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10 Random Thoughts on Duke Basketball

10 Random Thoughts on Duke Basketball Volume 1 - Lance King for BDN

Here is the first edition of "10 Random Thoughts on Duke Basketball."  I will be covering various tidbits worth mentioning that will consist of little known facts and things to ponder.

Marvin Bagley III is only scratching the surface - What a phenomenal week for Marvin Bagley III.  He wins ACC Player of the Week and Rookie of the Week while setting various freshman records at Duke.  But he could be in high school for his final season.  What I am saying is he is young and learning and will realize more and more what he is capable of doing as the season wears on.

Duke is more than just Marvin Bagley III - Take a look at Wendell Carter Jr. for a second.  He is having a solid freshman season as are all of the starters.  It is his play and ability to help protect the lane and garner rebounds that helps Bagley to be great.

Duke is going to get a lot better soon - Okay, so you know they will have played 9 games in 20 days after they take on Indiana tomorrow night.  But have you considered that during this stretch there has been little to no practice time?  Once Mike Krzyzewski and his staff has time to break down the film from this run, Duke will make major adjustments and tweak what they are doing.  In short, you ain't see nothing yet.

Duke Basketball players should run their own race and in time their goals will be met.

Run your own race - I have covered Duke basketball for many years.  In that time I have seen great players in time not have the success they would like in their freshman and sophomore seasons.  Heck, ask Nolan Smith about sticking with it after barely playing as a freshman.  Duke has some guys on the roster that may not fully blossom until their junior years, but if they stick with the system, they will become stars with key roles.

What we have learned to date -  You can never count this Duke team out.  Fans should look over their timelines to see how they reacted when Duke was down 17 to good teams.  Moving forward, they should know this team is talented and can wear their opponents down over the course of a whole game.  The confidence gained in these comeback wins will serve Duke well.

Duke Basketball is alive and well.

Special -  Mike Krzyzewski aka Coach K called his team special in the post game after the win over Florida.  Special can mean many things, but he has seen this group will not give up and wants to play together, learn and get better.  What he did not specifically mention is that these are all really good young men off the court as well and that he love teaching them.

Indiana is a trap game - The Hoosiers had one of the worst losses in their fabled history in their opening home loss to Indiana State of Larry Bird fame.  They lost to a good, ranked, Seton Hall team on the road.  But they have shown signs of improvement pushing their record to 4-2.  They are rested and playing in their super bowl tomorrow night.

Duke does not announce their injuries - I often see fans ask what is wrong with so and so or he is having a bad game or two,  It is not policy for the Blue Devils to announce their injuries and do not expect them to help their opponents scouting report by doing so.  Food for thought.

The Duke team will soon get a break but -  the coaches will be breaking down filming in between holiday recruiting events later this month.

That needed break will come - after Duke returns from Bloomington where they will face a good South Dakota team in CIS (Cameron Indoor Stadium) on December the 2nd (Saturday) and then St. Francis in a brutal 9:00 start this coming Tuesday.  Wait!  I am not finished.  The team will then go as far north in the ACC as possible for their league opener against Boston College on the 9th.  At that time comes a much-needed 11 day break.  Duke will then play Evansville on December the 20th in CIS to shake off the rust before another 10 day break when they will come back to take on Florida State at home with the students still on vacation break.  Duke will need their non student fans to be on the top of their game in the home ACC opener.

I hope you enjoyed my first edition of "10 Random Thoughts on Duke Basketball," and return for more.  Remember that we are doubling your membership to all new members of BDN Premium through the new year.  If you join for 1, 3, 6 or 12 months, we will double your membership time.  IOW, 2 years is just $100.00, or if you join for 6 months at $60.00 you get a full year.  By joining you help us spread the news on Duke Basketball on various platforms while getting some inside news.  For recent new members, you now have access to the message board, but it is a separate sign up which will then be approved.

Coach Cutcliffe addresses the media before Duke Spring Game

BDN Photo

Here are three videos from today's Duke Football press conference as Spring Football winds down in Durham. The annual Spring Football Game is tomorrow at 1:00 in Wallace Wade Stadium and it is open and free to the general public. Coach Cutcliffe is up first, the next vids are of defensive coordinator Jim Knowles and offensive coordinator Kurt Roper.


BDN Monday Musings ponders past and future happenings around Duke Basketball

The Duke Blue Devils coasted past Boston College last evening setting up a huge rematch against Florida State this week and BDN Monday Musings takes a look back and ahead.

Duke too much for Boston College

After a slow start, the Blue Devils waltzed past the Boston College Eagles 75-50 and that kept them in a three way tie for first place.  A tremendous 45-21 rebounding edge and pounding the offensive glass gave Duke the win but this game is less than memorable after the Blue Devils have won a couple high profile and talked about games.  But Duke took care of business and returned to snow dusted Durham healthy and well.  The 25 point margin was the larger in the series for Duke who holds a 14-2 edge in the series.  Duke held the hapless Eagles without a field goal for a 14 minute plus stretch.  Folks point to the Blue Devils defensive numbers being down this season and this game will help those numbers but has anyone taken into consideration the Blue Devils strength of schedule his season and that they haven't played the sisters of the poor?  Just sayin'

Curry-Rivers chemistry

If you've been paying close attention to the last few games, the Blue Devils are getting improved chemistry from it's guard tandem of Seth Curry and Austin Rivers.  This is a good thing for Duke in that the two have become the top two scoring options on the team.  You will continue to see Rivers with the ball in his hands at crunch time and Curry has a constant green light to shoot on the offensive end.  Both will need to show up big against Florida State in Tallahassee this week.

