Tag Archives: Duke

Tre Jones Monster Game Leads Duke to Elite 8

The Virginia Tech Hokies take on the Duke Blue Devils during the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament East Regional Semifinals at Capital One Arena on March 29, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Lance King/BDN)

Tre Jones scored 22 points to go with 8 assists including shooting 5-7 from the three point stripe to help lead Duke to a win.  The Blue Devils will face Michigan State on Sunday.

Duke in Columbia — NCAA Tournament Notebook #1

Duke strategy with Williamson is all Ace's

Duke may have been able to play Zion Williamson during the regular season or before the ACC Tournament but elected to sit the National Player of the Year to be.  The sacrifice was clearly worth it.  A fresh fully healed Williamson seems poised to follow-up on his ACC Most Outstanding Player with even better play in his home state of South Carolina.  So while Duke finished third in the ACC regular season, they cut down the nets when it counted for more. In doing so earned the number one seed and the number one ranking in the final polls.

Can youth handle being the favorite?

This year's Duke team does not have a senior team captain, Quin Cook running things nor a guy who has stepped up big time like the former Brian Zoubek and his former roommate Jon Scheyer.  The aforementioned veteran players played vital roles in the 2010 and 2015 National Championships.  This seasons team which is the fifth youngest group in the nation will depend more on some really talented youngsters.  Despite the talent, how will they handle things when the games get close?  Well, Mike Krzyzewski and his staff will fill some of the voids, but this group must take the games one at a time and tune out the hype as best they can.  Fifteen of thirty ESPN experts have picked Duke to win it all.  That fact epitomizes the media pressure.

Sooner rather than later for Bolden?

The news came out yesterday that Marques Bolden had returned to practice via Javin DeLaurier.  It only makes sense that Duke puts him back into the rotation the second he is ready.  The reason, of course, is to develop team chemistry and to quickly get him back into game shape over the next week.  Duke will not need the junior center in their first outing in Columbia but seeing him by the Sunday game would be encouraging.

Focussing on what is in front of you

The staff will make sure that Duke takes it one game at a time in the tournament.  The cold, harsh reality of one loss and done has entered the picture and that means you must focus on the job at hand.  Duke cannot control whom they play, when, etc.  The Friday-Sunday match up should work out well in that one your players have an extra day of rest.  The team might see a higher seed go down the day before which emphasizes the importance of focus.

Enjoy the show

Fans will one day look back on this Duke team as a special one no matter what they do in the tournament.  The reason being the collection of young talent.  Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett are destined for greatness in the NBA.  You just do not see two players of this caliber on the same team and likely never will again.  At season's end, both players will have averaged over 20 ppg and no freshman duo has ever done such a thing.

Columbia logistics

Duke will be playing at Columbia Life Arena in Columbia, S.C.  They will have an open practice for the media and public on Thursday starting at 3:25.  Their first game on Friday will tip-off promptly at 7:10 and will be televised by CBS.  Are you going to the games and looking for something to do on an off day?  Try Riverbanks Zoo or Columbia Canal on the Riverpark or visit the South Carolina State Museum.

Coach K and #1 Ranking

Duke finishes the regular and conference tournament season ranked #1 in the nation.  Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski had led Duke to that ranking 123 weeks which is the most of any coach in the history of the sport.  Krzyzewski has an amazing 94-29 record in the NCAA Tournament.

Quotables

Javin DeLaurier's on his two NCAA Tournament experiences and what he can pass on to the younger guys:

“My freshman year we lost in the first weekend and last year we lost in the Elite Eight so really just telling everyone you have to take it one game at a time. It’s got to be for the full 40 minutes and you can’t look ahead to the next opponent, because if you do that, you can slip up and lose. It’s March Madness for a reason and teams you never thought would lose go down all the time and we don’t want to be one of them.”

Tre Jones remembering the atmosphere during the 2015 NCAA Tournament when his older brother Tyus played:

“It’s definitely different. It’s different than a regular game, the atmosphere is different, the energy is different, guys are playing harder and everything is on the line and just being able to see that at a young age – I don’t really know how to say it but I was only a freshman in high school at the time and I put out a goal for myself that I wanted to be in that moment one day and not that I’m here and I’m in that moment is going to be
fun to partake in it.”

Blue Devil Nation Premium

If you think the Duke staff is not recruiting while the tournament is going on, think again.  But once it ends, recruiting picks up and BDN Premium will be talking about key prospects like Matthew Hurt.  Help support Blue Devil Nation by joining for a straight forward, no fluff take on what goes on behind the scenes.  You can join for 60.00 for one year during our special and those funds help us to better cover the program you love.  And you can then read premium articles and have access to the message board where you can ask questions and get honest answers.

This is your last day to fill out a bracket

By all means, join the Blue Devil Nation bracket challenge at ESPN and be eligible for their prizes, not to mention bragging rights.  The password is - bluedevils6

http://fantasy.espn.com/tournament-challenge-bracket/2019/en/group?groupID=2303744

Duke Set to Take on All Comers in Columbia

It's been a pretty darn entertaining year for the 2018-19 Duke Blue Devils basketball team.  The Blue Devils started the regular season with a beat down of Kentucky but ended it with their second loss to North Carolina and a third-place regular season finish.

