Duke Basketball

Duke reading to kick off the new season

Duke will showcase a young team this season and things get started Friday night when Presbyterian comes into Cameron Indoor Stadium. There will be no more Jabari Parker, but Coach K has reloaded with some young studs that are reading to show what they can do for the #4 rated team in the country to start the 2014-2015 season.

So we welcome in one and done Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones, Justise Winslow and Grayson Allen. Expect to see a lot of Okafor, Jones and Winslow tonight to go along with Quinn Cook, Rasheed Sulaimon and Matt Jones. Expect that to be the rotation for the time being while the coaching staff sees how the younger guys mesh in and contribute. Cook is the lone scholarship Senior on the team this year.

I expect a blow out tonight as do the vegas line makers as they currently have the Blue Devils favored by 38 points in tonights game.

GO DUKE!

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Category: Duke Basketball, Duke Basketball Game Notes

Duke season comes to an end

It has been almost a week since we watched Duke fall to Mercer in the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament. Duke fans sure wasn’t expecting it but it came happened and for the second time in three years a Duke team didn’t make it out of the 2nd/3rd round set of games. To just put it out there, the 78-71 loss was pretty damn embarrassing in my opinion.

The 14th-seeded Mercer Bears with a starting lineup of five seniors played Duke strong through out the first half and then pulled ahead in the last five minutes of the game when their leadership took over. Duke on the other hand and no one step up and take over the game. Rodney Hood? Nope, Jabari Parker? Nope. Both players never got it going in a very disappointing loss.

The two guys that did play well were Quinn Cook – 23 point and Rasheed Sulaimon – 20 points.

In the end however it was the Mercer leadership that won. A team with five seniors coming up with the biggest win of their careers in their final season of play. That sounds like a Duke team where we used to have Seniors playing meaningful games and leading their teams to victory.

So will Coach K stop with the one and done type players? Not according to his press conference. He said we will still recruit the best high school players out there no matter if they plan on leaving after one year, or staying all four years and graduating. The incoming recruiting class has four highly rated players including Jahill Okafor who is expected to definitely be a one and done type player. The one plus for Okafor though, is that he is a big man that can play down low. Something Duke is missing when they are so guard orientated. When the three ball isn’t dropping, hopefully Okafor will be be scoring down in the paint.

In the end, it was another lousy season for a Duke fan. I’m sure the coaches and players feel the same way. Any time you are getting knocked out by Lehigh or Mercer, it is a lousy season…

@JustDukeCom

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Category: Duke Basketball, Duke Basketball Game Notes

Duke the #3 seed in the Midwest region

Duke had a long shot chance of possibly grabbing a number one seed on Sunday had they beat Virginia in the ACC Tournament championship but that didn’t go as planned as Virginia controlled the game with a tight defense, crisp passing and was able to get to the free throw line as they beat the Blue Devils 72-63.

So with the loss, the selection committee put the Blue Devils in the stacked Midwest region and gave them a number 3 seed. The first game will be played Friday March 21 at 12:15 p.m. at PNC Arena in Raleigh vs Mercer. Mercer is the 14 seed and comes into the tournament with a 26-8 record and a 14-4 record in the A-Sun conference. As a team, Mercer averages close to 80 points a game so Duke is going to have to play some tight defense to pull out the win.

Wichita State received the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region, followed by No. 2 Michigan, No. 3 Duke and No. 4 Louisville. A win over Mercer would propel Duke to the NCAA Third Round where they would face the winner of sixth-seeded UMass and the first-round match up of Iowa and Tennessee. That Iowa/Tenneesee game would be a fun to watch!

We will be tweeting during the entire tournament so follow @JustDukeCom on twitter and join in!

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Category: Duke Basketball, Duke Basketball Game Notes

Round one to the bad guys

The first matchup in the heated rivalry between Duke and North Carolina went to the bad guys as they took a late lead and knocked down their free throws in the final minutes to beat Duke 74-66. As a Duke fan, I know these games are typically close and one stretch of game in the second half usually is the different. Thursday night was no different in the Dean Dome.

Duke went scoreless over a eight minute stretch in the middle of the second half. The scoring drought was primarily caused when UNC went to a zone that had the Blue Devils jacking up three pointers that were not dropping. For some reason, I have to question why Andre Dawkins was not in the game during this stretch when Carolina started playing the zone.

A few other factors in the 8 point loss was the lack of fire on the defensive end of the game for Duke. They didn’t seen to play with fire and really go after rebounds or box out. I can really only think of Marshall Plumlee who rebounded well and showed some aggression while playing down low. That kid really stepped up his game last night. For the other guys, not so much.

So round one goes to the Tar Hells with round two being played at Cameron. I expect a totally different team to show up to even up the series this year. Play with some fire and intensity for 40 minutes and never take your foot off the pedal. It’s time to learn how to finish off teams in the second half.

