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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Dispatches from Duke Football's Annual Spring Game

Posted By on Wed, Apr 18, 2018 at 3:42 PM

The weather was perfect for football as the Duke Blue Devils took the field Saturday for their annual Spring Game and open practice. Clouds gently rolled overhead, providing respite from a warm pre-summer sun that has taken far too long to arrive in earnest, giving the thousand or so diehards in attendance license to move from the shadow of Wallace Wade Stadium’s massive new luxury tower and press booth to rows much closer to the action. The field was organized chaos, as the afternoon started with a host of group and individual drills. Hundreds of players, coaches, and assistants...

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Monday, March 26, 2018

That's a Wrap: Duke Bows to Kansas in the Elite Eight

Posted By on Mon, Mar 26, 2018 at 2:25 PM

Well, that was unpleasant. Following forty-five minutes of back-and-forth play between two remarkably well-matched adversaries, Duke's season ended with a run to the Elite Eight and an overtime loss to a number-one seeded Kansas team that stayed neck and neck with the Blue Devils’ surfeit of thoroughbred talent. The Jayhawks were saved when Grayson Allen's last-second shot in regulation seemed to hit every possible surface but the net—and were also aided by a very shaky blocking call against Wendell Carter in overtime—but ultimately Duke did plenty to lose on their own. Faced with a well-coached and confident team in Kansas,...

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Friday, March 23, 2018

How Duke Will Triumph Tonight: Four Scenarios

Posted By on Fri, Mar 23, 2018 at 5:13 PM

First off, let’s try to be reasonable. Anyone who watched Duke annihilate their opponents in the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament, while countless fellow tourney favorites including UNC and Virginia were resoundingly trounced by lower-seeded teams, can be forgiven for racing to the conclusion that the Blue Devils are fated and indeed honor bound to cut down the nets in San Antonio on April 2. That is certainly my position, one further emboldened by a Syracuse upset of Michigan State that spared Duke a potentially treacherous rematch against the Spartans. Yes, there are still games to play. Yes,...

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Sunday, March 18, 2018

I've Seen Enough and I'm Back on Duke's Lunatic Bandwagon

Posted By on Sun, Mar 18, 2018 at 3:27 PM

Has there ever been a Duke team that is harder to get a handle on? Ten days after a very shaky loss to UNC in the ACC Tournament semifinals, the Blue Devils ran roughshod over their first two opponents in the Big Dance, laying waste to an overmatched Iona team on Thursday and appearing even more dominant against a more fairly matched Rhode Island squad that was reasonably expected to pose problems. Saturday's 87–62 public execution of the seventh-seeded Rams was just short of shocking, coming against an experienced team that entered the contest with a 26–7 record and a...

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Duke Has Played Thirty-Three Games, and I've Learned Nothing

Posted By on Tue, Mar 13, 2018 at 2:02 PM

It is the Tuesday before the NCAA tournament, two days before their first-round game, and I know nothing about Duke basketball. Following a stretch during which I convinced myself that I finally understood this team and their perverse and wrong-footed ways, I am now fully confused again. Friday's 74–69 loss to UNC in the ACC tournament semifinals was so jangled and strange, so star-crossed and weird, and such the antithesis of the team’s recent play that I am being forced to re-examine questions about this group's viability as a Final Four contender that I had previously considered resolved. Yes, they...

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Saturday, March 10, 2018

Grayson Allen Is Still a Dirtbag and Other Notes from a Strange ACC Semifinal

Posted By on Sat, Mar 10, 2018 at 3:13 PM

Grayson Allen is still a dirtbag. Which is why his Tie Domi impression earned him a flagrant foul. If any other player in the country commits that transgression, it’s an on-the-floor foul. But given the reputation Allen has rightfully earned over the years, a flagrant one was the call to make. Sure, last night’s move wasn’t nearly as low-class as some of his greatest hits, but I can’t be alone in saying that whatever transpires over the next few weeks of tournament play, most can agree that no longer having to watch him play basketball will be a treat. It’s sad,...

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Friday, March 9, 2018

After the Blue Devils’ Dominating Win Against the Irish, Is There Any Way UNC Stops Them?

