The Duke basketball schedule was released today, giving Duke fans all around the country the opportunity to begin planning their trips to games. Duke will play in at least eight different states this season. Let’s take a look at the schedule and where potential trap games may lie.
10/18 – Countdown to Craziness: Duke opens the season with the annual celebration of Duke basketball that will introduce fans to the stars that will determine so much for Duke this season. Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood will basically be unveiled to the masses in Duke uniforms. Parker will most likely suffer a severe, nagging injury within 5 minutes and Duke’s title chances will be dashed moments after we’re reminded of Andre Dawkins.
10/26 – Bowie State (exb.)
11/02 – Drury (exb.) : Duke will score 140 points in both games leading Duke fans to their wet dreams of averaging 90+ ppg on the season. Amile Jefferson will seemingly alleviate all doubts of his ability to lock down the post.
11/08 – Davidson: Duke opens the year against one of the best coached teams in the country in a year where Davidson might not actually be the favorite to win the conference. OH DON’T WORRY, Duke made sure to schedule the favorites as well.
11/12 – Kansas in Chicago: Duke takes on a team from cornfields led by a Canadian. Next.
11/15 – Florida Atlantic
11/18 – Norfolk State
11/19 – Winner of ECU/UNCA
11/24 – Vermont: Quinn Cook during this stretch: “Ay yo Coach, Imma throw lobs all night, left handed. Cool? #NoMeee”
11/27-29 – NIT Season Tip-Off in New York: Duke will likely take on Alabama/Rutgers and then Arizona. Sean Miller’s bold strategy of playing four power forwards around TJ McConnell will be fun to watch as Duke’s famed 4 out 1 in offense meets a 1 out 4 in opposition.
12/03 – Michigan: Just a few days after playing an entirely post focused team, Duke welcomes the antithesis of that philosophy to Cameron as Michigan visits for the ACC/B1G challenge. Maryland will throw their game as a show of B1G brotherhood.
12/16 – Gardner-Webb
12/19 – UCLA: For whatever reason, CARQUEST is in all caps and sponsors a basketball contest between the old kings and the new kings in Madison Square Garden. Kyle Anderson hopes to have Tony Parker available as his commitment press conference winds down to take on a team they could have played for. Duke will be happy to have dodged those bullets.
12/28 – Eastern Michigan
12/31 – Elon in Greensboro: Duke will probably take care of business here but this is the Southern Conference favorite this season and will likely be a tournament team. They have four senior starters that can shoot and take care of the ball. They won’t pull the upset but I wouldn’t be surprised if the score is less than 15 points different.
1/04 – Notre Dame (Away): The first game of the ACC season for both teams comes in the CBS afternoon feature on a Saturday.
1/07 – Georgia Tech (Home): Seriously, name one player for the Yellow Jackets that isn’t Robert Carter.
1/11 – Clemson (Away): Duke travels to Littlejohn where they have had some nightmares in the past but Brownell just hasn’t put together a threatening team since his arrival. This should amount to as easy a road win in the ACC against a non-Bzdelik coached team as you can get.
1/13 – Virginia (Home): The first Big Monday game for Duke this season reintroduces Joe Harris to the Blue Devils, unlikely to have a repeat performance. This is a quick turn around for Duke but an interesting set up for UVA as the Wahoos play at NC State on Saturday afternoon. I expect they’ll stay in the area meaning only Duke will have travel time between their games.
1/18 – NC State (Home): Yet another Saturday CBS afternoon game against Rodney Purvis, CJ Leslie, Lorenz—wait…they’re all gone? Oh, W.
1/22 – Miami (Away): Unless Larranaga has some more seventh year seniors stashed away, Duke should be able to control the Hurricanes.
1/25 – Florida State (Home): I hate these games. Noon on a Saturday is just annoying for basketball. However, it is a beneficial start time since Duke has to travel to Pittsburgh to play just 55 hours later.
1/27 – Pittsburgh (Away): The second Big Monday game for Duke takes the Blue Devils to meet Jamie Dixon and the Panthers in what will be one of the toughest road environments of the season.
2/01 – Syracuse (Away): 35,000 people will pack the Carrier Dome as they try to set an attendance record when the two winningest coaches of all time meet up. Allegedly, hotels are already booked up for the tilt that will be featured on college gameday.
2/04 – Wake (Home): Back to back road games against the ACC noobs will wear on the Blue Devils. Thankfully, they come home to play Bzdelik and the Demon Deacons.
2/07 – Boston College (Away): Ewwww. At Pitt, at Cuse, and at BC in a 12 day span is going to really test the player’s playlists. What kind of toll will 15 hours of 2Chainz have on Amile Jefferson? Wouldn’t be surprised to see Duke take two losses from this stretch.
2/12 – UNC (Away): Duke just comes out firing all chambers, blazing past the hapless Tar Heels. Some will try to cite Jabari for going 93 in a 65 but he’ll show them his license to thrill.
2/15 – Maryland (Home): Good riddance. Try not to burn your classrooms down on the way out.
2/18 – Georgia Tech (Away): Still waiting. Carter should do fine 1 on 5 but I think it’d be helpful if Brian Gregory could recruit him some help.
2/22 – Syracuse (Home): Going to be quite the contrast in home/away games as we go from the huge football stadium to the intimate setting of Cameron. The zone could be really effective with the Carrier Dome sight lines but good luck pulling that off in Cameron. Also, Michael Gbinije is their back up point guard.
2/25 – Virginia Tech (Home): Back to back home games for the first time since mid-January.
3/05 – Wake Forest (Away): There is likely going to be a random ACC road game that Duke loses that it has no business losing. It was almost here last season but not this year. Duke has a full 8 days to prepare.
3/08 – UNC (Home): PJ Hairston returns from his 29 game suspension just in time to smoke Duke. You can tell he’ll be unafraid to shoot and his fresh wheels will help him and the Tar Heels outlast an Iceberg cold Duke team and drive away with a victory….too subtle? Duke wins easily because have you seen that team? Good Thornton Almighty. However, UNC gets two extra days of rest for this game.
Overall, that slate is ROUGH. Arguably the toughest schedule in the country, Duke could legitimately lose somewhere between 4-8 games and still be considered a top three seed for the tournament. My early prediction is that Duke beats Kansas, UCLA, and Michigan but loses to Arizona in the non conference then drops that first ACC game to Notre Dame, follwed by losses to Cuse, and Boston College leaving Duke 27-4 on the regular season.