@JustDukeCom

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Category: Duke Basketball, Duke Basketball Game Notes

Duke falls at Syracuse

It wasn’t the ending we were hoping for Saturday night when Duke traveled up to Syracuse to play in front of 35,000 people in the dome but there were a lot of good things to come from the loss. The team fought, fought and fought to the final horn and did so with out Jabari Parker and Amile Jefferson on the bench after fouling out.

There were a lot of iffy calls that Duke fans thought went against the Blue Devils. The main one was when Rodney Hood went to dunk it and was fouled across the arm but the whistle never blew. Hood would have had a shot to tie the game with one free throw or put the team ahead with two free throws. The no call was pretty much the end of the game.

Despite the call, the guys seemed to grow this last week with the road win at Pitt and the close game at Syracuse. Coach K is getting the lineup how it needs to be for the most part and rotations are shaping up. Losing a conference game like this is fine, just gotta learn and build from it so you are stronger come March when the games really matter.

P.S. Rasheed Sulaimon you are a beast!

@JustDukeCom

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Category: Duke Basketball, Duke Basketball Game Notes

Duke beats Pitt in the Zoo 80-65

It took a good second half but Duke went into Pittsburgh and beat the Panthers 80-65 in what Pitt students call “The Zoo”. The second half had the Blue Devils outscoring Pitt 46-33 which propelled them to a 80-65 ACC road victory.

The three point shot was key late as Andre Dawkins got hot and knocked down three after three to extend the lead. Dre finished with 20 points as he came off the bench to spark the Blue Devils. If he keeps shooting like this, we just might see him in the starting lineup soon as other guards have struggled to shoot the rock.

Freshman Jabari Parker got back to his usual self and led the team with 21 points. It was the Jabari show in the first half and the Dawkins show in the second half. A great combination to go along with Amile Jefferson and Rodney Hood who both also scored in double figures for Duke.

This was a big road win for the team. They continue to learn how to play together and do it on a hostile environment was huge. “The Zoo” fans really wanted to beat Duke as it was the first meeting since joining the conference but Duke showed who the better team was and came out on top to give Pitt their second conference loss.

 

@JustDukeCom

 

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Category: Duke Basketball, Duke Basketball Game Notes

Duke bounces back with win over Virginia

It wasn’t pretty but finally Duke got back in the win column with a 69-65 win over visiting Virginia on Monday night.

Debuting their lowest ranking since the last time they fell out of the AP Top 25 in February 2007, they let an 11-point lead with 3 1/2 minutes completely slip away before finding a way to avoid a third loss in four games. They held on mostly due to Rasheed Sulaimon who got a nice to bounce on a three point attempt and a couple of big rebounds by Amile Jefferson. Sulaimon finished with a season-high 21 points

There had been a lot of talk heading in to the game as to why the team had been struggling as of late. Was  Jabari Parker pressing as plays more games as a Freshman? What happened to the lock down defense that Duke has been known for? It wasn’t either of those as Coach K explained in his press conference after the game. He put all the blame on himself saying he hasn’t coached the best since his brother passed away in December. You can’t fault Coach for that, as a team the assistant coaches need to step up and the players definitely need to step up. Lets hope that the win over Virginia get the guys motivated and headed in the right direction as we get into the meat of conference place.

You may have noticed there hadn’t been any new posts for a while. I had been extremely busy with family matters and a little bit of traveling I wasn’t even able to watch the two games before the game vs Virginia. I should be back posting more and tweeting as well over at @JustDukeCom

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Category: Duke Basketball, Duke Basketball Game Notes

Duke with a 80-63 win over UCLA

Duke got back to their winnings ways of dominating in the second half and cruised pass the UCLA Bruins 80-63 as the two teams faced off in New York City. The game was tied at the half 37-37 but a strong second half performance by Jabari Parker, Rasheed Sulaimon and Amile Jefferson had the Blue Devils pulling away late in the in the game for a convincing 17 point victory.

Jefferson ad Sulaimon played a great second half and came up with some big time buckets and defensive stops / rebounds. If the Blue Devils can get that kind of performance out of those two, look out as we head into conference play.

Parker once again shined with 23 points 10 rebounds and five assists. As we have seen all season, Jabari is basically a man out there playing against boys. As long as the Freshman can stay healthy, he could possibly be the player of the year in my opinion.

I can forget to mention Quinn Cook who dished out five assists, had seven steals and chipped in with 14 points of his own.

Great win on a neutral court against a pretty good team that is good enough to make a run in the tournament.

Duke moves to 9-2 on the season and will be in action December 28th against Eastern Michigan.

@JustDukeCom

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Category: Duke Basketball, Duke Basketball Game Notes

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