Category Archives: Monday Musings

Monday Musings – More Duke Stuff

Welcoming to Monday Musings where there is nothing but Duke stuff to absorb. k2It is currently a good time to be a Duke Blue Devil fan with Mike Krzyewski in the heat of battle with Team USA in Rio to football being in full gear.

A bit of a thankless position for Krzyzewski 

Mike Krzyzewski took over Team USA when it was at a low point and has since righted the ship.  That's what leaders do.  The Duke Basketball coach is in the midst of going for his third Gold Medal for the country which is more than a little impressive.  It's a thankless position in a sense these days, especially if Team USA should lose.

There have been some close calls to date and as we enter the medal round;  some critics or haters are sharpening their teeth to gnash away from their armchair seat is there is a stumble.  The reality that is not recognized is that this team has been together for a month. And there is no appreciation for how good the world is at a sport with teams who play together much more often, having strived to get better over time.  No excuses, just facts.  let's not forget players backing out at pretty much the last-minute not allowing for strategic planning.

Coach K as he is known by most of us, has never lost in the Olympics. In my opinion, the players will rise to the occasion under his leadership in the coming days and the mission will be accomplished.  Hopefully by then, people will realize the immense expectations the team has which in fairness comes with the territory.  The man is closing in on his legacy where he helped those expectations come back to life, for before he took over, said expectation had been tarnished.

Hoops is creating a lot of hype,

Meanwhile, back in Durham

Far away from the happening in Rio, the Duke Men's Basketball team is at work preparing for the upcoming season.  Much like the situation above, Coach Mike Krzyzewski will be expected to win it all this season with a deservedly hyped team.

Videos are coming out of Durham and Duke at breakneck speed building hype on this seasons talented bunch.  The team has been under the watchful eyes of assistants Nate James and Jon Scheyer who are leading the team through varying drills.

Pretty soon, you will see Grayson Allen adorning preseason magazine covers per my sources.  Duke will be good this year - very good, if not nasty good.  With key veterans like Allen., Matt Jones, Amile Jefferson and Luke Kennard returning, you have a solid nucleus to teach the talented newcomers.

And those newcomers can play.  Already showing off their skill set in drills are Jayson Tatum, Frank Jackson,, Marques Bolden, Javin DeLaurier, Jack White and company.  Oh, and Harry Gile is coming along as well.

Anyhow, the official schedule will release by the ACC in the next week or so.  And for what it is worth you will see that the team has plenty of challenges.  In fact, the ACC road schedule is brutal and if you have been paying attention, the league  will be loaded.

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Duke stuff is us.

Duke Football

Oh how times have changed.  Duke Football recruiting is currently ranked 18th in the country by ESPN with concern to next seasons class.  The health of the program is on solid footing for the future as changes are being worked on a breakneck speed in Wallace Wade Stadium for the coming season.

From my understanding, some of the renovations are a little behind or have had to be altered, bit fans will get the gist of what is to come when Duke kicks off the season in 18 days versus NCCU.  But when you see some possible delays in the finished product, remember that the foundation is solid under Coach David Cutcliffe's watch.

This off-season, Duke worked hard on what they called ''The Year of the Beast,'' in an effort to get stronger as a team.  This consisted of some serious weight training which will help many younger players as they enter the season.

Duke is one of the most inexperienced teams in the league this year with concern to returnees, but this is a team that has been recruiting well.  The schedule is brutally tough, but a fifth consecutive bowl bid is within reach and it will be fun to see how the team responds to the challenge.

Early in preseason drills, we see Thomas Sirk rehabbing his Achilles tendon injury in as fast a way ever.  His leadership is evident in practices despite him not being at full strength just yet.  It is also worth noting that the run game looks solid with veterans Jela Duncan and Shaun Wilson, not to mention some talented newcomers.

The key for Duke this season will be the play up front on both offense and defense.  New coaches are working with the players in this area where several new guys will be expected to contribute and start right away.


