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Basketball schedules released for '05-'06

Let the anticipation begin.

The Atlantic Coast Conference released the 2005-2006 men’s basketball schedules Aug. 23 and for many Duke fans, their attention immediately turned to Dec. 10th.

College basketball aficionados are already circling their calendars on the date when Duke battles Texas at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J. Numerous preseason polls have ranked the two teams as among the best in the nation, potentially the top two.

But before this highly anticipated showdown, Duke will begin the year in the Preseason NIT, playing Boston University Nov. 14 at Cameron Indoor Stadium and then either Manhattan or Seton Hall two days later. The NIT semifinals and finals will take place Nov. 23 and Nov. 25, respectively, at Madison Square Garden in New York.

In this season’s ACC/Big 10 Challenge, Duke will not have a chance to avenge its Sweet 16 loss to Michigan State. Instead, the Blue Devils will travel to Bloomington, Ind. to take on the Hoosiers.

In the heavily-weakened ACC, Duke’s hardest competition may come Feb. 1 against conference-newcomer Boston College. With the ACC’s new scheduling format, the Blue Devils will square off against the Eagles only once.

One constant theme of the Blue Devil schedule is playing in large arenas that have been used as NCAA Tournament venues. In the past, head coach Mike Krzyzewski has said that he likes to use the regular season to help his teams prepare for the atmosphere of the postseason. This year appears to be no exception.

Duke will play games in at least four arenas that have hosted tournament play recently, such as the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia against Temple and at the MCI Center in Washington, D.C. against Georgetown.

The most important arena the Blue Devils visit, however, may be the Greensboro Coliseum to take on UNC-Greensboro Dec. 31. The game itself may seem insignificant compared to other matchups, but Greensboro will host the 2006 ACC Tournament and also will be one of eight sites to host the 1st and 2nd rounds of the NCAA Tournament.

Women’s Schedule:

The ACC released the women’s basketball schedule Aug. 25. The Blue Devils’ schedule is ambitious, including road games at powerhouse programs like Texas, Penn State and Old Dominion. In addition, Duke will take on Tennessee at Cameron Indoor Stadium—and that’s just the out-of-conference schedule.

The teams within the ACC have the potential to be as strong as last year, when seven teams qualified for the NCAA Tournament. Most of the teams were young a year ago and few of the league’s stars graduated. Much of the focus will be on the North Carolina home game on Jan. 29, as Duke hopes to end its 3-game losing streak to the Tar Heels.

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