The N.C. Pro Am continued on the campus of N.C. Central University last evening and that means summer hoops action as players from Duke, North Carolina and N.C. State take to the court. Seth Curry scored 17 points helping lead his team to a win and BDN caught up to him after the contest –
The Duke Men’s Basketball team headed back to Durham yesterday morning where they turned their attention to the announcement of the 2012 NCAA Tournament pairings. As expected, Duke landed in Greensboro where they’ll take on Lehigh around 7:10 on Friday and should they advance, they take on the winner of the Notre Dame vs Xavier game. The Blue Devils have been one of the top eight seeds in 14 of the last 16 NCAA Tournaments.
Taking a quick look back at the ACC Tournament
I can assure you the team is already focused on Lehigh but let’s take a quick look back at what happened in the tournament. First off, it was clear that the Duke offense missed Ryan Kelly and that they were adjusting to his absence. The Blue Devils managed just 59.5 ppg while shooting 37% in the two games. The Blue Devils got 17 ppg from Austin Rivers and 12.5 from Seth Curry but the rest of the team struggled to score. Of course, that was partly due to playing some really hungry teams and the Duke defense played as well as it had all season, thus the close games. The loss to Florida State certainly hurt, but the Seminoles then beat North Carolina proving that they were the best team in Atlanta. Had Duke got another stop or had a made bucket here or there, they would have been in the final game. The Blue Devils have dominated the tournament in recent years winning 10 out of the last 14 and the experienced Seminoles won their first tournament ever. The Blue Devils played with effort but a few mental lapses proved their undoing but in the end, there is no shame in losing to a red hot FSU team that earned a 3rd seed in the NCAA Tournament with their play. The one thing which Duke will need to control going forward are their turnovers if they want to advance. The Blue Devils had but 8 against Virginia Tech but that number doubled against Florida State with a total of 16.
Duke was selected as the #2 seed in the South Region which means they will head to Greensboro and if they survive two games, they will head right back to Atlanta. One might call me biased, but the Blue Devils got one heck of a Road to the Final Four. The South Region features the #1 overall seed in Kentucky who will play on familiar turf. Then there are three of the last four teams from last seasons Final Four in the field not to mention the last two national champions. Duke faces a pesky Lehigh team in their opener and could run into Mike Brey and Notre Dame in the next game should they advance or an Xavier team that started the season ranked 14th in the A.P. poll. And then there is an ultra long and athletic Baylor team should they advance to Atlanta. It is clearly one of the two toughest regions and as I said, I think it’s the toughest of them all.
Battled tested Blue Devils
Duke is battled tested due to playing one of the toughest schedules in the land. With wins over Kansas, Michigan State, Michigan, North Carolina, Florida State they can play with anybody, so don’t think this team cannot make a run. This team now has some tough skin and they know what it is like to play in close games, be they high scoring or defensive stand offs. When the games get tight in the tournament and they will, Duke has been there before and that will certainly help.
Duke finishes 8th in the Coaches Poll
Rankings mean little right now, but unlike the A.P., the coaches poll comes out again after the conference tournaments and Duke is ranked 8th in the final poll. Duke started the season as the 6th rated team in the country.
Getting Andre going
Dawkins is in a shooting slump as teams have learned to play him for the three point shot and the Blue Devils could sure use one of his explosive 20 point efforts in the NCAA Tournament. Not a single point from Dawkins in the ACC Tournament is a red flag indeed and Dawkins is vital to the Blue Devils long term efforts. Sometimes a player just needs to do all the other things on the court, such as crashing the boards, a pass for an assist or a defensive play and let his offense come at it’s on pace. If Dawkins plays well off ball or without touches, his offense will come back.
Rivers has scored in double figures in 29 games this season and he’s been the Blue Devils most consistent scorer but his defense impressed me this weekend as did his hustle. If there was a loose ball on the floor, Rivers was there and his overall game is catching up to his offense. Rivers probably should have just pulled up for his missed three pointer against Florida State and that only proves that the freshman still has a few lessons to learn but perhaps the lessons to date will prove vital in the NCAA Tournament.
