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
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
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
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).
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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.
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