BDN caught up to Duke freshman, Alex Murphy who chatted about the day in the life of a redshirt. Murphy has had an adjustment to not playing for the first time in his life this season but says this year will pay off. His concentration has been on getting stronger in the weight room and learning the Blue Devil system and while he thinks he could have helped this years team, he's happy with the decision that was made and plans on being at Duke for a long time to come. Murphy also speaks to possibly playing for the Finnish National team this summer and more in this one on one interview conducted just before the North Carolina game in Cameron.
[5 AP / 4 Coaches] Duke (24-4, 11-2) vs. Virginia Tech (15-13, 4-9)
Saturday, February 25, 2012 • 12:00 p.m. • ACC Network
The Opening Tip
• Duke (24-4, 11-2) faces Virginia Tech in an ACC home contest on Saturday, Feb. 25 at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Tipoff is set for 12:00 p.m.
• Tim Brandt (play-by-play) and Cory Alexander (analyst) will call the game for the ACC Network.
• Duke is ranked No. 5 in the AP Poll and No. 4 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. The Blue Devils are 68-24 when ranked No. 5 in the AP Poll. Virginia Tech is not ranked in either poll.
• Duke is the only team in the NCAA to rank in the top 5 in RPI, Strength of Schedule as well as the AP and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls. Duke has three wins against top 10 teams in the RPI.
• The Blue Devils are 12-2 at home this season with both losses coming against ACC teams. Duke has not lost more than two games on Coach K Court since the 2006-07 season.
• With Thursday’s win at Florida State, Duke has assumed first place in the ACC standings.
Duke-Virginia Tech Series
• Duke and Virginia Tech have met 46 times heading into Saturday’s game with the first meeting between the two schools coming on Feb. 16, 1912.
• The Blue Devils lead the all-time series 38-8, including a 9-3 ledger since the Hokies joined the ACC.
• Duke won the previous meeting this season 75-60 in Blacksburg, Va., thanks to an 18-point effort from freshman Austin Rivers. Duke has won two in a row in the series and six of the last seven meetings.
• The Blue Devils are 15-1 against the Hokies in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
• Mike Krzyzewski is 9-3 at Duke against the Hokies, including a 4-1 record in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
• Six of Duke’s last seven wins over Virginia Tech have been by at least 12 points. Duke’s last three losses to Virginia Tech have been by no more than four points.
l Duke has been ranked in the top 10 of the AP Poll for 90 straight weeks, the third-longest streak in NCAA history.
l The Blue Devils are 13-3 on the year in games decided by 10 points or less. The Blue Devils have six wins in ACC play by less than 10 points. Duke’s 13 wins by 10 points or less are tied for the sixth most in school history.
l Duke averages 25.5 points per game off the bench with 11 games with 30 or more bench points. The Blue Devils have had a double-digit scorer off the bench in 21 of 28 games this season.
l Only four Duke teams have won their first seven ACC road games. The Blue Devils are 7-0 in ACC road games, joining the 2005-06, 1999-2000 and 1998-99 teams as the only groups to win their first seven ACC road contests. Duke has not gone undefeated in ACC road games since 1999-2000.
l Duke has hit at least eight three-pointers in seven straight games. During that streak, the Blue Devils are shooting 37.8 percent from three-point range while averaging 30.4 ppg. from three-pointers.
l Andre Dawkins leads the ACC with a .422 three-point shooting percentage. Dawkins is 65-of-154 from beyond the arc this season and ranks third in made three-pointers.
l Duke has a +15.7 scoring margin in Cameron Indoor Stadium and a +6.6 rebounding margin at home. The Blue Devils score an average of 82.9 points per game on Coach K Court while holding opponents to 67.2 points per game. Duke has outrebounded nine of 14 opponents at home.
l Duke’s perimeter defense has improved significantly over the last 13 games. Duke has held those 13 opponents to a .277 shooting percentage from beyond the arc and allowed just three of those teams to shoot better than .350 from three-point range.
l Austin Rivers leads Duke in scoring at 15.2 points per game and has reached double figures in 24 contests. He is attempting to become just the third Duke freshman to lead the team in scoring.
l Miles Plumlee is averaging 9.0 points and 11.5 rebounds over his last four games. He has two double-figure rebounding games and two double-figure scoring games during that span, including a Coach K-era record 22 boards against Maryland.
l Seth Curry has made 16 consecutive free throws and 35 of his last 38 free throw attempts. He ranks second in the ACC with an .884 free throw percentage, which would rank as the seventh highest single-season mark in school history.
l Duke has had at least four double-figure scorers in 16 games this season. The Blue Devils are 15-1 when at least four players score 10 points.
l Seven Duke players have started at least 10 games this season, tying the school record. Duke last had seven players with at least 10 starts in 2008-09.
