Tag Archives: Duke NCAA Tournament

Brian Zoubek Interview – Zoubs talks of this team being more prepared for the NCAA’s

Zoubek addresses the media - BDN Photo
Zoubek addresses the media - BDN Photo

How did you like going up against Soloman Alabi of Florida State?


Yeah.  I really enjoy playing against guys my size.

What did you learn from the Belmont game last season?

Actually, Belmont was a good team and they played really well, but for us, it was definitely a lesson not to look forward to the next game.  Everybody is hungry and a champion out there for the most part.  I know Binghamton is, so they know how to win.  It'll be a good game.

Has the team learned anything from going out within the first two games the last two times out?

If we haven't learned from the last two years, then it's pretty stupid of us.  It's different this year obviously.  Look what we have accomplished so far and we're not done and are ready to move on.  We're definitely more confident this year.  It's a lot harder when you come off two losses to North Carolina and Clemson.  This year it is a completely different story.  I think we are just happy to be playing.  There is not much of a difference in what we do each   day.  But, I think we are in a better place mentally and physically.  We're not as worn down as we were and are ready to go.

What kind of role do you see yourself playing in the tournament?

I think I can play a key role.  It's a little bit harder for me to play against some of the smaller teams, like Maryland where there center goes out and shoots threes a bunch.  I mean going in against Florida State - it was a huge role for me.  And if we advance, there are Texas and Pitt ... there is a lot of good teams out there with big guys. 

Can you talk about Lance Thomas and his contributions?

His play has  been huge.  He is literally our best defensive stopper from position one to five.  That's a huge key for us.  It allows for us to be really strong when we switch off and not have any downside.

In Atlanta, there were lots of Carolina fans cheering against you and Greensboro could be much the same, does that bother you?

I think it's tough.  There are so many Carolina fans around here.  But I think that we feed off of that and we like it.  We play like environments like that a lot and we hear it, whether it is during the day or outside of basketball.  We are just looking forward to taking care of business and that's how we are going to make our statement.  It's nice not to have to wait on a plane to get ready because it takes a toll on you.  Just to be able to go on the bus spend some time with the team and get ready to play.  So, being close is huge.

Concerning Coach K's adjustments and playing close games -

I think it's been really important in that a couple of the games we had against BC and Maryland.  We might have lost them last year and having that experience and not panicking when they hit a few shots or come back and make it close.  We were down against BC but came back and we were ready to move on and move past them.  So, that shows some maturity.

Is the team looser going into the NCAA's?

The team is not as uptight.  Like, I said against BC it's easy to panic and worry about your shots or every little thing that goes on and it can effect your game.  What we do is try to concentrate on what we know we can do well and that's play defense and rebound and if we do that the offense is going to come around.

Nolan Smith Interview (Edited)- Smith talks of coming back from injury and the NCAA’s

Duke is preparing for Binghamton
Duke is preparing for Binghamton

Nolan Smith sat down with the media today and talked about the upcoming NCAA Tournament -

Is that dunk on youtube.com yet?

I'm sure it is, everything gets on you tube.

How well do you know Kevin Broadus, the coach of Binghamton?

I know him very well, he recruited me when he was at Georgetown and he's a family friend.  I have a good relationship with him.  My stepfather, Curtis Malone, knows him through recruiting.  They've known each other for a long time.  It's going to be fun playing against him.  Hopefully, he'll let me get off.

Do you know anything about the Binghamton players?

I know one of them, Emanuel Mayben and Rivera, I've played with him in AAU.

How does the team feel going into the tournament?  How do you feel?

Right now, I feel great, the team feels great and we are in the best shape we've been in a long time.  Coming off an ACC Championship ... we're very excited being champions going into the tournament.  We feel fresh, we're ready to play.  Last year guys were getting worn down towards the end of the year, playing so hard throughout the season.  We did the same thing this year, but we did things differently as far as practice schedules, keeping guys fresh.

On sitting out during his injury and coming back -

After the concussion, I had to sit out  and it helped me.  I was able to sit back and watch the team practice and in three games.  I knew coming back where I fit in and what I could do to get my minutes back to where they were earlier.  Right now, I'm in a great place and hope to make a charge at the NCAA Tournament Championship.

