Preview: The Rematch in Charlottesville

**UPDATE: Most sources have said that Ty Jerome will suit up for Virginia tonight; however, the likelihood that he will be 100% is low.**

The last time these two forces of the NCAA met, the questions mostly swirled on Duke’s side, while UVA remained relatively in balance. Tre Jones had just been injured and the Syracuse loss was hot on everybody’s minds as we’d looked lost without him. Duke, however, pulled out a close 72-70 win and the offense rolled smoothly with RJ Barrett at point guard. Virginia looked disoriented despite having all of its troops; the electric atmosphere created by the Cameron Crazies was sure to have been a factor.

Duke will try to recreate some of that, minus the Crazies, in Charlottesville tonight as we meet the Cavaliers again. Unfortunately, Virginia may also be short a point guard tonight as Ty Jerome is listed as day-to-day after being held out for a “sore back” against Miami last week. Many have said that his presence changes thngs a lot, and for the ‘Hoos, yes, they do. But people do forget that Duke handled a fully healthy UVA just a few weeks ago without our most impactful player on the court. UVA has not seen what Tre Jones does to a game and I think that will be a big factor tonight.

One thing has to hold true for the Blue Devils today: despite the fact that RJ and Zion have shown that they’re able to handle the pack-line, we need Cam Reddish and Jack White to shoot the three well and intelligently today. Not forcing up shots– goodness no, as that’s how Virginia suffocates people– but good shots.

There is, of course, the home court advantage for Virginia. It’s not that much of a difference as Duke thrives in these atmospheres, but at least the Wahoos won’t have to hear deafening screams about UMBC and Kyle Guy’s hair for 2 hours nonstop.

Game Notes: Duke Blue Devils at Virginia Cavaliers

Date: Saturday, February 2, 2019

Time: 6:00pm

Venue: John Paul Jones Arena, Charlottesville, VA

Video: ESPN

Radio: ESPN Radio, Blue Devil IMG Sports Network

Bleed blue. Let’s get hyped: watch this a bunch today.

Game Notes: vs. Boston College

Duke faces yet another challenger that won’t bring back great memories for those of us around last year: the top-ranked Blue Devils were toppled by the Eagles in a shocking upset. It wasn’t a random thing: we had our flaws but Boston College shot miraculously well especially from range. This year, though, is a different story. BC does not return Jerome Robinson, who was easily the leader throughout the season and in the game with 24 points at BCV, but they do still have both Jordan Chatman and Ky Bowman, who combined for 52 points last year.

However, again, this is not the same Duke team coming into this game. The 2017-2018 Blue Devils were not the most profound defensive team at the time of the loss (we still love you guys, but let’s be honest). Different story this time: we’re currently ranked fourth in the country in defensive efficiency as well as tenth in the country in offensive efficiency. With those two statistics in mind as well as the atmosphere that is Cameron Indoor Stadium, always a difference maker, BC faces a challenge much different than last year.

Also, there happen to be these two guys named Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett. Not that they’ll be a factor or anything.

Game Notes

Boston College Eagles at Duke Blue Devils

Date: Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Time: 7:00 PM ET

Venue: Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, NC

TV: ESPN

Radio: Blue Devil IMG Sports Network

Bleed blue.

Game Notes: Duke at Notre Dame

Duke travels up North this week to take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The Irish are in a down year after losing veterans Bonzie Colson and Matt Farrell, but of course there’s no down game in the ACC and these guys are nothing to sleep on. Notre Dame does face a four-game losing streak at the moment.

Duke Blue Devils at Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Date: Monday, January 28, 2019

Time: 7:00pm ET

Venue: Edmund P. Joyce Athletic and Convocation Center

TV: ESPN

Radio: Blue Devil IMG Sports Network

Leading Scorer, Duke: RJ Barrett, 23.9 PPG

It should also be noted that Zion Williamson is literally right behind him at 21.7 PPG.

Leading Scorer, Notre Dame: John Mooney, 14.4

Streak, Duke: W3

Streak, Notre Dame: L4

Bleed blue.