Injuries played a big role in the late season struggles where several Duke players missed time, including Zion Williamson.  Duke would right the ship with Williamson back in the lineup with three wins in the ACC Tournament and in the end, are the conference champions.

Duke enters the NCAA Tournament as the nation's number one seed and they will play not too far south in Columbia, S.C. in an effort to survive and advance.  With Zion Williamson, the nations tops player, in his home state, good things are likely to happen for Duke.

The Blue Devils should be well rested with their game tipping off this Friday promptly at 7:10 on CBS.  They will also get what amounts to be an easy game where they face the winner or North Carolina Central and North Dakota State.  Both of those teams are 18-15 and the winners will be playing on two days rest.

Duke should be able to use their depth early and often in the opening game which will further rest any minor nagging injuries to their players.  The second game will be more challenging, if not on the court, then in other ways.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski might well face his first great recruit in Johnny Dawkins and Central Florida.  It is a known fact, that Krzyzewski does not like to face his former players when they are at the helm at other schools.

Then again, Duke may face Virginia Commonwealth and few Duke fans will forget losing to them in the NCAA Tournament during the 2006-07 season.  The UCF and VCU game is expected to be close.  The Golden Knights are a 1.5 point favorite, so it is tough to project who the opponent will be with any certainty.

Regardless of the opponent, Duke should make it through to Washington. D.C.  In years past, this would seem less certain, but RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson are on this team and those two guys will be etched in Duke fans memories for years to come in that they are both destined for more greatness.

Quite simply, Duke should take care of business with a team that is peaking at the right time.   They may have a challenge for a bit in games if they are not focussed but it would be a shock for them not to advance.

The Blue Devils are in a position to be a rested team as the tournament advances.  What you want to avoid are injuries while working on areas of concern, such as ironing out the rotation that will be used as the team seeking its sixth national title adjusts for the prime time of the season.

It would benefit Duke for Cam Reddish to get a little more comfortable in the rotation by involving him more in Columbia.  Tre Jones needs to continue being aggressive on offense for he is money from the free throw stripe, an area where the star freshmen struggle.

The Blue Devils could also use the trip to possibly shore up their three-point shooting while continuing to tweak their already good defense.    What the staff is likely looking for is a more consistent effort by its rotation players as well for good things happen when all the players contribute in the box score.

And speaking of contrinutions, Marques Bolden has returned to practice.  This is another key to chemistry, especially if Duke is able to get him some minutes this weekend.

The bottom line is that Duke has too much firepower on offense to stumble this early, but Krzyzewski probably rolls over when people pencil them forward with such ease.  It is not for a lack of respect for the opponent that has me saying what I have but instead, the respect I have for the talent on this years team.

And did I mention that Zion Williamson will be playing in his home state this weekend?  Let the games begin!

 

No. 1 Duke Uses 15-2 Run to Stun Florida

Marvin Bagley III was named MVP as the Duke had a comeback win over Florida in the PK80 Motion bracket final.

There is something about this years Duke Basketball team that allows them to stage epic comebacks against good teams.  After an overtime victory over Texas on Friday, the Blue Devils gained an even more impressive win over a top ten team in the Florida Gators.

Florida held the lead for more than 34 minutes of the game and they built a 16 point advantage over Duke in the 2nd half.  But these Blue Devils did not fold and played through fatigue to go on a 15-2 run over the last 4:04 of the game for a 87-84 win.

Duke has a way of wearing teams down and hanging around just close enough to make a comeback.  But they were playing high level competition against a Gators team that will contend in the SEC all season long, so valuable lessons were learned.

After a painfully slow offensive start the 2nd half, Duke warmed up as did their defense.  The Blue Devils would go back to man to man and that held the highest scoring team in the nation in Florida to just 31 points.

Duke put game pressure on the Gators as they  did the Longhorns and much of that is from the play of their outstanding freshman, Marvin Bagley III.  The soon to be first pick in the coming NBA Draft scored 30 points while pulling down 15 rebounds.

Bagley was named the PK80 MVP after scoring 82 points and pulling down 45 rebounds in 3 games.   The young man is a match up nightmare while remaining a good team player.

The Florida defense held Grayson Allen and Gary Trent Jr. scoreless for most of the 2nd half.  But when the two players came alive it was during some of the games biggest moments.

Allen (14 points, 7 assists) would knock down back to back 3 pointers during the comeback.  Trent (17 points, 2 blocked shots) knocked down two free throws to give Duke an 85-84 lead with 1:12 to go, then made a steal with 11 seconds left and sank two more free throws to seal the win.

All of the Duke players who played contributed.  Duke got good minutes from Javin DeLaurier, Wendell Carter Jr., Marques Bolden, Alex O'Connell and Trevon Duval.

The Gators held the edge on the boards for much of the contest, but Duke was tough on the glass during their 8-0 run to end the game.  They ended up holding a 43-36 rebound advantage when the dust cleared.