Posted By on Fri, Mar 9, 2018 at 5:58 AM

The quarterfinals of the 2018 ACC Tournament have concluded and a heavyweight title fight between Duke and UVA in the championship game looms auspiciously in the offing. While neither team is guaranteed a spot in the finals, both behemoths made statements against formidable competition on Thursday, giving their collision course an intractable feel. After watching the Cavs demolish Louisville in an afternoon contest, the Blue Devils made easy work of a tough Notre Dame team desperate for a win that might have vouchsafed their chances for an NCAA Tournament selection. Duke has spent the past several weeks ironing out the...

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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Mark It Down: Duke’s Going to Win the ACC Tournament

Posted By on Wed, Mar 7, 2018 at 6:12 PM

For twenty minutes of last Saturday's regular-season-ending contest at Cameron Indoor, a weird pall hung over the proceedings. In Grayson Allen's final home game, the Blue Devils frequently looked slow on defense, tentative on offense, and overmatched on the boards. When a late run at the end of the first half sent the Tar Heels into the locker room with a ten-point lead, it appeared that a hugely gifted Duke team prone to lapses and letdowns might well fail to rise to this most epic of occasions. And then the deluge. Looking for all the world like an entirely different squad,...

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Friday, March 2, 2018

UNC vs. Duke: Three Ways the Tar Heels (and the Blue Devils) Can Claim Victory on Saturday

Posted By on Fri, Mar 2, 2018 at 3:01 PM

What is billed as “Senior Night” in gymnasiums around the country should more appropriately be called “Freshman Night” at Cameron Indoor, as it will likely be the final game in Durham for Duke’s trio of one-and-dones, Marvin Bagley III, Wendell Carter Jr., and Gary Trent Jr. There’s also the matter of bidding Grayson Allen adieu, though almost no one outside of Durham will be sad to see him go. Saturday’s game will likely be the final time that Duke’s heralded, if underwhelming, freshman class takes the court together for a regular-season game, and it will be the Tar Heels’ mission...

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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Final Four or Bust: The Week in Duke Hoops

Posted By on Wed, Feb 21, 2018 at 9:17 PM

The Skinny In what has been a wild ride of a 2018 season, the Blue Devils capped off arguably their most impressive weeklong stretch of the campaign with convincing victories over pesky Virginia Tech and eleventh-ranked Clemson. The Hokies rolled into Cameron last Wednesday fresh off a stunning road win at No. 1 Virginia, and coupled with Marvin Bagley III's third-straight absence, the contest appeared ripe for a nip and tuck affair. After a back and forth beginning, however, Duke put the pedal down with a 7–0 run to end the first half and rode the wave of momentum...

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

After a Loss at the Dean Dome, the Blue Devils’ Season Is in the Balance: The Week in Duke Hoops

Posted By on Wed, Feb 14, 2018 at 5:26 PM

The Skinny An ugly stretch got uglier for the Blue Devils on Thursday, as the team lost again in their first start since a stunning defeat at St. John’s, this time to the suddenly surging UNC at the Dean Dome. A crisp early pace and a visible advantage in natural playmakers seemed to foretell a Duke victory, and Blue Devils held a 45–42 advantage following a freewheeling first half. All of that changed after the Tar Heels began the second frame with a blistering 16–2 run, eventually holding on for an 82–78 win on the strength of Kenny Williams’s...

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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Sure, the Blue Devils Lost to the Cavs. No, It Doesn’t Really Matter: The Week in Duke Hoops

Posted By on Wed, Jan 31, 2018 at 9:34 AM

The Skinny The No. 4 Blue Devils and the No. 2 Virginia Cavaliers finally crossed paths in Durham this past Saturday in arguably the most anticipated college game of the season to date. While by no means an instant classic, the battle for ACC supremacy evolved from an early showcase of the Cavs’ dominance into a down-to-the-wire tactical struggle, with UVA holding off the home team for a 65–63 victory. Nothing about the contest itself proved particularly revelatory—the two combatants entered the matchup as deep and gifted teams with a legitimate shot at the Final Four, and the events...

