Blue Devils Get A Break for Exams
Duke's fall semester exam period came and went last week, giving the Blue Devils a break after a grueling basketball schedule in November and December that included games - and wins - against three top-five teams and the Battle 4 Atlantis Championship. Duke emerged unbeaten from the early-season gauntlet and brings a 9-0 record into next week's back-to-back contests against Cornell and Elon. History is on the Blue Devils' side for the Cornell tilt, as Duke is 32-0 under Coach K in the game after the ending of exam week.
Back-to-Back Games on the Horizon
While the Blue Devils got a 10-day break between games for exams, they will be thrown right back into the fire this week with games on back-to-back nights against Cornell and Elon on Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 19-20 in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Both contests tip off at 7 p.m. and will give Duke yet another chance to prepare for the postseason where off days are few and far between. Back-to-back games during the regular season are nothing new for Duke, however, as the Blue Devils have won 10 consecutive regular-season contests when playing the day following a game. Duke already has two such wins this season after defeating Minnesota, VCU and Louisville during a three-day span at the Battle 4 Atlantis.
Duke in Line for No. 1 Ranking
With the new polls set to be released Monday afternoon Duke is in line to ascend to the top spot in both polls following previous No. 1 Indiana's overtime loss to Butler on Saturday. The Blue Devils are in position to claim the top spot in the AP poll for the first time since Feb. 21, 2011. Here are some other No. 1 notes should Duke climb into that position on Monday.
- Duke has been ranked No. 1 123 weeks - second-most in NCAA history behind UCLA (134). Coach K has led the Blue Devils to the top spot in the AP poll 105 weeks.
- Duke has spent 92 weeks ranked No. 1 since 1990 - 40 more weeks than the next closest school (North Carolina) in that span.
- Duke has been ranked No. 1 in the AP poll in an NCAA-record 16 seasons under Coach K.
- Including Wednesday's game, Duke has played more games at No. 1 (210) than as an unranked team (141) under Coach K.
- Duke has now been ranked No. 1 in either the AP or Coaches polls in 18 of the last 28 seasons.
- Entering Wednesday's game, Coach K is second in NCAA history in wins (183) and games (209) while on the sideline for the No. 1 team in the AP poll.
- Duke has been ranked No. 1 in 11 seasons since the 1997-98 campaign. The Blue Devils have been ranked No. 1 68 weeks in that span, 31 more than the next closest school (North Carolina).
The Dark Knight Returns
Former Blue Devil and current Cleveland Cavaliers star Kyrie Irving suffered a broken jaw last Friday after he took a hard fall the floor during a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, but the injury has had little to no effect on the second-year point guard. After suffering the injury against the Bucks, Irving returned to the game and scored 26 points. He was fitted with a special black mask prior to Cleveland's game against the Knicks - which earned him the nickname "The Dark Knight" from his teammates - and exploded for a career-high 41 points in the loss to the Knicks. Irving, who has also missed time in his short NBA career with a broken finger, shoulder injury and concussion, said he would not change his style of play to avoid future injuries, noting, "Playing that way has got me this far."
Duke Athletics Receives $10 Million
Gift from David Rubenstein
The Duke Forward campaign took another huge step last week when David Rubenstein, one of the co-chairs of Duke Forward, donated the incredible sum of $10 million dollars to Duke athletics to further the university's mission of enriching the Duke experience, activating Duke's power for the world and sustaining the university's momentum. As it affects athletics specifically, $250 million of the campaign's $3.25 billion goal will go to use toward a massive overhaul of Duke's athletic facilities, including significant upgrades to Wallace Wade Stadium, Cameron Indoor Stadium and the Murray Building. Rubenstein's gift is the second $10 million donation to Duke athletics this fall, matching that of Dr. Steven Scott and his wife, Rebecca Scott. To read more about Rubenstein's donation, follow the link below:
Duke Heavily Featured on NCAA's 75
Years of March Madness Lists
As part of its Top 75 Celebration of March Madness, the NCAA released a list of its 75 best players, all-time best teams and all-time top moments in the history of the men's basketball championship tournament. The list heavily features Duke, which placed six former Blue Devils among the top 75 NCAA Tournament players, had five of top 35 moments and one of the 25 best NCAA Tournament teams. Representing Duke among the top 75 players were Danny Ferry (1986-89), Bobby Hurley (1990-93), Johnny Dawkins (1984-86), Christian Laettner (1989-92), Grant Hill (1991-94) and Shane Battier (1998-2001).
Among Duke's top moments highlighted on the list were Laettner's game-winning jumper at the buzzer against Connecticut in 1990 that sent Duke to the Final Four, Duke's upset of undefeated UNLV in the 1991 national championship game, Laettner's more well-known game-winner in the 1992 Sweet 16 against Kentucky and Duke's down-to-the-wire win over Butler in the 2010 national championship.
Duke's 1991-92 national championship team, which featured All-Americas Laettner, Hurley and Hill, was picked as one of the 25 best teams in the history of the tournament. That group went 34-2 on the way to Duke's second consecutive national title which Duke claimed following an NCAA run that included wins over Campbell (82-56), Iowa (75-62), Seton Hall (81-69), Kentucky (104-103, OT), Indiana (81-78) and Michigan (71-51).
Can anyone match Coach K's stellar record? (Sports Illustrated)
Duke defense key in 9-0 start (GoDuke.com)
Tyler Thornton is Seth Curry's body
double (Raleigh News & Observer)
Kyrie Irving's career-high at the
Garden (NBA on YouTube)
Tweets of the Week
#Butler 88 #Indiana 86 Guess who's about 2 be the new number 1??!! ; ) #DukeBasketballNeverStops
Fun fact from #Duke SID Art Chase: Duke is the only school with an undefeated men's and women's basketball teams
1. Duke 2. Lou 3. Mich 4. OhSt 5. Syr 6. Ariz 7. Fla 8. Ind 9. KU 10. Cinc 11. Illinois 12. Mizzou 13. Gonz 14. MichSt 15. SDSt 16. Butler
Great to catch up w/ a few Duke fans last night http://sprts.is/DukeFans
Best christmas gift ever from @alikhorn . @milesplumlee13 get jealous! pic.twitter.com/t3aCzmD5
GUESS WHO IS THE NEW # 1
Stat of the Week
The last Duke class to never achieve a No. 1 ranking in the Associated Press poll was Coach K's three-man 1984-85 senior class of Todd Anderson, Jay Bryan and Danny Meagher. Those three played as the No. 2 team in the country for nine consecutive weeks during their senior season in 1984-85, but never reached the nation's top spot. Since that class graduated, every one of Coach K's recruiting classes has played as the No. 1 team in the nation for at least one week during their Duke careers.