Day to day for Kelly
Ryan Kelly has made progress with his foot injury but it’s be slow going for the Duke junior in an attempt to fend of reinjury. Kelly is the 3rd leading scorer for Duke and his points were missed in Atlanta as was his ability to stretch a defense with this outside stroke. Here is to a quick recovery for a key player in the Duke rotation.
Duke NCAA Tournament Factoids
Duke is 12-0 when playing NCAA Tournament games in Greensboro, N.C. Duke won the 2001 NCAA Championship after playing its first two games in Greensboro. Duke has beaten a No. 1 seed eight times, the most No. 1 upsets in NCAA history. From 1991-93, the Blue Devils won 13 consecutive NCAA Tournament games which ranks as the second longest streak in NCAA history behind only John Wooden’s 38-game run at UCLA from 1964-74. As the No. 2 seed in the tournament, Duke owns a 23-7 record. Duke won the 1991 NCAA Championship as the No. 2 seed. Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski is 79-23 (.775) in the NCAA Tournament and is college basketball’s all-time leader in NCAA Tournament wins. North Carolina’s Roy Williams is the next closest active coach with 58 NCAA wins. Duke is 96-31 (756) all-time in the NCAA Tournament, ranked as the highest NCAA Tournament winning percentage of any program. Duke’s 96 wins are the third most behind Kentucky (105) and North Carolina (105) per Duke Sports Information.
A look at Lehigh
Lehigh gained an automatic NCAA bid as the Patriot League Champion and they ride an eight-game winning streak into tournament play. Lehigh has played NCAA Tournament teams Michigan State, losing 90-81 and Iowa State, losing 86-77 all on the road. Lehigh’s roster boasts the nation’s 5th leading score, C.J. McCollum (21.9 ppg.) This is the 5th NCAA Tournament for Lehigh.
And tickets remain for Greensboro at Ticketmaster for face value, so hustle up and support the Blue Devils!
[6 AP / 6 Coaches] Duke2 (26-5, 13-3) vs. Clemson7 (16-14, 8-8) / Virginia Tech10 (15-16, 4-12) winner
Friday, March 9, 2012 • 7:00 p.m. • ESPN2/ACC Network
The Opening Tip
• No. 2 seed Duke (26-5) received an opening-round bye and will face the winner of No. 7 seed Clemson and No. 10 seed Virginia Tech in the ACC Tournament Quarterfinals on Friday, March 9, at 7 p.m. in Phillips Arena.
• Mike Patrick (play-by-play), Len Elmore (analyst) and Jeannine Edwards (sideline) will call the game for ESPN2. Tim Brando (play-by-play), Cory Alexander (analyst) and Debbie Antonelli (sideline) will call the game for the ACC Network.
• Duke is ranked No. 6 in the AP Poll and in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. Neither Clemson nor Virginia Tech are ranked in either poll.
• Duke, Michigan State and North Carolina are the only teams in the NCAA to rank in the top 10 in RPI, Strength of Schedule, the AP and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls.
Duke in the ACC Tournament
• Duke has won three consecutive ACC Tournaments and 10 of the last 13 tournaments. Duke has won more ACC Tournaments (19) than any other ACC program.
• The Blue Devils are 90-39 (.698) all-time in the ACC Tournament, including a 52-17 (.754) record under head coach Mike Krzyzewski. Duke’s 90 victories are the most in ACC history.
• Coach K’s 13 ACC Tournament Championships are tied for the most in ACC history. His 52 wins are the second most in ACC Tournament history.
• Duke has won nine straight ACC Tournament games and is 35-4 in the tournament since 1998.
• Duke is 9-3 when the tournament is held in Atlanta, Ga. Duke has won the last two tournaments held in Atlanta (2001 & 2009).
