Stock watch: Duke women's basketball caps impressive regular season, Jackson steps up for Duke men's basketball
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. The Blue Zone takes a 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
Duke women’s basketball: With its destruction of Tobacco Road rival North Carolina 95-71 Sunday, Duke capped off a sterling regular season at 25-4, a record few predicted at the start of the season. The Blue Devils would not be in their position without the contributions of Lexie Brown and Rebecca Greenwell, who were both named to the All-ACC first team this week. Duke now heads into the ACC tournament as the No. 3 seed after tying for second place, an improvement of five spots from last season. To top it all off, the Blue Devils crushed ESPN’s Handclap Hoopla Challenge that was released on ESPN2 during Duke’s 83-70 victory against Miami on Senior Day.Video
Frank Jackson: With veteran Grayson Allen hobbled by an ankle injury, Jackson has taken full advantage of more playing time, as he started for only the fourth time in conference play Tuesday. The freshman guard proved his mettle against No. 15 Florida State, scoring a career-best 22 points, including an impressive spurt of 10 straight points to stretch the Blue Devils' lead to 19.
With Allen’s postseason future up in the air, Jackson has now become one of Duke’s most important players—quite the jump for somebody who was an afterthought with Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum and Marques Bolden grabbing all the preseason headlines for the second-ranked recruiting class in the nation. The Alpine, Utah, native was able to showcase his full potential last week and should get more opportunities as the season winds down.
ACC Madness: After the Blue Devils rattled off seven straight wins, it seemed as though the top of the ACC had finally settled. But with consecutive losses to Syracuse and Miami, followed by a victory against the Seminoles, the disorder has only gotten crazier. Coupled with Virginia’s upset victory in North Carolina, the standings remain extremely jumbled heading into the last week of the regular season, with seven squads jam-packed behind the Tar Heels with 11 or 10 ACC victories. All seven are still fighting for top-four seeds that guarantee double-byes in the ACC tournament.
Bear Market—Trending Down
Women’s basketball shoe game: Much was made of the men’s basketball team sporting former star Kyrie Irving’s new footwear—the Duke-customized version of the Nike Kyrie 3—which will not hit the racks until March 10. Irving gave the Blue Devils permission to sport the popular shoe during their game against Florida State, and the team marketed it as such, with all Duke basketball players getting this unique opportunity.
However, the shoes were only given to the men’s squad, which is not the only basketball team that plays for Duke. Star point guard Lexie Brown jokingly took issue with the statement, as she tweeted at Irving Monday.
The women’s team is doing just fine, though, as it heads into postseason play.
Undefeated teams: After then-No. 1 Gonzaga coughed up a 16-point lead in an upset loss to Brigham Young at home Saturday, there are no more undefeated teams in the NCAA. Although the Bulldogs no longer have the opportunity to pursue a perfect season, they certainly remain in the discussion of national title contenders. Gonzaga was heavily favored to win their last few regular-season contests, but a costly second half against the Cougars was enough to end hopes of its first undefeated regular season ever.