in all sports is once again upon us.
No more Super Bowl day games for Duke, I say! The Blue Devils fell in overtime to Miami for their second ACC loss of the season in Cameron Indoor Stadium and their third straight loss on Super Bowl Sunday. They must now pick up the pieces for the coming media blitz and hype which is known at the Duke-Carolina game. Monday Musings takes a look at a litle bit of everything today and with that let's get the ball rolling.
In search of the right buttons
The Duke Men's staff has tried to shake up the lineup and they've tried to figure out ways to get to this years team to play together and smart. Early in the season it worked for Duke holds nice wins over Kansas and Michigan and Michigan State, but since that time the team has struggled a bit and of all places at home. The reason I say, a bit, is because they could have easily won their games against Miami and Florida State with a couple of made shots or execution. The frustration on Coach Krzyzewski's face was evident yesterday and he is trying to figure out a way to get his team to play a full 40-45 minutes of what is known as "Duke Basketball," and their year in and out lofty expectations. Just when you thought the team had reached deep and turned a corner, they fell back into some bad habits. I hate to say this, but this years team seems a bit soft at times and there were some loose balls and rebounds missed that could have turned the tide in their two ACC losses. You see, Krzyzewski wants all his teams to win the regular season, but yesterday, those hopes took a major hit and it is not acceptable by his standards.
Growing pains for freshman
Quinn Cook came off the bench to spark Duke in a big way yesterday, but at games end he throws up an inexplicable wild runner with the outcome on the line and nobody in position to board late in the game. It was a critical mistake and one of several which changed the games outcome. But before you give up on Cook, realize that he now has an assist to turnover ratio of 3.33 to 1 which is the best of any freshman ever at Duke. And just ask the assistants on the bench or go back and look at tape on any of the former PG's in their freshman years and they all had growing pains or a lapse when the game was on the line. And the good news is the rest of the aforementioned or former freshman I alluded to all learned and helped Duke to many victories.
Duke gets all the calls ... yeah, right
You will never see the staff blame the refs for a loss, nor me for that matter. But those who think Duke gets all the calls haven't been paying attention of late. It's funny how Karl Hess is well known by the Crazies and the Blue Devils record is, well, just look it up under him. But the real crime is with the game on the line, none of the three refs were seemingly paying attention to the Duke head coach who was doing everything he could to call a timeout. In my experience, a ref is almost always near the bench in those instances or at least aware the game is on the line and paying attention. That in no way caused the loss, but it sure makes one wonder of yet another what if.
The elephant in the room for me was ...
The Cameron Crazies have been in the news more than I care to see this season and for good or maybe I should say, bad reasons. There have been so many articles on this of late that I can honestly tell you I read maybe one. But there is a problem and it is a huge one and the university itself needs to figure out a way to resolve this before the bottom tier of the stadium is dominated by average fans. The turnout yesterday was deplorable at best and I heard many reasons from the CC's which sit behind me. For the record the Crazies who come on a regular basis are great and I mean that, but what on earth is happening to where students will not come to a Duke game when it is free? I could put together a book on how they just aren't the same anymore but that just seems a waste of time when the season is in full swing. Maybe it's time the scrap everything and start fresh, I don't know, nor can I personally do more than complain that I miss the atmosphere that has made the stadium so famous through the years. Seriously, former Crazies never used the same chant for a player in a game more than once and there was a brain trust who came up with some outrageously witty and fun cheers. Coach stopped short of saying the Crazies had anything to do with the loss when asked by media members seeking yet more ammunition for articles. He instead blamed his team for the loss and he was right, but he did mention atmosphere and if you have been around as long as I have, you easily read between the lines of what was said.
Everything was off
The air was ripe for an upset in so many ways. On message boards fans wanted to fast forward to the UNC game this Wednesday evening and overlooked Miami, a team projected #5 in the ACC this season. Then the team looked flat and almost sleep walked through the first half and in the process dug a hole too deep to climb out of. And then the aforementioned worst turnout of the season by the Crazies which has caused a ton of negative media towards the program didn't help. But I can tell you this for a fact, Duke did not overlook Miami and they were not looking ahead to the UNC game. Nope, it was just one of those foul, unusual days where all alligned in a not so good way.
UNC at Duke Women
Before the men's team play this week, the women get it going this evening in Cameron Indoor Stadium. This is always a spirited and entertaining affair and tickets are cheap, so tuen out and cheer on the Blue Devils as they try to maintain their hold on first place in the ACC.
And the hype begins
There is no doubt that yesterdays upset loss to Miami tarnished the upcoming Duke at UNC game a bit for you always want to come off a win. But the hype begins today with a Coach K press conference and players talking about the game and BDN will be there and remain for the Duke vs UNC women's game, so stay tuned for a lot of coverage all the way through the game.
It's the end of the world as we know it, but not really
As usual, any Duke loss this season is met with the Chicken Little effect from many fans and it is the end of the world as we know it, but nothing is fine. Okay, that was a bad play on an old song. Duke is a few plays away from being 21-2 and there is plenty of balling left. There are some red flags for sure, but this Duke team has 19 wins against a difficult schedule. Some Duke fans need to suck it up, just like our team will do. Support your Blue Devils when they need it most. Duke was down 16 points yesterday and staged a comeback which fell short. Krzyzewski will find a way to get his kids to play together and with a collective heart and make a run when it counts in March and the lessons learned will help along the way. Remember, this team lost Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler and Kyrie Irving and they are young at many key positions.