On whether he knew he'd play thirty minutes in the ACC tournament on Saturday -

No, I didn't.  I had a good practice the day before we left to go to Atlanta.  The first game I played 18 minutes, but they were good minutes.  I wasn't that confident I was going to play that many minutes.  But Coach called my name and I was ready.   I got a little winded, but coach gave me the rest I needed and put me back in.  I felt great from there on.

Kyle seemed to get tired at the end of last season..

Oh yeah, definitely.  Kyle at the end of last year, he looked tired.  He'd be laying in the training room for hours after practice, but now he is back joking around and having fun.  He feels great, he's playing great and everybody is rejuvenated now.  Our practices are great, we are going hard for an hour or an hour and thirty minutes and we get what we have to done.

Do you feel that the team learned from the Belmont game last year?

Um, yeah.  I'd say so.  We know that we can't overlook anybody.  They played us down to the wire, so going into this game, we have to play great and play one game at a time as if it was our last one.

Scheyer has a new role as the PG.  What do you feel like your role will be going into the tournament?

My role going into this tournament is going to be to play defense and continue to drive the ball strong and make plays.  Be aggressive like I was this weekend and be aggressive when I play off the ball.  I still have some work to do at the point, but off the ball, I'm a lot more comfortable when I get the ball.  If I have the ball and Jon (Scheyer) is on the wing, I can try to make something at the point.  There are going to be different situations where I am going to have the ball and Jon is on the wing.  I'm getting a good feel of what needs to be done at the point guard spot, seeing how well Jon is running it.  It's been a learning experience watching him play point.

On the team protecting the ball better with Scheyer at the point -

Not turning the ball over helps our offense.  We feel like we can get a good shot down the court every time.  And if we can do that, it'll help our defense.  A lot of teams  don't want to play against our set defense, so if we don't turn the ball over we feel like we are going to score when we get a good look.

NCAA Round I – Duke vs Binghampton Game Notes

kGame 35  •  NCAA Tournament First Round  •   East Regional
2Duke (28-6, 11-5 ACC) vs. 15Binghamton (23-8, 13-3 America East)
Thursday, March 19, 2009  •  9:40 PM ET  •  CBS
Greensboro Coliseum (22,404)  •  Greensboro, N.C.
Blue Devil Bits

Duke has won three straight games and enters the NCAA Tournament 28-6 overall. The Blue Devils earned the Atlantic Coast Conference automatic bid by claiming the program’s 17th league title on Sunday. 

The Blue Devils earned the No. 2 seed in the East Regional. Duke has claimed the No. 2 seed eight times in school history, winning the 1991 NCAA title from that position.

Duke is ranked sixth in the AP poll and fifth in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll. The Blue Devils have now been ranked in the top 10 in 36 consecutive AP polls.

The Blue Devils are making their 14th straight NCAA Tournament appearance and the 33rd overall for the program. Duke is 86-29 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.

Junior Jon Scheyer was named the ACC Tournament MVP after averaging 21.7 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game in wins over Boston College, Maryland and Florida State. Scheyer was 16-of-31 (.516) from the field, including 12-of-25 (.480) from three-point range, for the tournament. He is the 16th Blue Devil to win tournament Most Valuable Player honors.

Kyle Singler and Gerald Henderson were also named to the ACC All-Tournament first team. Singler contributed 18.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game, while Henderson added 17.0 points, 2.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game.
l Duke committed just 9.0 turnovers per game in the ACC Tournament, including a season-low four in the championship game win over Florida State.
Numbers Game
Duke has 86 NCAA Tournament wins to rank fourth all-time. Mike Krzyzewski is the winningest coach in NCAA Tournament history with 69 tournament wins.

The Blue Devils are 21-6 in the NCAA Tournament as a No. 2 seed. Duke is 6-0 against No. 15 seeds.

Duke has won nearly 80.0 percent of its games when playing out of the East Region in the NCAA Tournament. The Blue Devils are 53-14 out of the East with National Championship runs in 1992 and 2001.

