Chronicle pregame: Duke men's basketball vs. Miami

Chronicle pregame: Duke men's basketball vs. Miami

Following a week off for Duke, The Chronicle's Amrith Ramkumar and Drew Johnson broke down the Blue Devils' upcoming matchup Saturday against Miami at Cameron Indoor Stadium as they try to snap a two-game losing streak.

0:24—Whether Duke can take care of the ball better than it did in its two losses last week

0:49—Amile Jefferson's uncertain status for Saturday and whether another big man can step up to fill his void

2:09—A look at Miami and its second-best scoring defense in the ACC Read more »

Key three: Duke men's basketball vs. Miami

Key three: Duke men's basketball vs. Miami

After dropping two straight on the road to tough ACC competitors in Florida State and Louisville, the No. 18 Blue Devils hope to bounce back Saturday when they take on Miami at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Here are three keys to success for Duke.

Interior Defense

Without Amile Jefferson, Duke has shown its vulnerability to teams that have size on the inside, as freshman Harry Giles has had some difficulty adjusting to the level of play he has faced in the ACC. After going 3-for-5 from the field, grabbing six boards and blocking two shots against Louisville, Giles will be matched up with another freshman who has had some difficulty adjusting in Dewan Huell. The 6-foot-11 forward is averaging just 6.7 points and 4.2 rebounds per game, so the matchup looks favorable for Duke’s top recruit. But if Blue Devil interim head coach Jeff Capel decides to come out with the same small starting lineup he used against Louisville, Giles’ play will be crucial to Duke’s chances of winning.

Knock shots down from the outside

Although they have given up 166 points during their last two games, the Blue Devils’ scoring has met some of its high expectations in those contests. It has also been balanced, with Jayson Tatum and Luke Kennard each scoring more than 20 points at Florida State and then Grayson Allen doing so at Louisville. The trio scored 104 of Duke’s 141 points during that span, accounting for an extremely high percentage of Duke's offense. Four different players hit 3-pointers against Louisville, so the Blue Devils will have a variety of weapons they would like to use from beyond the arc to stretch the Hurricanes' athletic backcourt defensively.

Pass the Ball

Duke has struggled to move the ball around recently, only recording 18 total assists in its last two games and allowing its two opponents to total 31 dimes. With the arsenal of options the Blue Devils have on offense, they would benefit from sharing the ball to find the hot hand. Allen has led the team in assists thus far with 4.3 per game, but no one else is averaging more than 2.5. Although Duke is the fourth-worst in the ACC with 13.8 assists per game, Miami is dead last with 12.2, so ball movement will likely be a struggle for the Hurricanes as well. Read more »

X Factor: Duke men's basketball vs. Miami

X Factor: Duke men's basketball vs. Miami

No. 18 Duke returns home to play Miami Saturday, looking to draw back to .500 in conference play after a week off to recover from two straight losses. The Blue Zone takes a look at a player from each team who could be the difference-maker in the game.

Duke: Forward Jayson Tatum

After struggling mightily against one of the stronger defensive squads in the nation last Saturday against Louisville, Tatum will need to rebound against the Hurricanes' 11th-best scoring defense. Miami has shown holes recently, though, especially after giving up 96 points Wednesday in a loss at Wake Forest. Tatum has been frustrated by length offensively, and the Hurricane defenders will certainly pressure the freshman swingman to try to frustrate him.

The Blue Devils need Tatum to respond on both sides of the court. With graduate student forward Amile Jefferson questionable with a right-foot bone bruise that has kept him out the last two games—both losses—Tatum will need to be more active on the boards, especially if classmate Harry Giles finds himself in foul trouble once again. The past two games, Tatum has averaged only 4.5 rebounds, which is more than two rebounds less than his season average. Read more »

Stock watch: Schedule eases up for Duke men's basketball; Injury bug lingers

Stock watch: Schedule eases up for Duke men's basketball; Injury bug lingers

The bell of the Blue Zone stock exchange has rung again, meaning it's time to take a look at who is rising and falling with their performances for Blue Devil sports teams. Each week, the Blue Zone will look at whose stock is on the rise and whose stock has taken a hit from the week in the world of Duke athletics.

Bull Market—Trending Up

Ease of Duke men's basketball's schedule: Coming off back-to-back losses against ranked teams, hope is on the horizon for the reeling Blue Devils. After losing on the road against then-No. 9 Florida State and then-No. 14 Louisville, Duke is set to play three straight games against unranked opponents.