• Nine of the last 13 ACC Tournament MVPs have been Blue Devils.
l Seth Curry is Duke’s active leading scorer in ACC Tournament play, averaging 10.7 points in three ACC Tournament games. Curry scored in double figures in all three games in 2011 and was named to the ACC All-Tournament second team.
l Duke enters the ACC Tournament as one of the top two seeds for the 31st time in the league’s 54-year history. The Blue Devils are a combined 63-17 (.788) when seeded No. 1 or No. 2 in the tournament and have won 13 of their 19 ACC Championships when seeded No. 1 or No. 2.
l Duke has had a 20-point scorer in eight of the last nine ACC Tournament games (all victories).
l Miles Plumlee has at least 10 rebounds in five of his last seven games and is averaging 11.9 rebounds per game during that span. He also averages 8.6 ppg. during that stretch with two double-doubles.
l Austin Rivers was named ACC Rookie of the Year and All-ACC first team, becoming only the seventh freshman in ACC history to earn All-ACC first team honors. Rivers leads Duke in scoring (15.3 ppg), double-figure scoring games (27), 20-point games (8) and minutes per game (32.9).
l Rivers ranks in the top 10 on Duke’s freshman record lists in points (6th – 459), scoring average (T-3rd – 15.3), field goals (9th – 154), field goal attempts (T-6th – 348), three-point field goals (5th – 54), three-point attempts (6th – 135), three-point percentage (6th – .393), free throws (T-8th – 98), free throw attempts (3rd – 152), minutes per game (8th – 32.8), double-figure scoring games (T-4th – 27) and 20-point games (T-5th – 8).
l For only the fourth time in school history, four Duke players — Andre Dawkins (66 made 3fgs), Seth Curry (59 3fgs), Austin Rivers (54 3fgs) and Ryan Kelly (40 3fgs)— have hit at least 40 three-pointers.
l Duke leads the ACC in both three-point percentage (.387) and made three-pointers (258). The Blue Devils have hit at least eight three-pointers in eight of the last 10 games.
l Duke is holding opponents to a .313 three-point shooting percentage this season and an average of just 4.5 three-pointers per game. ACC teams are shooting just .294 from the three-point line against Duke.
l Duke has been ranked in the top 10 of the AP Poll for 92 straight weeks, tied for the second-longest streak in NCAA history. Duke’s 95 consecutive weeks ranked in the AP Top-25 is the longest active streak in the NCAA.
l Duke has eight wins over teams that went on to win or share the regular season conference title in their respective conferences, including wins over power conference champions North Carolina (ACC), Kansas (Big 12), Michigan State and Michigan (Big Ten) and Washington (Pac-12). Duke has played 11 games against teams that won their conference this season.
BDN caught up to Duke freshman, Alex Murphy who chatted about the day in the life of a redshirt. Murphy has had an adjustment to not playing for the first time in his life this season but says this year will pay off. His concentration has been on getting stronger in the weight room and learning the Blue Devil system and while he thinks he could have helped this years team, he’s happy with the decision that was made and plans on being at Duke for a long time to come. Murphy also speaks to possibly playing for the Finnish National team this summer and more in this one on one interview conducted just before the North Carolina game in Cameron.
[5 AP / 4 Coaches] Duke (24-4, 11-2) vs. Virginia Tech (15-13, 4-9)
Saturday, February 25, 2012 • 12:00 p.m. • ACC Network
The Opening Tip
• Duke (24-4, 11-2) faces Virginia Tech in an ACC home contest on Saturday, Feb. 25 at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Tipoff is set for 12:00 p.m.
• Tim Brandt (play-by-play) and Cory Alexander (analyst) will call the game for the ACC Network.
• Duke is ranked No. 5 in the AP Poll and No. 4 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. The Blue Devils are 68-24 when ranked No. 5 in the AP Poll. Virginia Tech is not ranked in either poll.
• Duke is the only team in the NCAA to rank in the top 5 in RPI, Strength of Schedule as well as the AP and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls. Duke has three wins against top 10 teams in the RPI.
• The Blue Devils are 12-2 at home this season with both losses coming against ACC teams. Duke has not lost more than two games on Coach K Court since the 2006-07 season.
• With Thursday’s win at Florida State, Duke has assumed first place in the ACC standings.
Duke-Virginia Tech Series
• Duke and Virginia Tech have met 46 times heading into Saturday’s game with the first meeting between the two schools coming on Feb. 16, 1912.
• The Blue Devils lead the all-time series 38-8, including a 9-3 ledger since the Hokies joined the ACC.
• Duke won the previous meeting this season 75-60 in Blacksburg, Va., thanks to an 18-point effort from freshman Austin Rivers. Duke has won two in a row in the series and six of the last seven meetings.