Monday Musings – Duke Athletics Thoughts

2It's time to rekindle Monday Musings and this week we'll share some idle thoughts on  Duke Football and Basketball.  The football team was the victim of an officiating snafu that has the nation talking.  Meanwhile, Duke Basketball played their first game under their 2015 National Championship banner.

The aftermath is bitter

As we all know by now, the Atlantic Coast Conference suspended the officiating crew that called the Duke-Miami game this past Saturday.  That's not much of a consolation to the Duke Football program in that they have an undeserved blemish in the loss column which in turn caused the team to fall out oft he national rankings.  There are quite simply no adequate apologies for not getting this game right from league officials in that the outcome may well prevent the team from winning their division.  Duke is also forced to deal with unnecessary bitterness from the loss and must deal with the psychological aspects from the fiasco.  All in all, they have been forced fed a bitter pill they are expected to swallow and move on.  There is no sugar coating the fact that this falls far to the left of the fairness meter and it will take a while to shake the result off.  And if that is not bad enough, the program will be expected to endure the replays for years to come in that their will not be an accompanying asterisk beside the play or their 6-2 record.  What is even more disturbing is that the team is a loss away from falling deep into the division pack should other teams win.

No choice but to move forward

The Blue Devils have no choice other than to move on and with North Carolina looming, they'd better do so and soon.  Coach David Cutcliffe knows he has to get back to work and soon.  In fact, he said that he would let the university continue to look into the situation as he did just that in his Sunday call in show with members of the media.  Duke cannot lay all the blame on one play, meaning they must improve in certain areas on the field as a team and a staff.  The Blue Devils should have won consecutive thrillers to be sure, but had the margin been more manageable the games would not come down to a single play.

UNC will present quite the challenge

A season ago, North Carolina came into Wallace Wade pumped up and prepared.  The Tar Heels put their collective knees in the Blue Devils chest on their way to a convincing victory.  This seasons version of North Carolina football is even better where their offense can score on practically any defensive scheme in bunches.  Their defense also rose to the occasion by playing perhaps their best game of the season.  The Blue Devils will have to focus in and soon for all indications are that the Tar Heels have as expected circled this game on their calendar.  This would have been a game against two 7-1 teams, but now Duke finds themselves in a dreaded must win situation due to the tainted loss to Miami.

Scrimmage shows little insight on the season to come

The Duke Basketball team rolled over Florida Southern, scoring in bunches in Cameron Indoor Stadium this past Friday.  Quite frankly, it was more of a first view for the fan base than an accurate barometer on what to expect this coming season.  We are likely to see Mike Krzyzzewski and his staff settle in on a core group of players sooner than one might expect.   The lack of size of their opponent dictated smaller lineups at times which made the big man rotation different from what we could see.  The freshman all looked good while the veterans showed they were indeed the core of the team in the early season contest.  Matt Jones suffered what could be a nagging groin injury while Grayson Allen had some trouble adjusting to the surprise of many.  Duke will take to the court again this Wednesday evening against Livingstone.  The regular season begins with back to back games on November 13th and 14th against Siena and Bryant.  The Blue Devils will seek to find more team chemistry in said games before their November 17th meeting with Kentucky in the State Farm Champions Classic.

Viewing Notes

The only way to see the exhibition game with Livingstone is through BDN + via subscription on the site.  Saturdays football game versus UNC will kickoff at 12 noon on ESPN 2.  The first of the regular season games for men's basketball versus Siena will be on ESPNU.  The next evening will provide more of a challenge for viewers in that the Bryant game will be the only contest this season carried on ESPN 3.

Monday Musings – A Great Week For Duke

front page devilFans were treated to the best Duke Basketball of the season in this weeks past two wins.  The Blue Devils are playing spirited basketball despite being down to just eight scholarship players.