The Duke Blue Devils (22-4, 9-2) headed north today to prepare for tomorrow evenings game against Boston College (8-18, 3-9). This is a game where the Blue Devils are heavily favored and for good reason. The Eagles have won just one of their last 10 games, but that one win was over Florida State at home, so anything can happen if you overlook a team.
The problem for the Eagles is that Duke will not overlook them and there is just too big a difference in talent to think another upset is in store. At the same time, this is one of those dreaded Sunday road games where the team just wants to get a win and then head back to Durham to prepare for the rematch with Florida State.
It's unknown whether Seth Curry will play or not after twisting his ankle but regardless, this will be a game Duke should control from the outset if they get out to a lead. The Eagles want to keep this game in the 50's and they'll employ a methodical style trying to accomplish this. The Eagles are led by Ryan Anderson, one of the better freshman in the league. He'll get help from fellow freshman Dennis Clifford and Patrick Heckmann, while junior Matt Humphrey provides leadership.
Duke should control the paint and will likely go to the Plumlee brothers, Mason and Miles early and often. The Blue Devils half court defense will be key in that the Eagles only run if they can and that is not often. Even on the road this game looks like a huge mismatch for me. If Duke pushes their three point shooter off the line, they'll succeed.
No need for heroics in this one. Look for Duke to dominate the boards and cruise to a 77-58 win.
• Game 27 •
[5 AP / 4 Coaches] Duke (22-4, 9-2) vs. Boston College (8-18, 3-9)
Sunday, February 19, 2012 • 6:00 p.m. • ESPNU
The Opening Tip
• Duke (22-4, 9-2) faces Boston College (8-18, 3-9) in an ACC road contest on Sunday, Feb. 19 at the Conte Forum. Tipoff is set for 6:00 p.m.
• Jon Sciambi (play-by-play) and Hubert Davis (analyst) will call the game for ESPNU.
• Duke is ranked No. 5 in the AP Poll and No. 4 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. The Blue Devils are 66-24 when ranked No. 5 in the AP Poll. Boston College is unranked in both polls.
• The Blue Devils are coming off a 78-73 win over N.C. State on Thursday. Duke outscored the Wolfpack 37-12 over the final 11:33 of action to overcome a 20-point second half deficit.
• Duke is the only team in the NCAA to rank in the top 5 in RPI, Strength of Schedule as well as the AP and ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.
• The Blue Devils are currently 5-0 on the road in league play. Duke hasn’t won six straight ACC road games since the 2005-06 season.
Duke-Boston College Series
• Duke and Boston College have met 15 times heading into Sunday’s game with the first meeting between the two schools coming on Dec. 21, 1979.
• The Blue Devils lead the all-time series 13-2, including a 9-1 ledger since Boston College joined the ACC.
• Duke has won four straight and 12 of the last 13 games in the series.
• Mike Krzyzewski is 12-2 at Duke against the Eagles, including a 4-1 record at the Conte Forum.
• Seven of the 10 games since Boston College joined the ACC have been decided by 10 points or less.
• All five games in the series that have been played at the Conte Forum have been decided by 10 points or less.
• Duke and Boston College have met twice in the ACC Tournament with Duke winning both games.
l The Blue Devils are 9-2 in ACC play and are one win shy of winning at least 10 conference games for the fifth straight season and the 20th time under Mike Krzyzewski.
l Duke has been ranked in the top 10 of the AP Poll for 89 straight weeks, the third-longest streak in NCAA history.
l The Blue Devils have had 10 or fewer turnovers in five ACC games and leads the conference with 10.1 turnovers per game in league play. Duke had a season-low five turnovers in Thursday’s win over N.C. State, including no turnovers over the final 13 minutes of play.
l Duke is 12-3 on the year in games decided by 10 points or less. The Blue Devils have five wins in ACC play by less than 10 points.
l The Blue Devils have held seven of their 11 ACC opponents to four three-point field goals or less. ACC opponents are shooting just 28.4 percent (44-of-155) from three-point range against Duke for the second lowest percentage in the conference.
l Duke has trailed at the half in three of the last four games and has had a second half deficit of 10 points or more in three of the last four contests. The Blue Devils overcame a 13-point second half deficit to beat North Carolina (Feb. 8) and a 20-point deficit to defeat N.C. State (Feb. 16).
l The Blue Devils average 25.1 points per game off the bench. Duke has gotten double-digit scoring from the bench in 19 of 26 games this season and the bench has scored 30 or more points in 10 games.
l Austin Rivers was named ACC Rookie of the Week for the seventh time overall and the fourth straight week on Monday. Rivers’ seven selections are the third most in ACC history, while his four straight selections tie three others for the ACC’s longest streak.
l Brothers Mason and Miles Plumlee combine to average 17.9 points and 16.3 rebounds per game this season. Either Mason or Miles has led Duke in rebounding in 24 of Duke’s 26 games. The duo has also combined for 19 double-figure rebounding games on the year.
