Countdown to Countdown to Craziness: A guide to Saturday night's festivities

The Blue Devils will ring in the 2014-15 season with their sixth annual Countdown to Craziness Saturday at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Doors open at 6 p.m., with player introductions for the women's and men's teams scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. Following the fanfare, head coach Mike Krzyzewski's squad will take the floor for a 24-minute scrimmage, fans' first opportunity to see Duke's highly-touted recruiting class in action. The evening concludes with a dunk contest at around 9:30 p.m.

The Chronicle's men's basketball beat writers get your countdown to Countdown started with a Q&A:

Who will have the best introduction?

Daniel Carp: Justise Winslow. He’s a freshman who is quick to crack a smile and has been entertaining Duke fans with his larger-than-life Twitter persona since before he committed to the Blue Devils... Read more

Duke football midseason report: Special teams

With the Blue Devils preparing for their next Coastal Division test at Pittsburgh Nov. 1, we break down how Duke's special teams unit has performed this season and keys going forward. This week, The Blue Zone has given a breakdown of the Blue Devils' offense, defense and now special teams as they head down the stretch of the regular season.

Three key stats:

26.2: The kickoff return unit averages 26.2 yards per return, good for second in the ACC. With safety DeVon Edwards and running back Shaquille Powell usually back deep on returns, the Blue Devils have a field position advantage when their returners get a chance and opposing kickers aren't able to boot kicks deep into the end zone for touchbacks. Duke's kickoff return unit was one of the keys to last season's magical run to the ACC championship game, and could provide more big plays if given the opportunity.

100%: Kicker Ross Martin is 10-of-10 on field goals this year and boasts the best field goal percentage in the ACC... Read more

Duke football midseason report: Defense

With the Blue Devils preparing for their next Coastal Division test at Pittsburgh Nov. 1, we break down how Duke's defense has performed this season and keys going forward. This week, The Blue Zone will break down all three phases of the game, so check back tomorrow for the update on the Blue Devil special teams unit.

Three key stats:

1.6: The Blue Devils have had a tough time generating a pass rush so far this season. Only generating 1.6 sacks per game, the defensive line is not getting to the quarterback like it should be. Injuries and inconsistency have plague the group that has had to rely on Duke's linebackers and secondary for support near the line of scrimmage. One issue is that most ACC offensive lines outweigh the Blue Devil front four, which only averages 268 pounds and is undersized for a college defensive line. Duke will likely have to generate more pressure on opposing quarterbacks in the latter half of the season to clinch another division title... Read more

Duke football midseason report: Offense

With the Blue Devils preparing for their next Coastal Division test at Pittsburgh Nov. 1, we break down how Duke's offense has performed this season and keys going forward. This week, The Blue Zone will break down all three phases of the game, so check back tomorrow for the update on the Blue Devil defense.

Three key numbers:

33.6: The Blue Devils are averaging 33.6 points per game, which is good for fifth in the ACC and 44th in the FBS. A balanced offensive attack has allowed them to put points on the board and the team has scored 40 or more points three times this season. The offense benefitted from playing a weak non-conference schedule early in the season, as it has only averaged 20.3 points per game against ACC opponents.

218.0: Led by running backs Josh Snead, Shaquille Powell, Joseph Ajeigbe and Shaun Wilson, the ground game has averaged 218.0 yards per game, paving the way for the Duke offense so far this season... Read more

Duke football to face Notre Dame 4 times between 2016 and 2023

A handful meetings with one of the nation's most storied football programs are on the horizon.

Duke will face independent Notre Dame three more times between 2019 and 2023, in addition to game on September 24, 2016 that is already scheduled to be played in South Bend, Ind., the Atlantic Coast Conference announced Tuesday. The Blue Devils will host the Fighting Irish in 2019 and 2023 and will travel to South Bend in 2020 in addition to the already scheduled matchup in 2016.

The two opponents aren't exactly strangers on the gridiron. They have faced off four times since 1958, with Notre Dame owning a 3-1 record between the two teams. Duke lost their last matchup with the Fighting Irish 28-7 in 2007.