Coach K on the Dan Patrick Show

Duke Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski appeared on the Dan Patrick show today where he addressed "Linsanity," an this seasons team.  When asked which president he'd have a drink with if he could, Krzyzewski responded that he'd like to have a glass of wine with George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, the founding fathers.  Patrick asked, but what if Washington was a UNC fan tongue in cheek.  Krzyzewski responded by saying, "He's not a Carolina fan or he wouldn't be after a few bottles of wine."  Kyrie Irving was also on the show and spoke of keeping up with Josh Hairston and his happiness that Rivers shot beat the aforementioned rival North Carolina.

ESPN GameDay is coming to Durham for UNC-Duke Game

The GameDay crew of Reece Davis, former Duke player Jay Bilas, former coaches Digger Phelps and Bob Knight and former UNC player Hubert Davis will broadcast live from Cameron Indoor Stadium during the North Carolina at Duke game on March 3rd.  Former players and guests will appear.  More details to come from BDN as the event nears.  In the past, some fans just come for the atmosphere and then watch the game locally.  Tickets to a Duke and UNC game are next to impossible to obtain in Cameron without giving away your first born or a large section of your wallet.

Another reminder for Greensboro

The first round of the NCAA Tournament in Greensboro will feature Duke and North Carolina and tickets are still available, so go to ticketmaster and get them now and show off your royal blue colors in an effort to move the team on.

Coach K post game comments

Here are a few comments from Coach K on yesterday's game where Terry Rains represented the Nation in these two BDN Vids

A look back at another amazing Duke win – time to give the Devils their due

DURHAM, N.C. - Duke Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski entered a sweltering and packed media room in Cameron Indoor Stadium and he wanted no part of fielding questions about the Blue Devils perceived or real short comings or areas of needed improvement.  And who can blame him?  His team just pulled off an amazing comeback victory over a game N.C. State Wolfpack team that led his Blue Devils by 20 points with 11:33 on the clock in the second half.

Once again, Austin Rivers hit a huge three point shot with 2:26 left giving Duke a 73-71 lead and one they'd hold onto ending the game with a 78-73 victory keeping them in a three way tie atop the conference.  "When we made that run, I could just feel it.  I could just feel it.  I felt confident.  I love those games," said an elated Rivers.

While he may have liked the outcome, he was quick to say as did other Blue Devils that they cannot keep digging holes and expect to comeback.  In a span of eight days, Austin hit two of the biggest shots of  the season with one being  a dagger to the heart buzzer beater over arch rival North Carolina.

To give you an idea of the ferocity of the comeback, it was the largest in the Krzyzewski era, down 14 in the half.   "That was an amazing win," said the Hall of Fame coach who broke the all time NCAA win mark this season.  He continued, "I thought our fans were terrific, they never let us die."

And Cameron did rock and it sounded like jet aircraft taking off the runway when Rivers nailed the three to put Duke ahead for good.  There were times when every fan in the old girl were standing and it has been while since the collective did that. 

While it seemed bleak for much of the game, the first 29 minutes to be exact, Duke kept the faith, their heart and never quit which payed off in a most big way.  "They thoroughly outplayed us for close to 29 minutes but we thoroughly outplayed them for 11," said Krzzyewski.

And those 11 minutes were amazing (37-13 run to end the game) for a Duke team that has set the tone for ACC drama of late.  A quick look at the message boards, showed a lot of fans giving up, just as they had in the North Carolina game, only to all come back and dine on a crow sandwich as they celebrated another incredible and impossible to script win.

"Heroic," was the word Krzyzewski used for Seth Curry in the post game and man was he on the mark.  The junior went to the sidelines with what seemed like a game ending injury and he was escorted to the training room by Duke trainer Jose Fonsesca.    Curry told Fonseca that he didn't know if he could make a go of it according to Krzyzewski, but he was told he had to and he did and in the process had a story book 2nd half.

Curry dropped 21 of his team high 26 points in the second half in what I feel was his best game of the season.  He drew praise from his coach for his strong play with the ball in his hands and he was a match up nightmare for the befuddled Wolfpack team.  "That was a heroic performance by Seth," said Krzyzewski.  Duke will scheduled to take a look at his injury today to see if he is a go for Boston College this Sunday.

Now back to Krzyzewski and that hot media room.  A mildly flustered Krzyzewski when questioned by media said, "No, no, no,"when questioned about his concerns.  "You know what I am concerned with today? A celebration of a great win.  Whatever string of things happened, we are 22-4 and ranked in the top five of the RPI all season long. We're not a perfect team, but we're a good team," stated the long time Duke head coach.

And he is right.  Far too often the media and especially the fan base expect perfection yet overlook the fact of the seasons accomplishments to date.  The bottom line is Duke won and they are winning and they are competing with anyone.  Go back and harp on a loss at Ohio State if you like, but this is a better team now and a resilient one at that.

And keep in mind how tired Duke was after starting the season off in China and Dubai, then to Hawaii, New York and then Columbus where they faced a team that had nine days rest and had not played away from home with the Buckeyes.  Just sayin'

While there is no take charge leader on this years team, there is a perpetual will to get better and win and the Blue Devils continue to find ways of hanging around in the top five ranked teams in the country.  This Blue Devils team is finding ways to win in tough situations and that is the mark of a winner.

Pundits, critics and haters will continue to speak of the short comings of Duke while not recognizing their amazing success and a string of two memorable victories.  The media is just like that, some say doing there job, but the fan base should know better and if you haven't noticed yet, this team is pretty darn good and still learning.

Sit back and enjoy the season as it winds down and leave the nit picking to others.  This team has been amazing and it is time to give the Devils their due.