Two key factors played a role for Duke.  Firstly, going 19-20 from the free throw stripe was their best showing of the season in that department.  Secondly, Duke was hot from beyond the three-point stripe hitting 10 of 23 attempts.

Duke also shared the ball well with 20 team assists.  More importantly, they remained poised even when they were not playing well.  When you have a knack for continually chipping away at teams, good things will happen.

The Blue Devils celebrated the victory at mid court where Phil Knight awarded them their trophy.  The Duke team is likely heading for their flight as I type and will arrive in Durham mind morning.

Duke will soon have played 9 games in 20 days during a brutal scheduling stretch.  They will go to class on Tuesday afternoon before heading to Bloomington, Indiana to take on the Hoosiers in a game that tips off this Wednesday on ESPN at 9:40.

With tonight's win, Duke moves to an impressive 8-0 on the season and will remain the nation's top ranked team.  Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski continues to build on his record as having coached the most games as the top ranked team in the land.

All in all, it was a great learning experience for a young team as they played three game opponents and varying styles of play in four days.  Duke is far from a perfect team but they are certainly a special team which has plenty of upside moving forward.

Duke Surges Past Portland State 99-81

Duke found itself down by as many as 8 points to a pesky Portland State (4-1)  team while letting up 49 1st half points.  But the Blue Devils made some half time adjustments and their size eventually wore down their opponent for a  99-81 win.

After a lack luster effort from some starters in the first half, Duke started Alex O'Connell and Marques Bolden in the 2nd half.  Bolden ended the game with 6 points and 9 rebounds while O'Connell tallied 9 points.  Both players play helped keep Duke close going into the half.

Trevon Duval led Duke in scoring finishing the game with 22 points but had 5 turnovers to just 2 assists.  Grayson Allen had another off day shooting but still ended the game with 14 points but more importantly a team high 9 assists.

The Blue Devils were once again aided by a solid effort from  Marvin Baglkey III.  The stellar freshman had his double-double of the season where he dropped 18 points to go with 15 boards

After a slow start to the first half, Duke freshman Wendell Carter Jr, ended the game with 16 points and 10 rebounds.   Duke was sluggish on the boards early but ended the game with a 49 to 37 edge.  Duke also had 9 blocked shots in the game.

The Vikings challenged Duke early and this game was a good learning experience for a young team.  Teams are going to come after the Blue Devils hard and there is no doubt that Portland State will be very good in their league.

Mike Krzyzewski moved pastJohn Wooden of UCLA playing in the most games with his team ranked number one in the country.  Duke will now move to the semi finals of the Motion Bracket of the PK80 tournament where they will face the winner of the Butler vs Texas game which tips off at 5:30.

 

 

A Duke Fans Guide to the Nike PK80 Event

You almost need a map to navigate the many games in the Nike PK-80 event which is a tribute to company fonder Phil Knight and his 80th birthday.  There are two brackets, the Victory and Motion groups.   The two eight-team brackets will run simultaneously in the Moda Center and Veterans Memorial Coliseum in the Rose Quarter with the crowning of two champions.

Duke will play in the Motion Bracket and open the event with an on campus game tonight against Furman in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

The Blue Devils will then head to Portland, OR. tomorrow to face Portland State which is currently 3-0 on Thanksgiving Day in a game scheduled to tip-off at 4:30 on EPSN.

Duke will then face the winner of the Texas (3-0) with Top 25 honorable mention votes vs Butler (3-1 ) on Friday.  Butler handed Furman their only defeat of the season by 17 at home while they lost only to Maryland thus far.  Texas features Muhammad Bamba and Matt Coleman, two players Duke recruited,  It almost seems like a Duke vs Texas match up is in the works, but we will see if that is what the Basketball Gods have in mind,

Duke will play Furman in a PK80 on campus game tonight, then head to Eugene, Oregon.

If Duke survives that game they will play in the championship game on Sunday.  Opponent possibilities are 7th ranked Florida, 17th ranked Gonzaga, Stanford and Ohio State,  I kind of think Florida will come out of that side but a Gonzaga team playing near home will be tough as well.  Should both of those teams and Duke advance it will provide strong competition.

Duke arch rival North Carolina will play in the Victory Bracket that features a team Duke just defeated in Michigan State.  They open with Portland who lost to Duke's opening opponent Portland State (3-0) on their home court,    Oregon is likely the best of the rest which features Arkansas, Oklahoma, UConn and Georgetown.

Duke is a flagship Nike School.

All of the teams participating in this event will end up playing three games via brackets or sessions.  Not all of the teams play an on campus game.  For example Stanford takes on North Carolina at home tonight but neither of them play a home PK game.

There is some leeway with concern to starting times in future games as teams advance.  But it would seem Duke would tip-off at 3:00 on Friday on ESPNU against Texas or Butler with a win on Thursday.  On the ESPN website, they currently have the Motion Championship Game slated for ESPNU at 3:00, the same time as the Victory title game on ESPN.