The Blue Devils are 28-4 all-time in NCAA Tournament games played in the state of North Carolina. Duke has won eight straight tournament games in its home state.

Duke is 10-0 in NCAA Tournament games played at the Greensboro Coliseum. The Blue Devils also played NCAA Tournament opening round games in Greensboro in 1986, 1989, 1992, 2001 and 2006. 

The Blue Devils enter the NCAA Tournament with the No. 1 RPI and Strength of Schedule according to CollegeRPI.com.

Duke has an NCAA record 289 wins this decade. The Blue Devils have nine more wins than the next closest team (Kansas) since the 1999-2000 season.

Mike Krzyzewski is one win shy of matching Ed Diddle for fifth place on the all-time coaching wins at one school list. He enters the NCAA Tournament with 758 wins at Duke.

Kyle Singler, Gerald Henderson and Jon Scheyer have each scored over 500 points this season, marking the seventh time in school history (1978, 1986, 1990, 1999, 2002, 2005 & 2009) that feat has been accomplished.

Sophomore Kyle Singler leads the Blue Devils in scoring (16.7 ppg.), rebounds (7.7 rpg.), blocks (36) and steals (53). He is looking to become the first player in Duke history to lead the team in all four categories.

Duke players have scored 20 or more points in a game 32 times this season. Kyle Singler (11), Jon Scheyer (10) and Gerald Henderson (10) have combined for 31 of the team’s 20-point efforts. Lance Thomas had Duke’s only other 20-point effort.

Jon Scheyer has scored in double figures in nine straight games. He has scored 20 or more points in four of the last nine contests.

Gerald Henderson has reached double figures in scoring in 25 of the last 26 games for the Blue Devils. The Merion, Pa., native has nine 20+ point games during that span.

Jon Scheyer is averaging 20.2 points per game and 3.3 three-point field goals made per game over the last nine contests. He also has 21 assists, 15 steals and just 10 turnovers during that stretch.

Kyle Singler and Jon Scheyer are a combined 53-of-116 (.457) from three-point range over the last nine games. Duke is averaging 8.6 threes per game in that stretch.

Duke Women earn #1 seed in Berkeley

4Coach P's sixth rated Duke Blue Devils women’s basketball team received its 15th straight NCAA Tournament selection and their possible road will be laced with drama.  The Blue Devils (26-5) were awarded the number one seed in the Berkeley Region and will play 16th seeded Austin Peay in the first round on Sunday, March 22, 2009 at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Mich.  The game will be televised live on ESPN and will tip off is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.
The Governors won their sixth Ohio Valley Conference championship with a dramatic 69-65 double-overtime victory over Eastern Illinois.   The winner will advance to face either Michigan State or Middle Tennessee.

Yes that is a possible match up with Joanne McCallie's former team on their home court.  Middle Tennessee State will be considered the slight favorite, but the comforts of home could sway the game in the Spartans favor.
Michigan State comes in with a 20-10 record under Head Coach Suzy Merchant.  Should the Blue Devils and Spartans advance, this would be the first time McCallie has faced her former school.
Duke is coming off a heartbreaking 92-89 overtime loss in the ACC Championship to fourth-ranked Maryland.   Duke landed in the top spot in the west by plkaying a tough schedule where they had seven wins over the RPI top 25 and eleven wins over the top 50 teams.  Duke had resume building victories over second ranked Stanford, fourth-ranked Maryland, eleventh ranked North Carolina, thirtenth ranked Florida State,  nintenth ranked Tennessee and two wins against 25th-ranked Virginia. 

