banner
Aaron Schoonmaker

Blue Devils notch pivotal win in upward trending season

Posted January 25

Amazingly, the college basketball regular season is roughly two-thirds done, and in a top-heavy ACC, Duke’s win Saturday could be considered the first “big win” for the team picked in the preseason to run away with the conference.

(Okay, the win against Virginia after dropping two of their first three league games was also “big,” but hear me out.)

The Blue Devils entered the weekend tied with Florida State for fourth in the ACC, along with Clemson, at 4-2 in league play. That’s a big deal because the top-4 teams in the league earn double byes in the first year of the 15-team expanded conference tournament. The bottom six all play on the first day and the middle five will begin on Day 2. The little kids in the AT&T commercials could tell you it’s easier to win three than it is to win five.

Duke played Saturday with a sense of urgency from the opening tip as if they knew this was a pivotal game in conference play. They forced turnovers and got three-pointers from Andre Dawkins on two of the game’s first three possessions. That set the tone for a game in which they grabbed 27 offensive rebounds and forced 17 Florida State turnovers.

“We were so hungry,” head coach Mike Krzyzewski said after the game. “I don’t ever remember having 27 offensive rebounds in a game.”

With apologies to Coach K, Duke had 28 offensive rebounds in a game in 2002 against NC A&T. However, I looked back at every game dating back to 2000-01, and they had not exceeded 24 in a conference game in that span before today.

Coach K made another interesting point Saturday after notching his 900th career win at Duke, joining him with Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim as the only two Division I men’s coaches to reach that milestone at one school. He said not to judge his team on the full season’s stats or performance.

“People use stats from November, before we really start our season. We play a difficult schedule,” Krzyzewski said. “The most relevant stats are what you do in the last four-to-six games because teams trend. We have been getting better throughout.”

Over the last four games, Duke has indeed seen noted improvement. They have forced double-digit turnovers in three of four including 21 against NC State and 17 Saturday. They have also out-rebounded their opponent in three of four and shot at a better free-throw percentage in all four games.

True, loses at Notre Dame and Clemson could go either way depending on how you define "bad losses", but a loss Saturday against Florida State could have put Duke in a serious hole when you consider the remainder of their schedule.

Yes, there are still 11 more games for Duke in conference play before we get to the conference tournament, but they now have the inside track at a double bye. Unfortunately for them, they also have the toughest road left with home-and-home’s against both Syracuse and North Carolina and a road game at Pittsburgh.

“We are getting better. We are not a powerhouse, but we are getting better,” Krzyzewski added.

The cliché goes, ‘you want to peak at the right time’. For Duke, they could make things really easy on themselves down the road if they can maintain their current trend upward. And while this year’s team may never reach “powerhouse” status, peaking in March after a year of constant improvement would be ideal.

Next up for the Blue Devils? Nationally televised road games next week against the top two teams in the ACC – Pittsburgh Monday and Syracuse Saturday.

14 Comments

This blogpost is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • thinkfirsttypelater Jan 26, 5:26 p.m.

    How is puke ranked 2nd in the ACC power poll? when pitt has a better record and better team and... View More

    — Posted by rk1115

    pitt has beaten nobody of note

  • 903 Hail Providence Jan 26, 2:33 p.m.

    How is puke ranked 2nd in the ACC power poll? when pitt has a better record and better team and... View More

    — Posted by rk1115

    Duke started the year ranked higher and has played a much tougher schedule than Pitt. I don't think Pitt has any signature non-conference wins...

  • rk1115 Jan 26, 2:29 p.m.

    How is puke ranked 2nd in the ACC power poll? when pitt has a better record and better team and record then puke?

  • alphaman Jan 26, 11:37 a.m.

    Dear aaron....no one, and I mean NO ONE picked Duke to be a run away winner in the ACC this season.

  • StunGunn Jan 26, 9:10 a.m.

    I don't see anyone else moving out of the middle. But, I wanted to comment about the photo of K.... View More

    — Posted by jmcdow2792

    Must have been a special event - maybe "Coaches Against Cancer" or something, because I saw all the coaches wearing those white sneakers in the games yesterday.

    Hey - I'm hoping the Heels move UP to the middle of the ACC:(

  • Toddler10-21 Jan 26, 6:58 a.m.

    Guess I'm mature if I'm pulling for Duke?

  • jmcdow2792 Jan 26, 6:35 a.m.

    I don't see anyone else moving out of the middle. But, I wanted to comment about the photo of K. Looks like he has installed the famous "white shoes defense" that Chuck Amato developed at State back in 1967.

  • StunGunn Jan 26, 6:12 a.m.

    Looks like four teams in the hunt right now. Duke, Pitt, Cuse, and UVA look to be the leaders.... View More

    — Posted by jmcdow2792

    There does seem to be a logjam in the middle tier of the ACC. I think the Duke/'Cuse game will be terrific.