l Seth Curry has scored in double-figures in five consecutive games and is averaging 18.6 points per game in that span. He is 16-of-37 (.432) from three-point range and is also averaging 4.4 rebounds per game in the last five contests.
l Austin Rivers leads all ACC freshmen in points per game (15.0), minutes per game (32.2), double-figure scoring games (22), 20-point games (6), field goals made (131), field goal percentage (.444) and free throws made (83). He ranks second in three-pointers made (45) and steals (24).
l Mason Plumlee ranks second in the ACC in rebounding at 9.9 rpg. He is also second in the league with 14 double-figure rebounding games and has grabbed 10 or more rebounds in four straight games and six of the last seven contest.
The Duke Blue Devils Men's Basketball team had quite a week where they defeated arch rival North Carolina on Austin Rivers buzzer beater and then came back to defeat Maryland at home. Last week, many fans were expecting doom and gloom but a week later, Duke is tied atop the conference going into an important battle with North Carolina State. Monday Musings also wishes .....
Happy Birthday Mike Krzyzewski
That's right! It's Coach K's birthday and I can only imagine how many fans would like to wish him a great birthday. It's funny how it seems that fans receive the best gift and that is simply having him captain the ship. Duke fans have been very fortunate to have been a part of the on going ride he provides.
Only six regular season games left
It's hard to believe how fast the season has gone by to date and with a mere six games left on the regular season schedule, it's time to slow down and enjoy every second left. Too many times, fans get caught up in recruiting battles and other things that can wait and in the process suddenly realize it is spring and the season past them by. Enjoy the here and now folks for this team is pretty good.
A closer look at the six remaining games
It starts with N.C. State this Thursday and this is a key game in the standings with Duke up just one game over the 7-3 Wolfpack.. Most remember UNC blowing the Pack out and think they're not up to the task of making a run at the upper division teams. But a closer look, will show their losses were to Vanderbilt, Indiana, Stanford, Syracuse, North Carolina, Virginia and the one bad loss to Georgia Tech. All but one of those losses are to respectable teams. The Blue Devils then have two road games with Boston College and Florida State and the game with the Seminoles will almost certainly be critical to both teams quest at being the regular season champion. Duke comes back home to take on Virginia Tech before embarking on their last road game at Wake Forest and end with rival North Carolina in a game that is 18 days away. I think it is fair to say that the Rivers shot will be tucked away this week and their will be focus on the task at hand. And just three home games remaining .... Following Duke Basketball is an everyday thing for many fans, but thinking there are just three games left in Cameron really makes me want to soak it all up. Senior Day for Miles Plumlee is coming as is ESPN Gameday and it'll be the last games for a few Cameron Crazies as well. Enjoy it while you can seniors!
High priase for Tyler Thornton
There are times when a look at the boz score doesn't tell the entire story on a player and that is the case with Tyler Thornton. "He's very mature as a sophomore and very comfortable in his role. He's our toughest kid. He's a Duke basketball player and our former players love Tyler," said Krzyzewski after Duke defeated Maryland 73-55 on Saturday. If you go back and watch the UNC game again, check out how cool, calm and collected Thornton is down the stretch. That's what Krzyzewski is talking about. Thornton is cool under pressure and doesn't normally force plays which are not there.
Duke ranked 4th in the Nation in new Coaches Poll
The Duke Blue Devils jumped five spots in the ESPN Coaches poll which came out about an hour ago. Here is the link. North Carolina fell to 7th while Florida State drops to 21st and Virginia 22nd give the ACC four teams in the poll. Duke is 5th in the A.P. poll flip flopping with Kansas.
Will so and so for Duke enter the NBA Draft
It doesn't matter who you ask on the team nor the year for you will get the same answer. That being the player will look at his options after the season. That's how it works at Duke. Austin and Mason will get a few questions in the coming weeks but the answers will as always be the same. I am not going to speculate either in that despite there being up to 15 games left should Duke reach the finals in New Orleans, a lot can happen between now and then. It's always good to cheer for certain players as if it may be their last games in a Duke uniform but I am in no way dropping one of my infamous cryptic hints here but simply offering a suggestion.
One more time! Get your tickets to the NCAA Tournament in Greensboro now!
I can't give you a 100% guarantee that Duke will play in Greensboro on March 16th and 18th, but I can tell you that it would shock me if they weren't there. Remember, the Tar Heels will be there too in the pod system, so be smart and get your tickets right now before it is too late by going here Ticketmaster Greensboro.
Duke is preparing to face their arch rival North Carolina this week and Blue Devil Nation was on the scene at today's press conference. Here is a one on one interview I had with Josh Hairston who has worked his way into the starting lieup the past two games -