Duke reclaimed its spot on top of the AP poll this week after Kansas’ loss to Arizona State opened it up. After losing to Gonzaga, whose loss to UNC led to their fall from #1 and Kansas’ immediate assumption, Duke fell in the rankings but will now become the latest best in he NCAA. Merry Christmas to us!
The Coaches’ Poll puts Virginia at #1, but if I’m being honest that’s pretty bogus. The Hoos’ best win comes against Wisconsin, which was then ranked 24th and only scored 53 points. Of course, they’re 15th now, but Duke beat Kentucky, who was then #2 (Duke then at #4) BY 41, and Kentucky has rejoined the top 20 just behind the Badgers. Also, that Auburn win is pretty sweet and Texas Tech is really, really good and we beat them on an adverse night. Just sayin’.
Happy Holidays, Krazies! Wishing you a very happy holiday season and a wonderful New Year from the authors of Krazies’ Korner (okay, there’s only one of me but this sounds more impressive).
Bleed blue. Duke won’t play this week, but look for my preview as they’ll return from a two-week, well-deserved holiday respite next Saturday to take on Clemson in the first ACC challenge of the year.
Duke lost to Gonzaga in the Maui Invitational, 87-89, but there’s so little that you can genuinely be mad at. This team fought their butts off. Most of the game was awful, don’t get me wrong: at most, Duke trailed by 16 and Gonzaga just looked more composed, more experienced, and just a better team. Duke obviously wasn’t on their A-game but the fight and togetherness that the Blue Devils showed defeated anything Gonzaga could say about a November win, period. Get ready- there’s going to be a flurry of people saying that we’re too young, will Duke bounce back, the usual. But believe me when I say that they win that game in March, period.
RJ Barrett scored a game-high 23 points, with teammate Zion Williamson coming in second with 22. Tre Jones hit a career high (a career of 6 games, but still) 17 points. Zion also had 10 rebounds, 4 blocks, and 2 steals.
The only thing that I was really not happy with was the final minute. Duke missed seven shots in the final minute of this game, and late game protocol will come in time. This team is so young, but the shots weren’t well selected in that final minute and the one-on-two final shot taken by RJ Barrett with open teammates was not good at all. But it’s November, so I’m not terribly worried and Coach K knows how to deal with that sort of thing. That happens again, though, and we’ve got issues.
Duke plays Indiana at home in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Tuesday as they get a brief respite after a grueling three straight days of play in Maui. The biggest focus will easily be Romeo Langford, an athletic star who looks to light up the Big Ten this year.
Duke gets today what is easily their most difficult test of the season tonight in the Maui Invitational Championship vs. third-ranked Gonzaga. Much to be said for Duke’s SOS (strength of schedule)- a third top-10 matchup in the first six games? Yet we’ve excelled, and look to keep it rolling against a very talented Gonzaga team. This will be must-see TV, people. Here we go!
Time: 5:00pm ET
Venue: Lahaina Civic Center, Lahaina, HI
No TV: WatchESPN
Traveling? We Got You (Radio): Blue Devil IMG Sports Network (NC), ESPN Radio (starting 4:30)
Player to Watch, Gonz.: PF/SF R. Hachimura, 6’8, 234 lbs.
Player to Watch, Duke: Positionless Z. Williamson, 6’7, 285 lbs.
(PS: When is Zion not a player to watch?)
(PPS: All of Duke’s players are players to watch in my opinion)
Matchup to Watch: PG Tre Jones (Duke) vs. PG Josh Perkins (Gonzaga)
Duke, 16-0 in the Maui Invitational, has been invited back to Hawaii for the first time since 2011 when Kyrie Irving played. The Blue Devils will be tested, with West Coast giants Arizona and Gonzaga also participating. You may remember that Duke faced SDSU in 2015 during the Round of 32, which the Blue Devils won, 68-49, and would go on to win the 2015 National Championship against Wisconsin. This year’s tournament will take place at the Lahaina Civic Center.
Bleed blue, Duke fans. Let’s get ready for the football season! I will cover Duke’s football season starting in August. Bull City Proud!