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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Damn Good and Getting Better: The Week in Blue Devil Hoops

Posted By on Wed, Jan 24, 2018 at 5:11 PM

Stop The Presses! Next things first! Before we discuss the entirely viable national championship aspirations of this current iteration of the Blue Devils, I suppose we’d better have a little chat about Zion Williamson, the latest addition to the blockbuster, net-cutting, rim-rattling recruiting class that will take the floor next year at Cameron. When it was announced last week that the six foot seven Williamson—a Mack truck enforcer with elite scoring skills—was choosing Duke over Clemson and UNC, the earth briefly rocked on its axis. With his NBA-ready physique and highlight-reel athleticism, the Spartanburg native has already drawn not-fully-irrational...

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Monday, December 1, 2014

Tar Heels stay perfect, Blue Devils hold on in Top 10

Posted By on Mon, Dec 1, 2014 at 6:20 PM

There's a saying out there that "All good things must come to an end," and that was true this week in Triangle ACC women's basketball. N.C. State lost twice and Duke lost once, all on the road. And none was really an upset. So that leaves UNC as the only team with a chance to get through the 2014 portion of the schedule without a loss. But both the Tar Heels and Blue Devils got good news when the AP poll came out. UNC moved all the way up to sixth place from No. 11 after upsetting Stanford, while...

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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Season-ending rivalry day will set up three bowl games

Posted By on Sat, Nov 29, 2014 at 1:08 AM

It's Rivalry Week, Part II. All across the country, about half of the biggest college football teams are playing their most despised rivals. And with cooperation from the SEC, the ACC is right in on the act today. It was always the day for those big cross-conference rivalry games like South Carolina at Clemson and Georgia Tech at Georgia and Florida at Florida State. And now there's Kentucky at Louisville. And in the conference there was Virginia at Virginia Tech last night. It's the same deal in the Triangle, where N.C. State (6-5, 2-5 ACC) will visit UNC (6-5, 4.3)...

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Everybody stays perfect as Tar Heels, Wolfpack repel challenges

Posted By on Mon, Nov 24, 2014 at 3:43 PM

The second week of the season for the Triangle's ACC women's basketball teams was a lot similar to the first - with all the marks going into the left column. But there were a couple of close calls, as No. 11 UNC (3-0) had to fight in the final minute to hold off No. 21 Oklahoma State 79-77 on Sunday after N.C. State (4-0) was able to hold off pesky High Point 66-62 on Friday night. No. 8 Duke (3-0) has been pretty much cruising so far. This week should get a lot tougher for everybody. The Wolfpack visits...

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Humongous rivalry games highlight grid weekend

Posted By on Thu, Nov 20, 2014 at 1:26 PM

It's Triangle Rivalry Week! Or at least it's Part One. And this time it's going to start a little bit early. There are only two games, as N.C. State gets a week off, coincidentally to celebrate its bowl eligibility, but they're both monsters. Tonight at 7:30, UNC (5-5, 3-3 ACC) will visit No. 25 Duke 8-2, 4-2) in a game to be shown on ESPN. Of course they don't like each other too much, and there's plenty at stake. If UNC beats either Duke tonight or the visiting Wolfpack on Nov. 29, the Tar Heels will be bowl eligible....

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Monday, November 17, 2014

So far, so good for Triangle ACC women's hoops

Posted By on Mon, Nov 17, 2014 at 3:28 PM

By all accounts, the opening of the ACC women's basketball season was a great success in the Triangle. No. 7 Duke opened with an explosion, annihilating a middling Alabama team 90-40 on the road Sunday night. No. 13 UNC started 2-0, having to work harder to escape upstart Howard than No. 23 UCLA. And work-in-progress N.C. State escaped challenges from a couple of Historically Black colleges in eventually comfortable wins over Tennessee State and Coppin State. The Blue Devils' week Any doubt that the Blue Devils are a Top 10 team should have been put to bed...

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Winning seasons still possible with victories today

Posted By on Sat, Nov 15, 2014 at 12:04 AM

The magic number remains six. That's the number of wins an FBS football team needs to play in a bowl game, and for any college football team to assure it won't have a losing regular-season record. So far only one Triangle team has made it, as Duke (8-1, 4-1 ACC) is assured a winning season and a bowl game and is still in the race for the ACC's Coastal Division championship. That race means every game is a "must" win for the Blue Devils, and actually every game left on the schedule is a must win for every Triangle...