Cameron at it's best for win over UNC

The old girl Cameron Indoor Stadium is known for it's fans but it had been a while since it's been as good of late.  During the win over UNC, the place gave the Blue Devils a needed lift staying in the game with a never say die effort.  The team, of course, had the same mentality and Duke came away with two fun, meaningful and memorable wins.  The Crazies also showed up for the Clemson game and Duke put on one of their better performance of the season.

Classic win over UNC

Well, when you come back to win in overtime as Duke did over a UNC team playing good basketball, it is memorable.  The win over their arch rival was an instant classic where Tyus Jones became a part of Duke legends who willed their team to win.  But it wasn't just his play, for Quinn Cook was as good a senior leader as one could ask for in the game.  Amazingly, Duke has showed no signs of wilting as other teams past had despite playing three freshman pretty much the entire game.  The win still has the fan base buzzing and Duke riding high.

The confidence carried over to Clemson

How many teams could lose Jahlil Okafor to injury, have just seven recruited players available and rip Clemson apart?  Not many.  The Blue Devils moved he ball like no other time this season on the offensive end.  They played zone the entire game which allowed them to press and gain the legs to run the ball when they boarded the ball or stops were made.  In short, Duke put on a clinic once they got rolling over Clemson in a feel good win.  The performance was the best job of the season for Coach Mike Krzyzewski and his staff.  The week was the best of the season for the team who is riding high going on the road against Virginia Tech this week.  Duke has played so well that they well could make a jump in the polls despite teams ahead of them not losing.

Recruits have to be impressed

Against UNC, Caleb Swanigan was cheering like he played for Duke.  Dennis Smith Jr. and Harry Giles exchanged many a comment and Derryck Thornton lost his business like demeanor during the comeback win.  Early returns are that all the prospects came away impressed and see that Duke is a place where freshman do contribute  right away.  Brandon Ingram took in the action against Clemson as well and Duke looks to add him to Luke Kennard who visited for the UNC game and Chase Jeter who will be here for Wake Forest.  All in all, it's an important and good time for Duke Basketball on the recruiting front.

Dukies in the NBA

Well, Miles Plumlee recently joined the Milwaukee Bucks.  Kyle Singler was traded to Oklahoma City where he has already started two games as well.  And in Los Angeles, JJ Redick and Austin Rivers went off in the same game for a big win.  Some of the Duke alum are finding new and better situations and homes and it will be fin to watch progress this season.

Monday Musings – Duke, K turn it around

JahlilBack in the Race

Duke Basketball reentered the ACC race with their weekend road victory over Louisville.  After losing consecutive games to unranked conference opponents, Coach Mike Krzyzewski dared to go zone and we all know the result.  That begs the question will this strategy continue and from my seat I think we'll see a mix moving forward depending on match ups.  The win stopped the bleeding and enabled the Blue Devils to almost assuredly remain a top ten team when the polls come out later today.  The win also puts Krzyzewski two wins shy of the remarkable milestone of 1000 wins.

Two more for Coach Cut

Duke added a fleet of foot cornerback in Jeremy McDuffie this past week.  Thawzanga Mugala also backed out of his Purdue verbal to come to Duke.  Mugala is a DE and the Blue Devils will be naming a new coach for the line within the week.  Coach Cut continues to build momentum on the recruiting trail assuring Duke to be a contender as the stadium renovations progress.

Miles Plumlee on the trading block

Former Duke basketball players Miles Plumlee is expected to be traded before the NBA trade deadline expires.  Plumlee has seen his minutes diminish a bit due to the Phoenix Suns adding depth to the front court via trades.  Up to six teams have shown interest per sources.  In other NBA news, Austin Rivers was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers where he will play for his Dad and join Duke alum JJ Redick for the remainder of the season.