Sophomore Luke Kennard and company will play Miami and N.C. State at home before traveling to Winston-Salem, N.C., to play Wake Forest in the upcoming week. Duke can hope to get over its January slump before facing No. 15 Notre Dame on the road to end the month. Read more »

Duke in the NBA: Irving slumps, Hood dodges injury scare

Duke in the NBA: Irving slumps, Hood dodges injury scare

Several former Blue Devils like Jabari Parker are leading up-and-coming teams back into the playoff hunt as the NBA season is past its halfway point.

Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers

Irving and his Cavalier teammates made their much-anticipated return to Oracle Arena on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in their second and final regular-season rematch of last year’s NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors, only to get blown out by 35 points. Little went right for the Cavaliers, who were playing their sixth game in a 12-day road trip and had a few key players out or limited, including Kevin Love and J.R. Smith. Irving was not immune to the team’s struggles, managing just 17 points, two rebounds and two assists, falling short of his season averages this season in each of those categories.

With the loss to the Warriors, Irving continued to struggle with a recent shooting slump—in three of his last four games, his field goal percentage has been worse than 32 percent, a far cry from his season average of 46.1 percent. Nevertheless, with a home matchup against a weak Suns team up next for the Cavaliers, Irving should have the chance to work through his scoring slump more before hosting the Spurs Saturday in Cleveland. Read more »

Chron Chat: Tenting edition

Chron Chat: Tenting edition

Two of The Chronicle’s men’s basketball beat writers, senior Brian Pollack and sophomore Hank Tucker, are tenting for Duke’s home game against North Carolina Feb. 9, and they answered a few questions about what it’s like to be in line for a basketball game for almost a month. Leave your questions in the comments, and they will get as many of them answered as possible next week.

What made you want to tent?

Hank Tucker: I grew up in Durham and followed Duke basketball from a young age, so I always knew that tenting would be at the top of my to-do list if I ended up at school here. I tented for five weeks last year to see the Blue Devils lose and didn’t regret any of the cold nights I spent outside. Nothing compares to the atmosphere of a Duke-North Carolina game at Cameron, and I want to be in the building for the game all four of my years here.

Brian Pollack: Even though I did not grow up as a Duke fan, the Duke-North Carolina game is one of those events that you hear about and pay attention to every year—it’s that special. Tickets for this game sell for thousands of dollars, and the chance to get into the student section is one of the most unique experiences Duke has to offer. Read more »

This week in Duke history: Cameron Crazies scolded for obscene taunts at Maryland's Herman Veal

This week in Duke history: Cameron Crazies scolded for obscene taunts at Maryland's Herman Veal

This generation of Duke students grew up in an era of line monitors and PG-rated Cameron Crazie jokes.

It hasn't always been so tame inside Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Thirty-three years ago, the national media scorned the Crazies for perhaps their most controversial antic to date. On Jan. 14, 1984, Duke lost 81-75 to Maryland, a team that featured a player named Herman Veal, who had been accused, though not convicted, of sexual assault.

In response, Blue Devil fans not only taunted him, but also threw ladies underwear and contraceptives onto the floor of the court. Read more »

Thoughts on the AP poll: Week 10

Thoughts on the AP poll: Week 10

The Blue Devils plummeted out of the top 10 for the first time this season, falling all the way to No. 18 after two road losses.

A New No. 1 is Crowned

Baylor, who rose to the top of the rankings just last week, did not hold onto it for long after being thrashed 89-68 at then-No. 10 West Virginia last Tuesday. The Bears committed 29 turnovers against the Mountaineer press and could not rally from an early deficit like they previously had against Louisville in November, and they fell to No. 6 in this week's rankings. The Mountaineers rose to No. 7.

This opened the door for Villanova to rise back to No. 1 after a 25-point beatdown against then-No. 15 Xavier. The Wildcats leapfrogged No. 2 Kansas, which fought off two scares from Oklahoma and Oklahoma State and has not lost since the first night of the season against Indiana. Read more »

Recruiting roundup: Four-star point guard Matt Coleman commits to Texas, Trent Jr. and Carter named McDonald's All-Americans

Recruiting roundup: Four-star point guard Matt Coleman commits to Texas, Trent Jr. and Carter named McDonald's All-Americans

After a series of long, arduous recruiting battles, the Blue Devils are still searching for their point guard in the Class of 2017.

Four-star point guard Matt Coleman committed to Texas Monday afternoon, a result many analysts expected because of the 6-foot-2 floor general's relationship with Longhorn head coach Shaka Smart. 

Coleman is known for his speed off the dribble at just 160 pounds, and the Norfolk, Va., native also has the ability to stop on a dime and either set up teammates or knock down his smooth lefty jump shot. Read more »