Tag Archives: Duke vs UNC football

BDN Monday Musings – Huge week ahead for Duke Athletics

 

Countdown to Craziness will be electric when Countdown to Craziness kicks off this Friday. Be there!

After a long hiatus, BDN’s Monday Musings returns, and there is a lot to talk about with respect to Duke Athletics. To say this is a big week is an understatement. Duke Basketball will hold its annual Countdown to Craziness on Friday evening followed the next night by a prime time football game with archrival North Carolina, where a win would snap a long losing streak in the series and gain the Blue Devils bowl eligibility.

Basketball season is here!

The mens basketball team has started practice, and that always means excitement in the air among Duke fans. Coach Mike Krzyzewski seems as pumped up as ever as he enters the season with a record 927 wins, and he will close in on other marks as the year progresses. His teams have been ranked in the AP Top 10 a total of 425 weeks, and this year’s first poll should make it 426. The Blue Devils return 10 letter-winners from a year ago, so there is experience on hand, and the team has received an infusion of talent with the additions of redshirt freshmen Alex Murphy and Marshall Plumlee, who join true freshmen Amile Jefferson and Rasheed Sulaiman.

A couple of early injuries

As you may have heard, Marshall Plumlee is in a walking boot with a foot fracture, but the prognosis is unknown at this time.  Seth Curry is nursing a minor injury as well, and is close to being able to go 100%. Most football programs are mildly evasive in providing news on injuries these days, and basketball is becoming no different.

Early high praise for Mason Plumlee

Blue Devils fans needed a shot in the arm at the end of last season after the upset loss to Lehigh in the NCAA Tournament and the departure of Austin Rivers, who entered the NBA Draft after his freshman campaign. They got that lift when Mason Plumlee spurned the league for another year to return for his senior season at Duke. Plumlee has earned high praise early on from Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski, who has made no secret that he expects big things from the multi-talented big man. Expect a larger role for Plumlee this year, and look for the Blue Devils to establish his game early on.

Who will run the point?

Actually, it is still likely to be done by committee. Many hope Quinn Cook steps up in his second year and takes over the role, but he will share time with Tyler Thornton, Rasheed Sulaimon and maybe even Seth Curry. Cook improved leaps and bounds in the off-season and his confidence and game are where they were when I first saw him on the AAU trail in his junior season in high school. Thornton has improved his quickness, and he is a calming influence on the team with his cool play. Sulaimon has the ability to be the best on-ball defender from the guard spot, and Curry has run the position before and if necessary can do so again. But in the end, Blue Devil fans will look for Quinn Cook to earn the major minutes.  Only time will tell if that happens.

Countdown to Craziness

This is one of the more fun events of the year, where the Blue Devils let their hair down for the last time before getting dead serious and focusing on the season, where early challenges against tough opponents abound. Countdown to Craziness is a celebration of Duke Basketball, where the team comes out to their song of choice during a raucous introduction and comedic skits are seen via video on the scoreboard. Then there is the Blue/White intrasquad game, giving fans a chance to see some action. It’s a great event and one BDN will cover as always, so check back in for coverage. Tickets are still available at reasonable prices at GoDuke.com.

North Carolina at Duke

Both teams come into this weekend’s prime time football game with 5-2 records, including 2-1 conference marks, but the Tar Heels have owned the series of late, and they opened as a 10 point favorite in this one. For the Blue Devils program, nothing would be finer than to see Carolina finally go down, and if the goal posts did not follow, there would be disappointment. A win for Duke would not only snap the long light blue winning streak, but it would also mean Duke is going bowling. Yeah, it’s a big one, but tickets are still available for it, so why not make a Duke weekend of it by having a blast at Countdown to Craziness and then coming back the next night for some serious — and meaningful — football?

Can Duke Football bounce back?

After holding a 20-0 lead over Virginia Tech this past weekend, the team simply collapsed, allowing 41 consecutive points to a team which handled this week’s opponent (North Carolina) with ease. The main concern I have is that the team almost seemed to mail it in once adversity struck, and could never find its way back. There have been times this season where I think the Duke team is better than the players realize; they need to believe they can win and deserve to win some ACC football games. Coach Cut has done a terrific job in rebuilding, but there are still important lessons to be learned, and patience is needed.