In that game, current Chicago Bears quarterback Jimmy Clausen threw for 194 yards and three touchdowns as Notre Dame built a 28-0 lead in the fourth quarter, one that it would not relinquish. A six-yard rushing touchdown by reserve quarterback Zach Asack was Duke's only score of the game... Read more

Former Duke standout Nolan Smith likely to be cut from Turkish squad after squabble with head coach

Former Blue Devil standout Nolan Smith is likely to be waived by Turkish squad Galatasaray, according to reports Tuesday.

The former Portland Trail Blazer recently got into a confrontation with his head coach, Ergin Ataman, after being taken out of the game. Smith threw his towel in frustration in the direction of Ataman, who followed the 6-foot-2 guard to the bench and started pointing his finger at him,

After the incident, Smith was sent to play with the squad's youth team, and recently put out this apology on Twitter.

Duke football standout Tomlinson continues reeling in national accolades, quartet of Blue Devils earn conference honors

After a 6-1 start that has showcased the Blue Devils' talent in all three phases of the , a handful of Duke players are reeling in midseason awards.

A week after guard Laken Tomlinson was named to the CBSSports midseason All-America second team, he is making headlines again after being named to the Phil Steele All-America second team. He was also named an All-ACC performer by Steele in addition to the national honors.

The redshirt senior has anchored an offensive line that is tied for first in the FBS with only 0.57 sacks allowed per game and 2.86 tackles for loss allowed per game. The line has also paved the way for a Blue Devil four-headed rushing attack that is averaging 218 yards per game... Read more

Stock Watch: Duke football offensive line, defense continue dominating

The bell of the Blue Zone stock exchange has just rung again, meaning it's time for another taking 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

  • Duke football defense: The unit is at the top of the market again this week after a strong showing Saturday in the 20-13 win against Virginia Saturday. Despite allowing the Cavaliers to gain 465 yards and 23 first downs, it limited them to just 13 points. It forced the only turnover of the game when redshirt junior safety Jeremy Cash forced an early fumble that was recovered by Jonathan Jones on the Virginia opening drive, leading to a Blue Devil touchdown. The secondary had some issues with a pass-heavy Cavalier offense, but Breon Borders had a couple of key pass break ups and Deondre Singleton had a near interception in the fourth quarter... Read more

Diamond Stone cuts Duke from final 4 as Blue Devils prepare to host Leaf, Battle during Countdown to Craziness

Let’s start with the bad news of the week first.

Prized 2015 recruit Diamond Stone announced his final four and Duke did not make the cut.

Although it would have been nice to add another elite big man to next year’s class, this news does not come as a shock to anyone, as many were surprised the Blue Devils were even included in the Wisconsin native’s final five. With elite big man Chase Jeter and sharpshooter Luke Kennard already committed, the Blue Devils' last major 2015 target remains in-state superstar Brandon Ingram.

Speaking of Ingram, he visited both Kentucky and Kansas recently and is headed to UCLA this coming weekend, instead of attending Countdown to Craziness. Ingram has been connected to UCLA more and more of late... Read more

Around the ACC: Week 8

Duke 20, Virginia 13

In a low-scoring, back-and-forth Homecoming contest, Duke held on to beat Virginia in Durham and capture an important conference victory. The Blue Devils (6-1, 2-1 in the ACC) found the end zone both times via tight end, once on a first quarter connection from redshirt senior Anthony Boone to redshirt sophomore Erich Schneider and then again in the fourth quarter when redshirt sophomore Thomas Sirk completed a jump pass to redshirt junior David Reeves. The Blue Devil defense then held Virginia (4-3, 2-1) scoreless in the fourth quarter, giving the Blue Devils their sixth win of the year and securing a program-first third straight bowl bid.

No. 2 Florida State 31, No. 5 Notre Dame 27

In the much-anticipated matchup of the week, Florida State (7-0, 5-0) held on to beat Notre Dame (6-1) on a last second call that took a game-winning touchdown away from the fighting Irish... Read more