Duke focusing on future instead of past
Posted March 21, 2013
Updated March 22, 2013
Friday at 12:15 p.m. (WRAL-TV, 99.9 FM The Fan) Duke will face Albany in the second round of the NCAA tournament, but it won't be the first time that the two schools have met.
During the 2006-07 season Duke played Albany and won. But Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski doesn't care about the past ,and he certainly doesn't care about the Blue Devils early exit last season either.
"If we keep looking back at our experiences then we'd really get overconfident, because we've won four National Championships and been to 11 Final Fours," joked Krzyzewski Thursday. "There is no need to go back to good or bad experiences because not all of these guys were involved in that."
The Blue Devils find themselves entering NCAA play on the heels of a loss to Maryland in the ACC Tournament last week. They are also a No. 2 seed, the same seed they held in 2012. Unlike last year where Duke fell to No. 15 Lehigh, the squad is looking forward to a win.
"Our motivation isn't a loss from last week, it's the opportunity that this team has to do something special," said Duke forward Mason Plumlee. "I feel no pressure."
With everyone on the team finally healthy and with plenty of rest, Duke focuses on what lies ahead instead of what has already been done.
And though the Devils are quick to dismiss the early 2012 exit and their doozy of a game in the ACC Tournament a week ago, the Albany players can't help but think it puts the Great Danes at a disadvantage.
"I'm sure a lot of people in the country are thinking because of what happened last year, because of what happened in the ACC Tournament, maybe they're not the same Duke, but we think they are the same Duke," said Albany guard Jacob Iati. "I think they'll play with more of chip on their shoulder than if they had won the ACC Tournament to be honest. I think all of those things play at our disadvantage. I wish they would have won the ACC Tournament and the NCAA tournament last year."
Albany relies a lot on their guard play and if Duke can keep them in check up top, they'll easily dismantle the Great Danes. The focus will be on senior guards Mike Black and Iati. Iati boasts a deadly 45.6 percent success rate from behind the arc, while Black leads the American East conference in points and assists.
But the Blue Devils average a significantly higher point total per game than the Great Danes and shouldn't have much of a test in the first round of play. It will be a good game for Duke to get under the belt before they face the winner of Cincinnati and Creighton on Sunday.
But of course, no one is looking that far ahead yet either.