Duke Comes Back to Beat Gritty Ga. Tech, 66-53

The score doesn’t tell the story of a game that was truly two in one this Saturday afternoon. Duke defeated Georgia Tech 66-53 after trailing by as many as eight in the second half. Zion and RJ yet again combined for over 40 points. In the first half, especially towards the end, the shots just weren’t falling. You can credit Tech’s defense: they defended the basket well and it took Duke a little bit to figure out a type of zone of the likes they hadn’t seen. They weren’t going to let RJ and Zion bully them in the paint and were willing to sacrifice some outside defense. After a timeout taken by Coach K and a Zion Williamson dunk, however, you could tell that the Jackets’ lead wouldn’t last and the momentum switched remarkably.

With 18 minutes to go in the second half, Duke trailed by 8 and took a timeout. After that timeout, Duke outscored Georgia Tech 39-18. Zion Williamson had some SportsCenter-worthy dunks (as per usual) to get the crowd into it and in just those 18 minutes Duke was able to rout the Yellow Jackets. We do need to remember, though, that

The big storyline today was the return of Tre Jones. We’re very happy to see that Tre was comfortable and even started and played 35 minutes. His shoulder didn’t seem to affect him. It was certainly Duke’s worst offensive outing of the season as the connection wasn’t automatic but it got going in the final minutes with a 26-point turnaround after falling behind by 8 (Tech scored the last 5 points of the game; the lead was, until then, 18).

The three-point shooting continues to be a big issue for the Blue Devils. Jack White has not produced of late and Cam Reddish hasn’t been as effective as we’d like him to be. RJ Barrett’s shot is still a work in progress, as versatile as he is. As long as the production on the defensive end is still high I see it as a smaller issue, but that’s something that needs to change come March. We’re getting in the the thick of the season and the two guys that we will look to are Jack White and Cam Reddish to knock those down.

I’d like to give a shoutout to our coaching staff today for supporting Coaches vs. Cancer’s Suits and Sneakers Week Campaign. Coach K himself wore the off-white Air Force 1’s while the assistant coaches repped Brotherhood member Kyrie.

Bleed blue.

Duke Takes Road Trip for #13 Florida State

Duke gets its first huge road test this weekend as they travel to Tallahassee, Florida to take on #13 Florida State. #4 Virginia shut down the Seminoles, but don’t take that as any indication for this game as they’ll be looking to establish themselves as a major threat in both the ACC and on the National level, something for which they’ve been close to but never legitimate for. An excellent November was followed by a more meager December and early January, but it’s not going to be easy.

Florida State: Résumé, Players to Watch

The Seminoles come in with a 13-2 record, 1-1 in ACC play. The two losses came at Virginia and vs. Villanova in the AdvoCare Invitational Championship, with the most impressive win probably being an 81-60 throttling of in-state rival Florida, whom most thought would be at least competitive.

Florida State returns multiple players from last year’s upset Elite Eight run. One notable is 6-8, 230 F Phil Cofer, who gave the Blue Devils some serious trouble from three last January before we pulled out, 100-93 (the score being explanatory of the nature of the game!). While most would certainly say that the Blue Devil defense last year was not nearly as efficient as this year. Cofer is currently averaging just 7.4 PPG as he slowly comes back from an injury that kept him out the first 10, having played his most minutes all season last week against Miami, but we all know that if you give him space, he’ll shoot it and probably make it, too. Matchup-wise, there will be rotation, but mostly RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish will probably take him on.

One major issue, though, is that this year we’ll face a guy significantly taller than all of our guys: Christ Koumadje. The senior, native to N’Djamena, Chad, is 7 ft. 4, one of the tallest players in the NCAA. He only averages 16.8 minutes but Coach Leonard Hamilton may take a shot at our absence of height, especially when 6-11 center Marques Bolden takes a rest.

Florida State is pretty stacked. Cofer is just the start: Terance Mann is averaging 11 points, while David Nichols and PJ Savoy add fire off the bench. This is a tall, deep team that will attempt to use our weaknesses against us in a very anti-Blue Devil environment.

Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett Look to Keep Going

After having a monster, NPOY-worthy performance in Winston-Salem, Zion Williamson looks to continue his electrifying performance in Tallahassee. He recently said that he hates being “classified as just a dunker”, and if he keeps putting up games like that, I doubt he needs to worry. Today, though, he’ll see a frontcourt that he hasn’t seen in the past: as mentioned, the 7-4 Christ Koumadje and 6-10 Mfiondu Kabengele. However, after going 3-4 from three against Wake Forest, he’ll probably try to stretch out the big men with an improving shot.

RJ Barrett continues to average over 20 PPG, a major factor who, if possible, is sometimes overlooked as Zion shines! The great thing about this team, however, is that they don’t seem to care. Zion and RJ are great friends, regardless of how many times that they’re compared to each other.

Defenses Attempts to Slow Offenses

Florida State isn’t just tall and deep– they’re forcing turnovers on 25% of their opponents’ possessions. Duke will need to be careful when handling the ball, especially on those pitches down the court that sometimes don’t go as well as might have been hoped. Duke, on the other hand, is one of the top five efficient offenses and defenses in the country. The Blue Devils lead the country in blocks per game at 8.6, with a recent showing of 13 against Wake. FSU has only been stolen from on 7.6% of their possessions, including having played Virginia! It’ll surely be a tougher task on defense for us against a team very good at handling the ball.

Game Notes

Duke Blue Devils @ Florida State Seminoles

Date: Saturday, January 12

Time: 2:00pm

Venue: Donald L. Tucker Civic Center, Tallahassee, FL

TV: ESPN (Sonic Blockbuster)

Bleed blue.

Duke Gets It Done on the Road, Defeats Wake Forest

Zion Williamson (30) and RJ “Maple Mamba” Barrett (21) combined for 51 points as Duke rolled past Wake Forest on the road. Yet another game where about 80% of the first half was close then it was off the the races and Duke never looked back.

Zion Williamson was the outright star of this game. He posted numbers that no player in the Coach K era has ever accomplished: 30 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists. He’s the first player in over 20 years, according to ESPN, to post a 30-10-5-4 with 80% field shooting. He went 3-4 from three-point range despite only having 4 total on the year, an area in which he’s been improving steadily. Mount Zion is here.

This is a highlight that I can’t not highlight. The Maple Mamba went Harden on this poor defender:

It was also a block party for Duke. Jack White hosted with 5, plus attendants Javen DeLaurier (3), Cam Reddish (2), Zion Williamson (1), and Marques Bolden (2). It set multiple records at 13:

Bleed blue. Wake Forest was just a preview for what’s to come: Tallahassee. Saturday.

Sorry for the wait for this one.

Duke Beats Yale, 91-58

Image result for duke yale
RJ Barrett, 30 points, and Zion Williamson, 20 points, led Duke to a 91-58 rout of Yale.

Duke rode its hot second half to rout Yale, 91-58, as Yale just couldn’t handle Duke’s defense and coughed up the ball too much. It was close for a good long while, as both offenses couldn’t seem to click, but Duke got rolling in the second and it was over. RJ Barrett finished with 30, while he and Zion combined for 50 points. Yale turned the ball over 23 times, making 24 points for Duke on the other end. Yale played hard the whole time, though; they’re a tough team and deserve credit. 

The defense suffocated a Yale offense that is generally pretty good, which is a good sign for a team that is very young. The offense was forced to start further and further back in the backcourt, opening up opportunities for Duke’s backcourt to deny passes and rack up deflections, as Cam Reddish and Tre Jones combined for seven steals on the night. Every starter had one or more steals. Jack White also had an excellent defensive game, with 3 steals and 2 blocks. White helped to hold the Elis’ best player, Miye Oni, to twelve points (down from a season average of 18). The offense struggled in the first half but as mentioned before, it was over the minute that we got it together on that end of the court.

Duke will now take a break for final exams (and some snow!), taking on another Ivy League foe in Princeton in a little less than two weeks. Guess who also has exams? Me! I’ll be studying so Krazies’ Korner may be a little bit behind in case of some big news. Thank you for your understanding. Bleed blue.