With one game in the books, No. 2 seed Duke will continue its quest for a sixth national title Sunday night when it takes on seventh-seeded South Carolina in the Round of 32 in Greenville, S.C. There are plenty of storylines to watch for, but here are our three keys to the Blue Devils' matchup with the Gamecocks.
A "thorn" in the side
During Saturday's media availability, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski called South Carolina's Sindarius Thornwell "the best unheralded great player in the United States." The 6-foot-5 guard is a dangerous all-around weapon and earned SEC Player of the Year honors this season—he averages 21.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.
Against Marquette in the Gamecocks' opening-round contest, Thornwell went off for 29 points, shooting 10-of-19 from the field. The senior also tallied 11 boards, two blocks and three steals in a game played less than 120 miles from his hometown of Lancaster, S.C. Although the Blue Devils have faced their share of top-tier individual talent this season, Thornwell is a unique threat that will pose a challenge to whomever latches onto him Sunday—most likely senior Matt Jones.
Make it rain
The Golden Eagles got off to a fast start and an early lead with strong 3-point shooting against South Carolina, hitting seven of their first 12 long-range attempts to go up by as many as nine midway through the first half. Duke found similar success, as it knocked down 7-of-10 triples to start the game and will likely need to lean on its 3-point shooting to open up driving lanes against an aggressive Gamecock defense. Read more »
After an 87-65 victory against Troy Friday, the Blue Devils will play for their third straight Sweet 16 appearance Sunday night at about 8:40 against No. 7 seed South Carolina in Greenville, S.C. The Blue Zone takes a look at a player from each team who could be the difference-maker in the game.
Duke: Guard Grayson Allen
With Jayson Tatum and Luke Kennard entrenched as the Blue Devils’ top two scorers, all eyes turn to Grayson Allen to see which iteration of the junior will appear Sunday night given his up-and-down season.
If it is the fiery—yet composed—attacker and sharpshooter that has shown up in key games like Duke’s first round game Friday night, Mike Krzyzewski’s team should be in good hands. If it is the easily-agitated and passive Allen, though, it could bode poorly for the Blue Devils as they face a South Carolina team that is one of the nation’s best at forcing turnovers. The Jacksonville, Fla., native will need to be both a consistent scorer and an alert ball handler to help lead his team to the Sweet 16. Read more »
The Chronicle's Amrith Ramkumar and Mitchell Gladstone reflected on Duke's 87-65 win against Troy in its NCAA tournament opener and looked ahead to Sunday's second-round matchup against No. 7 seed South Carolina, which beat Marquette 93-73 Friday night in Greenville, S.C.
0:34—Breaking down Jayson Tatum's double-double in his NCAA tournament debut
1:32—Whether Tatum and Luke Kennard can shoot more efficiently in the second round
2:09—Taking a closer look at SEC Player of the Year Sindarius Thornwell and Duke's Round of 32 opponent Read more »
GREENVILLE, S.C.—After Duke needed to win four grueling games on consecutive days to bring an ACC title back to Durham, the Blue Devils' quest for a sixth NCAA tournament title started on a much simpler note.
But some defensive lapses and hot shooting from Troy mean Duke will still have to put in some work in the second half to survive and advance.
At the half, No. 2 Duke holds a 52-38 advantage against 15th-seeded Troy in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Bon Secours Wellness Arena. The Blue Devils have used a balanced offensive attack and are shooting 10-of-17 from long distance led by 11 points apiece from Matt Jones and Grayson Allen.
Duke began the contest in a fullcourt 2-2-1 trap—rattling the Trojans into five turnovers before the under-16 minute media timeout as the Blue Devils quickly jumped out to a 16-4 lead. Five Duke players have already knocked down at least one 3-pointer and the Blue Devils have 16 points off turnovers so far. Read more »
The second-seeded Blue Devils' road to Phoenix for the Final Four begins Friday in Greenville, S.C., against No. 15 seed Troy. With Duke coming off a stunning ACC championship run last week, here are three keys for the Blue Devils to avoid what would be an equally shocking upset loss.
Defend the 3-point line
Most upsets stem at least in part from hot 3-point shooting, and the Trojans have the weapons from the perimeter to make things interesting Friday night. Junior guard Wesley Person shoots 40.0 percent from long range and exploded for 39 points with 10 made triples in a game against UT Arlington earlier this year.
Duke is sixth in the nation in 3-point defense, though, holding opponents to just 29.5 percent shooting from beyond the arc this year. Guards Frank Jackson and Matt Jones have both been excellent perimeter defenders capable of running opposing shooters off the 3-point line, and they will need to contribute more of the same against Person to keep Troy's offense in check.
The Blue Devils probably will not need all of their perimeter weapons to be clicking to get past the Trojans, but it would help to build on their momentum from last week's ACC tournament, when the team came together consistently for the first time all season. Jayson Tatum, Grayson Allen, Frank Jackson and Luke Kennard each made at least four shots from the field just twice in the regular season, but they replicated the feat in the last two games of the tournament against North Carolina and Notre Dame. Read more »
With the Blue Devils set to open NCAA tournament play Friday night against Troy in Greenville, S.C., The Chronicle's Amrith Ramkumar and Mitchell Gladstone break down what they need to do to advance to the second round of the tournament for the third straight year.
0:26—What Duke needs to watch out for from a Troy team that can score the ball on offense
1:50—Why Jayson Tatum and Amile Jefferson could take advantage of their size advantages to have big games Friday Read more »
The second-seeded Blue Devils are heavily favored in their NCAA tournament opener against No. 15 seed Troy, but Duke has learned not to take any opponents lightly in March after falling victim to two shocking first-round upsets in the last five years. The Blue Zone takes a look at a player from each team who could be the difference-maker in the game:
Duke: Guard Matt Jones
Jones made the biggest shot of Duke's season with a triple from the wing in the final minute of the ACC championship last Saturday against Notre Dame, but the senior co-captain has made much more of an impact on the defensive end throughout his career. Usually matched up against opponents' top scoring threats, Jones' next assignment will likely be Troy's Jordon Varnado, who averages 16.5 points and 7.1 rebounds per game.
As a 6-foot-6 post player who does most of his scoring around the basket and crashes the glass effectively, Varnado could be just the type of player Jones matches up well with, like Michigan State's Miles Bridges or Clemson's Jaron Blossomgame earlier this year. If Jones can shut Varnado down, the Blue Devils will have size advantages at almost every other position on the court and should be able to contain the Trojans. A 3-pointer or two from Jones wouldn't hurt either, of course, as the senior has been cold all year but could be needed to space the floor offensively later in the tournament. Read more »
Duke is often thought of as the villain—particularly when it comes to basketball, with hated Blue Devil figures such as Christian Laettner, J.J. Redick and, most recently, Grayson Allen.
But for the second time in less than five months, Duke picked up another one of the "good guys."
After 2017 five-star basketball recruit Wendell Carter posted a James Bond-themed video to announce his commitment to the Blue Devils in November, Duke football recruit Tahj Rice announced that he would be joining head coach David Cutcliffe's program with his unique superhero-themed video announcement Tuesday.
It was war. Adrenaline was surely released, there were elbows flying and of course, it was all in the name of competition.
As a prelude to its home game against North Carolina in 2004—which Donald Trump attended—and as response to the University of Warwick in England setting the record a week prior, Duke organized what was then the largest pillow fight ever accordingto the Guinness Book of World Records.
On the Main West Quadrangle at night, 1,076 students gathered and for a minute swatted pillows at one another. The organizers had to set up multiple cameras and witnesses to prove to the Guinness Book of World Records what the total was, and only bed pillows were counted, no "couch cushions."Read more »