If Duke makes it past the first two games, they could play Tennessee for a second and if they get to the elite eight final, they could face Stanford again.  That's what I call dramatic seeding.  Oh!  Did I mention a Coach G vs Coach P match up?  That's right!  Texas is in the Blue Devils bracket as well.
The Blue Devils have advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 each of the last eleven years.  They reached  the Final Four in 1999, 2002, 2003 and 2006.  Duke is one of only three teams, along with the Tennessee and Connecticut, to have advanced to the Sweet 16 the last 11 consecutive years.    Duke and Austin Peay will meet for the first time in school history.  Duke owns a 3-1 overall record against teams from the Ohio Valley Conference.  
Broadcast Notes -For the seventh consecutive year, the ESPN networks will combine to present all 63 games from the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship. During the first two rounds, ESPN and ESPN2 will present the 48 games within 12 telecast windows in a whip-around format with home market protection. ESPN360.com will offer complete game telecasts of all 63 games, while ESPNU will offer select ESPN and ESPN2 early-round games in their entirety.  

Tickets are available in the Michigan State ticket office and can be purchased by visiting www.msuspartans.com or by calling 1-800-GOSTATE.  Tickets are $40 for adults, $20 for youth/seniors/MSU Students/Groups 15+ and are for two sessions on Sunday and one session on Tuesday for a total of three games.  Single-session tickets are $25 for the general public.

DURHAM, N.C. – Want to follow Duke women’s basketball during the 2009 NCAA Tournament but you’re not always around your computer or at your favorite web site, GoDuke.com?  Now the Duke Sports Information Office has made it easy to follow the Blue Devils anytime you want with an exclusive Duke women’s basketball page free on Twitter. 
You can find the Duke women’s basketball page on Twitter by searching for “DukeWBBSID” at Twitter.com. The Blue Devils’ Twitter page will be updated throughout the NCAA Tournament with “Tweet” (messages sent via Twitter) that contain news from the team, links to newspaper clippings, links to video clips and other information on Blue Devil hoops that cannot be found anywhere else.
You can receive updates via Twitter through the web at the Duke women’s basketball official Twitter page, on your mobile phone with text messages, via instant messaging (IM) or through e-mail. Whichever way you choose, you will always stay up to date with the Blue Devils!
Blue Devil fans can add the Duke women’s basketball Twitter page to their own blog, Facebook page or other social networking site. More information on how to do this can be found here.
Duke is awaiting the NCAA Tournament selection show on Monday, March 16 at 7:00 p.m., on ESPN.
Duke Women’s Basketball On Twitter
Question:  What is it?
Answer:  A free micro-blogging service that provides Duke fans with up-to-date info and insights on the Blue Devils.
Question: Where can I find Duke on Twitter and how often will it be updated? 
Answer:  Head to Twitter.com and search for “DukeWBBSID.”  It will be updated throughout the day.
Question: How will I receive the information? 
Answer:  Via the Web, text messages, instant messages, e-mail, RSS feeds, etc. 
Question:  What is Twitter? 
Answer:  Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows its users to send and read other users’ updates (otherwise known as “tweets”), which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length.
Question: How do I sign up to follow Duke women’s basketball on Twitter? 
Answer:  Signing up (called “following” in Twitter lingo) for Duke women’s basketball on Twitter is very easy. Just log on to Twitter.com and search “DukeWBBSID.”  Alternatively, you can go directly to the Duke Twitter page by clicking here (http://twitter.com/DukeWBBSID). Either way you go about accessing the Blue Devil Twitter page, you will need to click on the button in the upper-left hand corner of the page that says “Follow.” This will allow you to instantly access up-to-date news about Duke women’s basketball via Twitter.
Question: How is it different from www.GoDuke.com?
Answer:  Twitter updates will provide more unique information and quicker information than GoDuke.com.  It provides a better source of feedback and discussion.  Followers can receive updates any way they choose: at Twitter.com, via cell phone, on Facebook or any other social networking site.
For those that are new to Twitter and have questions, here is a link to a help page.

Every player played a role in Duke’s ACC Championship run

The Blue Devils came together as a team to win the 2009 ACC Championship
The Blue Devils came together as a team to win the 2009 ACC Championship

It wasn't that long ago when people were writing off the Blue Devils after a road loss against Boston College.  There were cries of this team has hit the skids or they are already burned out.  During press conferences, the Duke players get the same questions over and over with concerns to fatigue.