• The Blue Devils are 15-1 against the Hokies in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
• Mike Krzyzewski is 9-3 at Duke against the Hokies, including a 4-1 record in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
• Six of Duke’s last seven wins over Virginia Tech have been by at least 12 points. Duke’s last three losses to Virginia Tech have been by no more than four points.
l Duke has been ranked in the top 10 of the AP Poll for 90 straight weeks, the third-longest streak in NCAA history.
l The Blue Devils are 13-3 on the year in games decided by 10 points or less. The Blue Devils have six wins in ACC play by less than 10 points. Duke’s 13 wins by 10 points or less are tied for the sixth most in school history.
l Duke averages 25.5 points per game off the bench with 11 games with 30 or more bench points. The Blue Devils have had a double-digit scorer off the bench in 21 of 28 games this season.
l Only four Duke teams have won their first seven ACC road games. The Blue Devils are 7-0 in ACC road games, joining the 2005-06, 1999-2000 and 1998-99 teams as the only groups to win their first seven ACC road contests. Duke has not gone undefeated in ACC road games since 1999-2000.
l Duke has hit at least eight three-pointers in seven straight games. During that streak, the Blue Devils are shooting 37.8 percent from three-point range while averaging 30.4 ppg. from three-pointers.
l Andre Dawkins leads the ACC with a .422 three-point shooting percentage. Dawkins is 65-of-154 from beyond the arc this season and ranks third in made three-pointers.
l Duke has a +15.7 scoring margin in Cameron Indoor Stadium and a +6.6 rebounding margin at home. The Blue Devils score an average of 82.9 points per game on Coach K Court while holding opponents to 67.2 points per game. Duke has outrebounded nine of 14 opponents at home.
l Duke’s perimeter defense has improved significantly over the last 13 games. Duke has held those 13 opponents to a .277 shooting percentage from beyond the arc and allowed just three of those teams to shoot better than .350 from three-point range.
l Austin Rivers leads Duke in scoring at 15.2 points per game and has reached double figures in 24 contests. He is attempting to become just the third Duke freshman to lead the team in scoring.
l Miles Plumlee is averaging 9.0 points and 11.5 rebounds over his last four games. He has two double-figure rebounding games and two double-figure scoring games during that span, including a Coach K-era record 22 boards against Maryland.
l Seth Curry has made 16 consecutive free throws and 35 of his last 38 free throw attempts. He ranks second in the ACC with an .884 free throw percentage, which would rank as the seventh highest single-season mark in school history.
l Duke has had at least four double-figure scorers in 16 games this season. The Blue Devils are 15-1 when at least four players score 10 points.
l Seven Duke players have started at least 10 games this season, tying the school record. Duke last had seven players with at least 10 starts in 2008-09.
The Duke Blue Devils (22-4, 9-2) headed north today to prepare for tomorrow evenings game against Boston College (8-18, 3-9). This is a game where the Blue Devils are heavily favored and for good reason. The Eagles have won just one of their last 10 games, but that one win was over Florida State at home, so anything can happen if you overlook a team.
The problem for the Eagles is that Duke will not overlook them and there is just too big a difference in talent to think another upset is in store. At the same time, this is one of those dreaded Sunday road games where the team just wants to get a win and then head back to Durham to prepare for the rematch with Florida State.
It’s unknown whether Seth Curry will play or not after twisting his ankle but regardless, this will be a game Duke should control from the outset if they get out to a lead. The Eagles want to keep this game in the 50’s and they’ll employ a methodical style trying to accomplish this. The Eagles are led by Ryan Anderson, one of the better freshman in the league. He’ll get help from fellow freshman Dennis Clifford and Patrick Heckmann, while junior Matt Humphrey provides leadership.
Duke should control the paint and will likely go to the Plumlee brothers, Mason and Miles early and often. The Blue Devils half court defense will be key in that the Eagles only run if they can and that is not often. Even on the road this game looks like a huge mismatch for me. If Duke pushes their three point shooter off the line, they’ll succeed.
No need for heroics in this one. Look for Duke to dominate the boards and cruise to a 77-58 win.