  • jmcdow2792 Jan 26, 5:57 a.m.

    Looks like four teams in the hunt right now. Duke, Pitt, Cuse, and UVA look to be the leaders. Will anybody else rise out of the middle or become a player by tourney time?

  • rk1115 Jan 26, 5:44 a.m.

    I can't wait until the Duke vs Cuse game, should be a good match up. It will be the first team in the ACC, that's not a former Big East Team, that might actually give 'Cuse some trouble. Duke will probably have a lot of troube against the 2-3 zone of Cuse. I'm a Cuse fan all the way, I'm hoping that this is actually a really exciting game to watch.

More...

 

 

  • NFL: Panthers vs. Cleveland

    Today at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Indianapolis at Dallas

    Today at 4:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Sun Bowl: Duke vs. Arizona State

    Saturday at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Panthers vs Cleveland

    Today at 1:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • WCBB: Duke vs. Kentucky

    Today at 3:00 pm on 620am

  • NHL: Hurricanes at NY Rangers

    Tonight at 7:00 on 99.9 The Fan

  • CBB: Louisiana Tech at NC State

    Tuesday at 7:00 pm on WRAL-FM

Scoreboard
Local
Final
UNC 82
OSU 74
Final
MVSU 60
NCCU 94
 
Final
UNCW 66
ECU 54
Final
CAR 2
NYR 3
Final
CHA 104
UTA 86
Final
WVU 83
NCSU 69
1:00pm Today
CAR
CLE
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
CAR
 
Final
NYK 90
PHO 99
Final
NOP 88
POR 114
Final
CHA 104
UTA 86
Final
HOU 97
ATL 104
Final
DAL 99
SAN 93
Final
DEN 76
IND 73
Final
LAC 106
MIL 102
3:30pm Today
TOR
NYK
 
4:30pm Today
CLE
MEM
 
6:00pm Tonight
MIA
BOS
 
6:00pm Tonight
BRK
DET
 
6:00pm Tonight
SAC
LAL
 
6:00pm Tonight
ORL
PHI
 
6:00pm Tonight
WAS
PHO
 
7:00pm Tonight
MIN
IND
 
7:00pm Tonight
OKC
NOP
 
Final
LALAF 16
NEV 3
Final
UTEP 6
UTST 21
Final
COLST 10
UTAH 45
Final
AFA 38
WMICH 24
Final
BGU 33
SALABAMA 28
Final
GEOR 81
CHAR 78
Final
WKENT 67
LOU 76
Final
MICH 51
SMU 62
Final
CIN 47
VCU 68
Final
BSU 77
ABCHRIST 33
 
Final
PROV 85
UMASS 65
Final
AMER 46
MNTER 45
 
Final
UNC 82
OSU 74
Final
IUPUI 71
SALA 65
 
Final
VILL 82
SYR 77
Final
VT 64
CITA 61
Final
DUQ 79
MLOWELL 63
 
Final
FAIR 61
BEL 73
 
Final
YALE 60
GTDNS 64
 
Final
FD 76
DEL 74
 
Final
PSU 73
DREX 68
Final
UNCG 64
ELON 71
 
Final
ILL 62
MIZZ 59
Final
CAMP 90
MONT 64
 
Final
LONG 106
PSUBEAVER 74
 
Final
HOU 63
SCST 71
 
Final
FSU 75
SFLA 62
Final
BING 51
BONA 69
 
Final
RUTG 68
RFLSH 73
 
Final
MCNST 69
TOL 83
 
Final
JVU 84
TRUETT 55
 
Final
GT 65
VANDY 60
Final
INDST 56
EILL 60
 
Final
BUT 73
IND 82
Final
STEPH 94
ARTCH 57
 
Final
OREG 83
DELST 70
 
Final
Terriers 61
FATL 56
 
Final
TXARL 89
HPYN 50
 
Final
KU 96
LAF 69
Final
ARKST 67
MARS 58
Final
MEM 78
ORU 63
Final
KNST 53
UMBC 66
 
Final
NW 67
WMICH 61
Final
MIZST 65
EMICH 77
 
Final
CHIST 76
STJOE 54
 
Final
KENT 83
UCLA 44
Final
COC 68
DAVID 80
Final
RIU 69
DET 55
Final
UCR 78
HOUB 67
 
Final
MURST 89
ILLST 77
 
Final
NWST 89
LALAF 85
 
Final
WAGN 66
MON 74
 
Final
MVSU 60
NCCU 94
 
Final
PITT 81
OU 77
Final
TENNM 77
PBY 60
 
Final
WYO 57
SOUTH 39
 
Final
AFA 75
UCD 81
Final
MSST 51
USCU 53
 
Final
JMU 71
HIGH 80
 
Final
TXST 90
HTILL 56
 
Final
DRAK 54
ISU 83
Final
SHU 73
UNH 60
 
Final
SCU 72
NE 78
 
Final
MSU 64
TXSOU 71
Final
UF 63
WAKE 50
Final
ND 94
PURD 63
Final
SHSU 61
PVU 44
 