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Friday, November 14, 2014

High hopes all around as ACC women's hoops tip off today

Posted By on Fri, Nov 14, 2014 at 12:01 AM

All three of the Triangle's ACC women's basketball teams should be very good again this season. And if that sounds like a broken record, that's OK. Duke (28-7, 12-4 ACC last season) comes into the campaign ranked No. 7 nationally in the AP poll, while UNC (27-10, 10-6) is No. 13 and N.C. State (25-8, 11-5) received the fifth highest number of points of unranked squads. The Blue Devils are picked second in the ACC, the Tar Heels fourth and the Wolfpack ninth. The campaign starts today at 4 at Carmichael Arena, when UNC takes on Howard (11-20)...

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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Bowl spots, championships and winning seasons at stake

Posted By on Sat, Nov 8, 2014 at 1:29 AM

Today is a very big day for N.C. State football. And it's very important for Duke, while it's still meaningful for N.C. Central. UNC has the day off before its uphill stretch run. The Wolfpack (5-4, 1-4 ACC) picked up its first conference win for second-year coach Dave Doeren last week in a squeaker over Syracuse. And if State can become the third Triangle team to beat No. 24 Georgia Tech (7-2, 4-2) today at 12:30 (WRAL) at Carter-Finley Stadium, the Wolfpack is going bowling! NCCU (4-5, 3-2 MEAC), which is still looking for a winning season, plays...

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Saturday, November 1, 2014

Triangle grid squads all road warriors this afternoon

Posted By on Sat, Nov 1, 2014 at 12:01 AM

It's a rare fall Saturday when there's no Division I football game in the Triangle, but today is one of those days. And of the area's four teams, still no one can say how the seasons of three will be perceived at the end. And all four are underdogs. No. 24 Duke (6-1, 2-1 ACC) is going to have another happy finish barring a monumental collapse. But UNC (4-4, 2-2), N.C. State (4-4, 0-4) and N.C. Central (4-4, 3-1 MEAC) can all still go in either direction. The Blue Devils will travel to Pittsburgh (4-4, 2-2) in a key...

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Saturday a pivotal day for area college football teams

Posted By on Sat, Oct 18, 2014 at 2:05 AM

The Triangle's college football season is passing its halfway point, and exactly how the season is unfolding for the local Division I squads is coming into focus. Duke is having a second straight very good season and could play in some really interesting December games if it keeps winning. And N.C. Central, which has yet to lose to an historically black college this season, still has a shot at the MEAC championship. But N.C. State coach Dave Doeren is still looking for his first ACC win, and UNC's Larry Fedora needs to get things turned around quickly if the...

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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Upset opportunities abound for local football teams today

Posted By on Sat, Sep 27, 2014 at 1:34 AM

It's been a while since all three ACC football teams in the Triangle were underdogs on the same day. But that will be the case today when one team plays at home and two on the road. The highest-profile contest of the three is at N.C. State (4-0), where the Wolfpack will host No. 1-ranked Florida State (3-0) at 3:30 p.m. (WTVD) at Carter-Finley Stadium in the ACC opener for both teams. UNC (2-1) opens its ACC schedule at 7 p.m. (ESPNU) at Clemson (1-2, 0-1 ACC), while Duke (4-0) does the same at Miami (2-2, 0-1) at 8...

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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Triangle FBS teams all try to stay perfect today

Posted By on Sat, Sep 20, 2014 at 1:42 AM

Here we go into Week 4 of the area college football season, and all three of the local FBS teams are still unbeaten. If that continues all day today, one of them will have to beat one of the best teams in the country on the road. The show starts today at 12:30 (FOX Sports Carolinas) at Wallace Wade Stadium, where Duke (3-0) will try to complete a perfect non-conference portion of the season against Tulane (1-2). The other home game is at 6 p.m., as N.C. State (3-0) tries to complete its non-conference schedule unbeaten with a victory...

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