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A Look at Duke’s First Round Matchup
Sunday 03/19/2010  -  Michael Tomko, GoDuke.com
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DURHAM, N.C. - Duke and Arkansas-Pine Bluff couldn't be any different if they tried.

One is rich in college basketball history, the other is about to get its first taste of March basketball.

Duke is making its 34th NCAA Tournament appearance, 26th under head coach Mike Krzyzewski and is a number one seed for the 11th time.

On the other hand, Arkansas-Pine Bluff is making its first NCAA Tournament appearance. The Golden Lions earned their first bid into the NCAA Tournament field by beating Texas Southern, 50-38, in the SWAC (Southwestern Atlantic Conference) Conference Tournament. The SWAC Tournament Champs began the season 0-11 before winning 18 of their final 22 games, which included three overtime wins.

Duke went 10-1 over its first 11 games and is entering the NCAA Tournament having won 12 of its last 13 games including the ACC Tournament Title. The Blue Devils are going for their fifth win in a row Friday night and their 30th win of the season.

This is where the differences start, but do not end.

The Blue Devils were one of the top-ranked teams all season long, beginning the year as the ninth-ranked team in the AP Poll and the eighth-ranked team in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll and now enter the NCAA Tournament as the third-ranked team in the country in both polls.

The Golden Lions never sniffed the top 25 all season. They rank 183 in the RPI standings and had the 275th toughest schedule in the college basketball.

Duke on the other hand enters Friday's 7:25 p.m. tip third in the RPI rankings and having played the 11th toughest schedule in the country.

For Arkansas-Pine Bluff it was its first SWAC Tournament Championship. For Duke it was its ninth ACC Tournament Championship in 12 years and 18th overall. Not only that, Duke won the regular season ACC title as well, while the Golden Lions finished second overall in their conference.

Let's keep going.

The Golden Lions are led by in scoring by Terrance Calvin (10.3 ppg) and Savalance Townsend (10.0 ppg). They are the Golden Lions only double digit scorers.

Duke has three players averaging in double figures, led by senior Jon Scheyer (18.3 ppg), junior Kyle Singler (17.6 ppg) and junior Nolan Smith (17.3 ppg). The Duke trio accounts for 68.6 percent of Duke's scoring per game, tallying on average 53.5 of Duke's 78 points per game.

Over the last 10 contests, the trio has combined for 75 percent of the Blue Devils points. In Duke's 67-55 win over Virginia Tech on February 21, the trio combined for 63 of the team's points.

The top four scorers for the Golden Lions, Calvin, Townsend, Lebaron Weathers (9.8 ppg) and Tavaris Washington (9.5 ppg), can't even match the Blue Devils top three scorers, combining for just 39.6 points per game.

George Ivory, the head coach of the Golden Lions, was hired in the spring of 2008 and thus far has a 31-33 record and one SWAC Tournament Championship.

Krzyzewski has led the Blue Devils as head coach for the past 30 season, with a record of 789-220 including three NCAA Championship, eight final fours, ten 30 win seasons and 12 ACC Tournament Titles.

 


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