Final
AUB 89
XAV 88
Final
AKR 92
BLUFFTON 53
 
Final
DAY 78
BU 62
 
Final
UNCW 66
ECU 54
Final
CLMB 82
HOF 77
 
Final
GMAS 86
IONA 81
Final
TOWS 53
LAS 67
Final
MAN 73
MRGST 69
 
Final
CCST 76
YALE 84
 
Final
PEPP 63
RICH 65
Final
MAR 58
STJOE 75
Final
KYST 71
TEXAM 64
Final
MAST 72
VALPO 75
 
Final
UMKC 104
INCWORD 110
 
Final
IDST 50
CALST 59
 
Final
NIOWA 56
IOWA 44
Final
SIUE 61
UWMIL 56
 
Final
TEX 78
LBSU 68
Final
TCU 88
TXSA 57
Final
ARK 84
SEMIZ 67
Final
NCOL 69
JVST 60
 
Final
ARST 81
LEH 84
 
Final
NMST 67
NMU 69
 
Final
WASH 69
OKLA 67
Final
GRCN 81
STED 55
 
Final
WEBER 73
WLVRN 61
 
Final
WVU 83
NCSU 69
Final
SDST 70
BST 57
Final
GONZ 63
CPSL 50
Final
PAC 71
FRES 68
Final
PORT 87
MNTST 60
 
Final
CSNO 68
TAMCC 75
 
Final
UTST 65
SDKST 68
 
Final
BYU 79
STAN 77
Final
UNLV 46
UTAH 59
12:00pm Today
UVA
HARV
 
1:00pm Today
BGU
FERST
 
1:00pm Today
ARMY
MAINE
 
1:00pm Today
QUIN
ORST
 
1:00pm Today
CLST
USF
 
1:30pm Today
CARK
CCAR
 
2:00pm Today
UWGB
ARKLR
 
2:00pm Today
RAD
CORN
 
2:00pm Today
UNT
CREI
 
2:00pm Today
CAN
HC
 
2:00pm Today
USB
GHND
 
2:00pm Today
OKST
MD
 
2:00pm Today
WINT
REIN
 
2:00pm Today
UGST
SMISS
 
2:00pm Today
NEOM
TXPA
 
2:00pm Today
STLU
VERM
 
2:00pm Today
UNCA
WCU
 
2:05pm Today
EVAN
ALAST
 
2:30pm Today
HART
FIU
 
2:35pm Today
VALPO
GOSHEN
 
3:00pm Today
LIP
PEAY
 
3:00pm Today
DEN
BRY
 
3:00pm Today
MONT
SD
 
3:00pm Today
MTST
TENST
 
3:00pm Today
SAMF
LAMON
 
3:30pm Today
SCAR
COKR
 
4:00pm Today
HAMP
NARZ
 
4:00pm Today
SDU
SDCHR
 
4:00pm Today
BC
USC
 
4:30pm Today
NICST
TROY
 
4:30pm Today
BRAD
UCI
 
6:00pm Tonight
UGA
SHU
 
6:30pm Tonight
ALA
APP
 
7:00pm Tonight
KSU
NDST
 
7:00pm Tonight
WASU
SJST
 
9:00pm Tonight
UTEP
ALCOR
 
10:00pm Tonight
SEAT
SACST
 
Final
LOS 4
ARI 2
Final
CLB 3
CHI 2
Final
BUF 1
COL 5
Final
PIT 3
FLA 1
Final
CAR 2
NYR 3
Final
MON 4
OTT 1
Final
TOR 4
PHI 7
Final
NYI 3
TAM 1
Final
NJD 0
WAS 4
Final
MIN 5
NAS 6
Final
VAN 3
CAL 2
Final
SJS 3
STL 2
6:00pm Tonight
DET
COL
 
6:00pm Tonight
EDM
DAL
 
7:00pm Tonight
BOS
BUF
 
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
CAR
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHI
TOR
 
9:00pm Tonight
WIN
PHI
 
Final
WAS 27
PHI 24
Final
SFX 35
SDC 38
1:00pm Today
NOS
ATL
1:00pm Today
HOU
BAL
1:00pm Today
CAR
CLE
1:00pm Today
CHI
DET
1:00pm Today
TAM
GBP
1:00pm Today
PIT
KAN
1:00pm Today
MIA
MIN
1:00pm Today
NYJ
NEP
4:05pm Today
STL
NYG
4:25pm Today
OAK
BUF
4:25pm Today
DAL
IND
8:30pm Tonight
ARI
SEA