Tag Archives: Duke-UNC

BDN Monday Musings – “Meet the Devils” event sparks fan interest

Duke QB’s Renfree, Boone and Connette BDN Photo

Mark your calendars for October 19th and 20th, for that will be a heck of a weekend for Duke Athletics. On Friday, October 19th the always popular Countdown to Craziness event kicks off the basketball season, and the following day Duke hosts arch rival North Carolina in football. While schools can kick off the basketball season a week earlier with Midnight Madness-type events, Duke is not doing that this year, so CTC was moved back a week in Durham. Regardless, there will be little sleep for the BDN staff as we cover all the events, as we have in seasons past.

Coach Cut is ready for some football – Photo Mark Watson, BDN

The Meet the Blue Devils football event went down this past weekend, as 1500 Duke fans turned out to meet this season’s team. Fans got a chance to mingle with players and coaches while seeing the positive changes in the football facilities. Duke unveiled its team posters (ripe for autographs for the youngsters) along with the new helmets and new season ticket plans.

Duke Women’s Soccer is hot and ranked #2 in the nation. The team crushed Elon this past weekend, and they next take to the field in the UNC Nike Classic on August 24th at Fetzer Field in Chapel Hill.

Be sure to check out our BDN Open Group Facebook Page where we load a lot of photos in an environment that more or less acts as our free message board. Of course, BDN’s only true message board is reserved for premium members, who have full site access where they get all the latest inside tidbits and nuggets on the program, as well as a place to discuss recruiting with other members. Here is a link to the Facebook site, where you can see photos from the latest scrimmage and Meet the Devils Day. BDN Facebook Group

A steady stream of fans stood in line to get Coach Cut’s autograph this weekend. – BDN Photo

Speaking of photos, BDN has long used our own photographers, and we do not mind others using our pictures — provided proper credit is given. All of our photos are copyrighted, and we enjoy bringing you up close and personal with Duke Athletics through the medium. But far too many other sites are now using photos without permission and without crediting the original source. If you want to use our photos, please contact us beforehand. Most recently, we had to remove two photos from a gambling site whose operators felt it was their right to swipe them and tag them as their own.  It’s not.

On a related subject, it’s becoming more apparent to me that on today’s web, it can be hard to tell the difference between opinions offered without benefit of real on-scene access and reporting, and opinions offered by those who do have the benefit of firsthand views of a program.  The BDN staff regularly attends all Duke athletic functions and media events. Our team is in the trenches doing the work, enabling us to present an “eyes on” view of the subject matter. Why am I mentioning this? There is a growing trend out there of “reporters” and self-styled “insiders” offering what I’ll generously term “borrowed information.” A recent blog post came to our attention that consisted of BDN reports being simply copied verbatim, with a few minor word changes, and being passed off as the blogger’s own work. The bottom line is that you can trust what you read here as being original in every way. We like what we do, and we make the effort to get out there to cover Duke athletics in a comprehensive, professional, and honest way.

Back to the on-the-field stuff:  The September 1 home opener against Florida International looms, and it should be a good one.  For those unfamiliar with the Panthers, they return 18 starters from a season ago, when they were a bowl team.  The problem with playing an upstart program is that many fans underestimate teams they haven’t heard that much about, setting themselves up for surprise and disappointment when they realize these guys can play.  I can tell you firsthand that Duke will have to bring their “A” game to beat this team.  Adding to the pressure is that, given the difficult schedule the Blue Devils face this year, many are already coining this a “must win.”  I think Duke will be ready but they’ll need the 12th man, meaning a fired-up home crowd, to come out of the gates strong this year and get a win against a quality opponent.

Have a good Monday folks.

BDN Monday Musings – Upset loss, Duke-UNC Women and Men, Crazies, Cheerleaders and Quinn Cook

 

Duke cheerleaders returned for a reunion yesterday.

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 lossesYou 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.

 

 

Monday Musings – McGary visits the Triangle

Anytime a prospect comes to the Triangle and both Duke and UNC are recruiting him, you can expect a lot of disinformation on message boards. I am of course talking about Mitch McGary, a bruising and talented post player that is best described as tenacious on the court. McGary visited UNC during the first part of his visit this past weekend before heading to Duke to finish his journey south.

It didn’t take long for the rumors to start.

It’s certainly understandable for fans to hang on every word or take one might post in that McGary is a very important prospect for Duke, a high priority for sure. Rumors are so rampant these days, that we actually created a separate board for Blue Devil Nation members about two years ago. It had become tiresome for our staff to constantly refute every little mention or statement, especially when said rumors come from a myriad of places.

Sure enough, the rumor mill was in high gear late Friday afternoon and it caused a knee jerk reaction among many fans. I had just finished up interviewing Duke HOF inductees Coach Mike Krzyzewski and Bobby Hurley and was watching the Duke women’s soccer victory over Texas A & M thinking what a beautiful day it was on campus while awaiting their speeches later that evening. Then, I turned on my computer on.