Next up, Pitt

Duke has little time to enjoy their bounce back win over Louisville in that they play Pitt tonight in Cameron.  Don't expect another let down for Duke will get back to their roots a bit and mix man and maybe some zone in this one with a solid focus.  Pitt struggles on offense and that could play right into the Blue Devils hands but one can never overlook a conference opponent.  Look for the Blue Devil to try and get Justus Winslow going on the offensive end and to have success from the three point stripe.  By nights end, Coach Mike Krzyzewski will be one game shy of his 1000th career win.




Monday Musings – Bowl Week for Duke

DSC_0310I'm personally excited that it is finally bowl week and look forward to watching Duke take on a tough 15th ranked  Arizona State Wildcats team on Saturday.  I want to also wish all of the Blue Devil Nation Happy Holidays and a Merry Christmas and hope all of you can spend time with loved ones.  Please consider saving me the leftovers this holiday season and with that said here is an abbreviated version of Monday Musings to get the week started.

Plenty to Play For

The Duke Blue Devils football team takes on the Arizona State Sun Devils this coming Saturday in the Sun Bowl.  The event has long been covered by CBS Sports and they provided plenty of commercials for the annual game during their NFL telecasts on Sunday.  I cannot help but to think back to watching the Sun Devils throttle Notre Dame and their coach in the post game interview.  Like Duke, Arizona State is seeking respect and he hammered home how hungry his team was.  But there is hunger on the Duke side as well and the Blue Devils desperately want a bowl win.  With a win, Duke would likely once again place in the final top 25 at the end of the season.  It'll be a tall order for the underdog David Cutliffe led Blue Devils and it will be a fun game to watch unfold.  Kickoff is at 2:00 and look for our preview coming later this week.  Blue Devil Nation will take in the game as well where Patrick Cacchio will be their live for all the happenings.

Wallace Wade Improvements

One could not help but notice when walking to a Duke Men's Basketball game the changes occurring at Wallace Wade Stadium.  The field is indeed being lowered and the crews are working around the clock to makes sure the first phase stays on schedule.  There are many fans who waited a good long time for a facelift to happen.  While I miss walking or running around the track already thinking back on Duke Football ghosts past, I look more forward to new memories.  The football program has plenty of momentum and the dedication needed from the Duke Administration to compete at a high level now.  The future looks bright for Cutcliffe and his program and it's good to know that the coach has found his home.

A Dose of Reality

In the last two wins over Elon and UConn, the Blue Devils at times looked vulnerable.  Coach Mike Krzyzewski pointed to this post Elon win and provided a myriad of possible reasons.  Duke is flying high right now at 10-0 but the coming ACC slate is a beast this season.  With the way this team started the season, they looked as if they were at the top of their game.  But there are plenty of more lessons to be learned from a group which starts three freshman.  Those lessons will become more clear to us as the games come more frequently on the schedule past the final holiday break.  For the record, most of the team has gone home to their families, so it's a good thing Duke has two non conference games to shake off the rust upon their return.

Figuring Out Scheduling

The always nice Holiday Invitational kicks off this coming Friday in Raleigh where Duke prospects Brandon Ingram, Dennis Smith Jr. take center stage.  Unfortunately, the Duke Bowl game takes place the same Saturday.  Duke takes on Toledo at home on the final day of the event and the women's team takes on UConn the same evening.  That schedule makes it tough on local Duke fans who want to watch possible future hoopsters compete.

Monday Musings – Duke Mania: Three Games in 26 Hours

Clemson v DukeTake your vitamins now Duke fans for there is a busy, yet fun weekend coming up.   It all starts this Friday at 6 p.m. when Coach Mike Krzyewski and the Blue Devils basketball team takes on Presbyterian in Cameron Indoor Stadium.  The very next day, Duke (8-1) will host Virginia Tech in football at high noon in Wallace Wade Stadium.  And later that evening, Duke will play its second basketball game of the young season against Fairfield at 8 p.m. in Cameron, again.