Well, the Boston College loss seems long ago now and the 2009 Duke Basketball team closed out the season in style by winning the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship and now look to the NCAA's.  Krzyzewski praised his juniors, stating that they had been through adversity, but a closer look shows a story behind practically every player.   Here are some general thoughts on each player -

Kyle Singler- He has answered more questions concerning his physical being at the end of last season than he has his better moments this year.  Krzyzewski semi jokingly asked the media to ask Singler a question after his stellar opening round game against Boston College.  Make no mistake in that Singlers early play allowed Duke to advance.  You can bet that he will hear another question this week with concerns to his playing every minute of every game of the tournament.   Singler appears poised to make his presence felt, starting with Binghampton on Thursday.  Singler made the All Tournament Team, but was still fifth in the voting which makes me wonder what games were some media members watching?

Dave McClure- The senior has been through enough ups and downs with injuries to where it was good to see how much he contributed as the consummate role player this season.  His defense and hustle will be remembered as much as his shot to beat Clemson at the buzzer.  McClure brought some toughness and senior leadership when the Devils needed it most.  His back to back baskets against Maryland helped thwart comeback attempts.

Greg Paulus- Paulus has played through untimely injuries in the past two seasons.  What does it say about a player who made an All ACC team the season before to accept a role on the bench?  That takes character which is something Paulus has in spades.  Always the competitor, one has the feeling he has a couple of big shots left before he finishes his career.

Brian Zoubek- Like McClure and Paulus, Zoubs has battled injuries galore in his career.  The center grabbed some key boards versus Florida State.  He has been able to come back and contribute after hitting a mid season slump.  At some point and time, Zoubs is likely to get valuable minutes in this years tournament.

Lance Thomas- Thomas finds himself drawing tough defensive assignments.  The minutes he logs should tell you what the coaches think about him.  His hustling play is invaluable.  Thomas is due for a good showing on the offensive end and what better time to do that than the NCAA's?

Elliot Williams - Duke could not have turned their season around if it were not for Elliot Williams play.  Williams has had a tough learning curve as a freshman, but he grabbed key rebounds in the tournament and his skills are something which you cannot teach.  He hit a slight wall of late, but he is still starting and his on ball defense will be crucial for a Devils run.  Williams just needs to keep his head up and continue to let the game come to him while working on his outside shot.

Nolan Smith - Smith played great minutes in the tournament and his play was very important to Duke's championship effort.  Much like Williams, Smith came alive at the right time when production was hard to come by.  It appears that Smith has fully recovered from his injury.

Jon Scheyer- What can be said about Jon Scheyer?  He took over running the point and is playing as good as anybody in the conference.  Scheyer won the tournament MVP for a reason this weekend.  He's showed no signs of becoming stale since Coach K made the change and he will be counted on heavily as Duke goes into the final days of March.

Gerald Henderson- Henderson came alive today and his play put Duke over the hump.  When Gerald goes, Duke goes, so it's important for him to be consistent.  Henderson seems to be on a mission and he has blossomed into a leader.  The future is bright for Gerald and I implore you to worry about the here and now and not look ahead to anything other than this seasons games.  If you look ahead in worry and not live in the moment, then you will miss out on a lot.

Olek Czyz, Marty Pocius and Mile Plumlee- When Nolan Smith drove down the throat of the Seminole defense for a dunk, Czyz and Plumlee jumped off the bench with authentic glee.  Sure, these kids want some burn, but they are part of something special, a championship.  Don't think they will not contribute in the NCAA's for I have seen some strange things happen with rotations.  Still, they are a big help everyday in pushing their teammates in practice and supporting them.  How comforting is it to know that Duke can go deep to players like Marty Pocius if needed?

Duke will now have to put the hard earned championship behind them and focus on the game Thursday evening.  I would imagine they will be allowed to enjoy being ACC Champions through Monday, but then it will be back to business.  In order for Duke's season to continue, each of the aforementioned players will have to find new ways to contribute, show up and make stops or a big shot when they have to.

Winning the ACC title is a wonderful achievement, but these guys can still make some more memories.  No matter what happens, this team came together when they had to and now own a trophy and a banner.  My guess, is that they are still hungry, but only time will tell if they advance further into March than recent years.