What awaited me were 6 PM’s from our message board, and 4 e-mails from Duke fans in a panic and all this in two hours time I had been off line. The rumor was that a popular UNC site had posters and or insiders (I’m uncertain for I do not generally go to message boards there) saying that a kid from Brewster Academy had given the nod and wink to UNC, Kendall Marshall and others, stating, “I’m going to be a Tar Heel.”  This was automatically percieved to be McGary.

My thoughts were, “Really?,” and it took little time for me to think here we go again. Look, he may end up in Chapel Hill but to think it all ended there and like that is hard for me to fathom. Let’s examine this for a moment. I had already known that McGary was on the Duke campus the same time I was on Friday.  I learned through a source that he played pick up games with the players earlier that afternoon and that the visit was going well.

For those of you who don’t know, it is a violation for any fan based web site to talk to a prospect while actually on campus, so even if I did see him which I didn’t, I’d have run the other way.

I did have conversations with Mitch at the NBA Top 100 Camp earlier in the year and his parents to learn more background on their son. While I have not talked to them since, I learned enough about them to realize the rumor was likely a stretch. I mean why would McGary suddenly pick the Heels and then visit Duke for two days?

It’s part of my job to keep up with the recruiting front and our staff  does so by working various sources. As most followers of Blue Devil Nation know we go to all the major AAU events in person to get a first hand view of the prospects.  We also cultivate relationships with those in the know while attending said events.

Anyhow, back to the issue at hand.  If one were to think it through or have prior knowledge of the scene, they would have realized that T.J. Warren was also visiting UNC. Warren is a nice talent that transferred to Brewster Academy for his senior season. Warren has most recently been considered a UNC lean.

That said, doesn’t it make sense that this is who folks were talking about? I mean he was on their campus as well. Interestingly, once I tweeted Friday that this was likely the case, more freaking out started. Folks were then saying the two prospects were friends and played together, so this means UNC will get both of them for sure. Granted, others were more rational but they couldn’t control the fire. They are surely friends playing on the same team, but they have never actually played together at Brewster Academy.

There is certainly a chance that the two could end up together but I personally think both will do what is best for them. Our feeling was that this rumor started from a lack of fact checking and falling hook, line and sinker for rhetoric on a UNC site which is often designed to simply incite their rivals in a ribbing nature.  Look, facts are facts and rumors are rumors, so which would you depend upon?

We will eventually speak with McGary but we would never ask of unsubstantiated rumors. We most recently spoke with him at the Elite 24 and save this visit, little has seemingly changed. It’s also a policy of ours to allow the young men as much space as possible.

Good research and fact checking can be done without me seeking out folks that almost always say, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” However, separating fact and fiction has become increasingly hard in the wild west atmosphere of recruiting message boards. If fans would be a little more patient instead of having knee jerk reactions, the truth will come out in due time.

It takes but one “Negative Nellie” to set chaos in motion. I call it the “Chicken’ Little effect,” for in a matter of minutes the sky  indeed seems like it’s falling. In fairness, many people have this Chicken Little effect built in as a mechanism for for coping with “recruiting stress.” And folks, I am here to tell you that it is sometimes stressful following the recruiting trail.

How many times has a school been considered a leader up until a prospects senior season only to be swayed elsewhere for whatever reason? But, if I were to follow up every rumor that is brought to our board, I would never sleep. I often joke that all pay sites, including my own, are like a men’s soap opera for there is no shortage of drama.

Again, things can certainly change on a dime but more often than not rumors play more of a role than research and common sense which if used can help with a lot of undo fan angst for in the end they have no control over the situation.

As for McGary?  Only time will tell where he chooses to go to school and that decision will likely come down the road.

ESPN’s Game Day for Duke-UNC game open to the public

ESPN College GameDay live from Cameron Indoor Stadium
Saturday, March 6
ESPN’s GameDay crew will be Rece Davis, Jay Bilas, Digger Phelps, Hubert Davis and Bob Knight

Doors open at 9:30 a.m.
Sportcenter will be doing live cut-ins from 10-11am
GameDay live from inside Cameron Indoor Stadium will run from 11 am to 12 pm
GameDay will also have a one-hour show from 8-9 pm

GameDay events are free of charge
Parking is free

Their will also be special guests and former players along with Duke Basketball prizes and giveaways will add to the show.

The public entrance into the event will be from the South Hall of Honor, while undergraduate and graduate students will enter from the North Lobby (Krzyzewskiville).

General public parking will be available beginning at 8:30 a.m. in all lots around campus with the exception of the Public Policy Lot.  All cars must be removed by 2:00 p.m. from the respective lots or they will be towed.

