The schedule presents 20 opportunities for conference opponents to spoil Duke basketball victories, but one player per ACC team will likely force the 2020-21 Blue Devils to spend extra time in the film room.
Uncertainties abound surrounding what Mike Krzyzewski’s Duke basketball team will look like next season. Ample talent is returning in senior guard Jordan Goldwire, junior wing Joey Baker, and sophomore forwards Matthew Hurt and Wendell Moore Jr. The program also welcomes seven scholarship newcomers in freshman guards Jeremy Roach and DJ Steward; forwards Jalen Johnson, Jaemyn Brakefield, and Henry Coleman; center Mark Williams; and Columbia graduate transfer Patrick Tape.
While we continue to speculate about the Blue Devils’ rotation, we do not need to wonder about their conference schedule. Duke’s 20-game ACC slate will include home and away contests against in-state rivals North Carolina and Wake Forest as well as Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, and Louisville. The Blue Devils will take on Boston College, Syracuse, Virginia, and Clemson in Durham while facing Florida State, Miami, NC State, and Virginia Tech on the road.
Despite the exodus of players, such as two-time All-ACC and Wooden Award finalist Jordan Nwora, there is tremendous talent returning to and entering the conference in 2020-21. Every foe is either rebuilding or reloading, and Duke again will face challenges from squads on and off Tobacco Road.
Which returning player or incoming freshman for each ACC team will create the biggest problems for a young group of Blue Devils next season? Let’s begin up north in Boston…