Yep!  That's three games tipping or kicking off on campus within 26 hours.  I suppose that makes for a maniacal experience for many and it's sure to keep a lot of scribes banging at their keyboards from duck until dawn.  That said, let's take a look at the two basketball games sandwiching a huge football game in between in the latest Monday Musings.

_SAC2534The Season Opens For Duke Basketball

There is no shortage of excitement for this years tip off to the men's basketball season at Duke and for good reason, or reasons.  Firstly Coach Mike Krzyzewski will win his unprecedented 1000th collegiate basketball victory unless half the team is goes down to injury.  Yes, that was sarcasm for this years team is truly loaded.  It all starts with an incredibly talented and mature freshman class which features the much hyped Jahlil Okafor.  Blend the group which includes Tyus Jones, Justise Winslow and Grayson Allen in with some key vets like Amile Jefferson, Quinn Cook, Matt Jones, Rasheed Sulaimon, Semi Ojeleye, Marshall Plumlee and you have a pretty darn good team.  Anyhow, they will take on the Blue Hose who hope the second part of their last name doesn't get a letter added by games end.  Presbyterian is led by Jordan Downing who is a Big South Pre Season All Conference Team player,  Downing is a guy they need on the court and he is a prolific scorer.

SONY DSCEnter The Hokies At Noon On Saturday

Wallace Wade should be rocking when a traditional ACC power Virginia Tech comes to town.  What makes the Hokies dangerous is that they are coming off a bye week and they'll be hungry to avenge last seasons home loss to Duke.  The word out of Blacksburg is that they expect to sweep their final three games and carry a 7-5 resurgent record into bowl game.  But Duke is on a roll and they are fighting to get back to Charlotte for the ACC Championship Game.  The Blue Devils have become not only a good team under David Cutcliffe, but a good program.  The Blue Devils are firmly ranked in the polls, but they want to prove the few doubters remaining wrong and solidify their standing as a program that has arrived.  This will be a physical battle between to very hungry teams and Wade will need their Wacko's to be there and into the game from start to finish and wearing their Duke Blue.

Catch Your Breath Quickly, For Hoops Plays Fairfield The Same Evening

By the end of the evening, the Duke Men's Coaching Staff will have a much better idea of what their team is capable of doing this season.  With two games in two days, Duke is likely to play a lot of players and combinations and that'll be fine by Coach K.   Early in the season, Krzyzewski is known to experiment with his line ups.  We'll see right off the bat how his team responds to two games in two days which is what you will get at year's end in tournament settings.  The opponent for Duke will be the Fairfield Staggs who are coming off and exhibition win over Bridgeport.  The player to watch for the Staggs will be Marcus Gilbert who scored 26 points in the win.  Look for Duke to try to push him off the three-point stripe where he is effective.  It's bit of a rebuilding year for the Staggs who are picked at the bottom of their conference.


We checked with some local motels and there are a lot of rooms booked for the weekend but plenty left if you're willing to drive some reasonable miles.  There are some tickets left at GoDuke for the football game.  If you cannot attend this weekend, tune into Blue Devil Nation who will be at all three games.  For those who cannot make the trip to Durham for the games, both basketball games and the football contest will all be carried by ESPNU.

Duke Had a Visitor And Will Get Another

Caleb Swanigan, a 6-8 post player from the Class of 2015 visited Duke during its exhibition basketball game win this past weekend.  Swanigan has offers from pretty much everybody.  Duke will get a visit from their main target in the lithe Brandon Ingram this Saturday as well.  He is considering neighbors UNC and NCSU as well and recently visited UCLA.   More talk on him for members of the Blue Devil Nation Premium section.

ingram 005Blue Devil Nation Social Media

Follow our football staff at Bob Green @JBobGreen, Patrick Cacchio @PatrickCacchio.  For basketball and football, that would be me @BlueDevilNation.Net.  Also please like our slowly being built Blue Devil Nation Facebook page and if you are a Duke fan join our popular Facebook Group Blue Devil Nation where you'll find great Duke content.