BDN Previews Duke at North Carolina

helkmetSCOUTING THE BLUE DEVILS

Last time out

Duke defeated Virginia in Charlottesville, 28-17 last Saturday. Thad Lewis, Will Snyderwine, and Conner Vernon were named ACC Players of the Week for their efforts in the victory. Lewis completed 24/40 passes for 343 yards, including a 42-yard touchdown to freshman Conner Vernon. The touchdown strike came against a strong pas rush during a crucial 4th quarter drive, putting Duke up 18-17 with 3:45 to play. Vernon finished with 7 catches and 103 yards to match his high school teammate, Donovan Varner, who finished with 7 catches and 113 yards. Despite the statistics, the Blue Devils’ passing attack was constantly challenged by the talented Cavaliers’ secondary, and it was Nick Snyderwine who accounted for much of the Blue Devils’ scoring, including three first half field goals of 44, 28, and 34 yards. In a fitting conclusion, Snyderwine connected on his fifth field goal of the day, from 43 yards out, to seal the 28-17 win.

The Duke defense was again the unsung hero, holding the Virginia offense to 196 total yards. The Virginia rushing attack was never able to gather momentum, forcing the ball into quarterback Jameel Sewell’s hands on key downs. The Blue Devils were able to pressure Sewell into poor throws in the windy conditions, holding the Cavaliers to 4 of 16 on third downs. The defense sealed the win with a forced fumble recovery for a touchdown late in the 4th quarter.

SCOUTING THE TAR HEELS

Last time out

North Carolina pulled off the improbable upset at Lane Stadium last Thursday night, 20-17. Kicker Casey Barth connected on a 21-yard field goal as time expired to give the Tar Heels the victory. As has been the case all season for North Carolina, the Tar Heel defense was dominant, holding Virginia Tech to 11 first downs and just 95 rushing yards (2.9 yards per carry). The Hokies were held scoreless in the first half, and 2 second half touchdowns by Tyrod Taylor proved to be too little, too late. Quarterback T.J. Yates and a balanced North Carolina rushing attack were good enough to control the clock in the second half, culminating in Barth’s game-ending field goal. The rushing attack, led by Shaun Draughn and Ryan Houston, totaled 181 yards on 42 attempts.

Season

It has been an up and down season for the Tar Heels. Initially ranked in the top 25 with a 3-0 start, the Tar Heels then opened their ACC season with three conference losses to Georgia Tech, Virginia, and Florida State. The Tar Heel offense has struggled this season, relying on the defense to keep the team in games, and in some cases, win them, as was the case with a late fourth quarter safety in a 12-10 win at Connecticut.

After a devastating collapse to Florida State at home on national television, however, the Tar Heels responded with an impressive showing last week at Virginia Tech. They will look to continue their winning ways this weekend against the Blue Devils. Offensive coordinator John Shoop was able to get the ball to his playmakers, namely Greg Little, Shaun Draughn, and Ryan Houston, on key plays at Virginia Tech. Against the Blue Devils, expect a heavy dose of Draughn and Houston, with Little mixed in for his big play potential.

Injuries

Senior LB Abraham Kromah is listed as questionable for the Blue Devils. CB Lee Butler is expected to return after missing last Saturday’s game. Of note, senior RB Re’quan Boyette was not listed on the injury report for the first time this season.

Carolina has been hit with injuries throughout the season; depth will be a concern for both teams at several key positions.

Trends and numbers

For the first time in a long time, both Duke and Carolina enter this game with winning records of 5-3. At 3-1, Duke controls its own destiny in the ACC Coastal Division and can set up a first-place showdown with Georgia Tech with a win in Chapel Hill.

UNC has won 18 out of 19 in the series. Duke’s last win was in 2003.

UNC defeated Duke 28-20 in Wallace Wade Stadium last season, capping off David Cutcliffe’s first year at Duke with a 4-8 record. The Tar Heels went on to lose to West Virginia in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

Thad Lewis has thrown for over 300 yards in 4 straight games. Donovan Varner and Conner Vernon have both had 2 consecutive 100-yard receiving games.

The Blue Devils have scored first in their last 6 games, including four scores on their opening drives. A fast start in a hostile road environment will be important for the Blue Devil offense.

Closing Thoughts

The greatest rivalry in sports takes to the gridiron this Saturday in Chapel Hill. For the second straight week, the Blue Devils’ high-flying passing attack will face a stiff test in the Tar Heel defense. Last week, the Blue Devils were able to find the end zone when it mattered, and will have to do the same against a terrific Carolina pass rush. The Blue Devil defense will have to continue to make big plays, keeping the ball out of the hands of the Tar Heel playmakers, by limiting the running lanes for Draughn, Houston, and Little. If you can’t make it to Chapel Hill this weekend, be sure to catch all 4 quarters on ESPNU, as this latest matchup in the classic rivalry is likely to go down to the wire.