Duke Hoops in Fort Bragg

The Duke Men’s Basketball team is practicing at Fort Bragg today.  You can tune into ESPNU at 1:00 to see the practice.

Monday Musings – Duke vs Marquette, Duke vs UNC, Cheerleader of the Week

As always it's a busy time around BDN where we covered both the basketball and football games this past weekend. This week will be no different as we have staff members in Kansas City for consecutive games and we'll start our focus on Duke and UNC on the gridiron as well. And oc course, there is our Cheerleader of the Week!

Good Monday Blue Devil Nation and may you all have a great Thanksgiving week ahead.  The Duke Basketball team embarks on two contests that will provide a better look at where they stand this week and the football team takes on those dreaded North Carolina Tar Heels on the football field this week.  So, without further ado here are this weeks Monday Musings and of course, our cheerleader of the week.

Duke will be tested

The Men’s basketball team could face two contrasting styles which will challenge both their backcourt and frontcourt.  Marquette is the first challenge this evening and they bring a Big East toughness and a loaded backcourt to the table.  If Kansas State defeats Gonzaga, Duke will face a loaded frontcourt of physical and athletic players.  The Wildcats will also have a home court advantage and that could prove huge for the nations #3 rated team.

The bench will shorten

In the next two nights we’ll see which players Krzyzewski has confidence in for his bench will shorten against stellar competition.  Keep in mind that the rotation is likely to look quite different from one night to the next due to the aforementioned match ups.  The games should provide fans a glimpse of what the team will look like as the season goes on but Krzyzewski is far from settled on which combinations will be`on the court come March.

And the arch rival struggles

In watching North Carolina’s first few games a few things come to mind when evaluating their future.  The first is that UNC indeed lacks a leader and until they get someone to fill that role, they’ll not turn the corner to Top Ten country.  Harrison Barnes will get better as the season goes on, but the question is will UNC get better as a team.  The likely answer to that is yes, but these Heels are not he juggernaut they once were.  Still, too much talent is on hand for them to fold up like last season and finding a leader is a must.  The parts are there but fitting them together is not always and easy task.

The blame game can at times be ridiculous

Perfection!  That’s all we’ll stand for!  Okay, okay, some of us realize that Duke is a work in progress and we don’t find something wrong or someone to point the finger at in the early season.  Unfortunately, there is a faction of the fan base that constantly worries and you can always count on them to play chicken little.  With the Duke backcourt being solid, those fans have turned their attention to the Plumlees.  “They’re not Lance Thomas and Brian Zoubek,” one poster said.  Uh, no they’re not but does that fan remember the gripes those two experienced until they won a national title?  The Plumlees are a big key to the success to the 2010-11 Blue Devils but they like others are still learning how to fill their roles and they’ll be fine.  It’s no secret that Ryan Kelly and Josh Hairston are pretty much all that’s behind them, so I’m afraid the brothers will experience what Thomas and Zoubs did along the way, no matter how short sighted those not so basketball savvy critics are.

So close but how far?

Duke Football could have won games against Boston College, Georgia Tech, Maryland and Wake Forest this season had a bounce or two gone their way.  Had they won three of these close contests they’d be bowl eligible.  The real question is how close are they from turning the corner where they can win these games.  That’s a tough call but Duke returns pretty much all of their better players next season but they’ll need to score touchdowns in the red zone before improvement will become evident.

It’s Carolina at Duke on Thanksgiving and Duke at Oregon

Make no mistake a win over Carolina in the finale would help ease the frustration from close losses mentioned above.  There was a day when this game was huge but Duke will only be considered a true rival again when they find a way to defeat their neighbors and not just play them close.  With the game being played over the Thanksgiving holidays, the students will be gone and the Duke Basketball team will tip off thirty minutes after the kickoff in Oregon for Kyle Singler’s away game in front of his peeps.  With both games being televised, this will likely mean an increase in the dreaded baby blue which will dominate more than half of Wallace Wade Stadium.  A great solution is to back the Devils against UNC in person and DVR the basketball game.  After all, when Duke finally does beat UNC on the gridiron, don’t you want to say you were there?

It’s Holiday Tournament time

One of our favorite holiday basketball tournaments to cover is the Glaxo Invitational in Raleigh, N.C. But we’ll take in some other events as well and as a member of BDN Premium you can keep up with coverage of the Blue Devils future hopefuls and those who’ve already signed.