Duke basketball set to open ACC play at Notre Dame

Sophomore Amile Jefferson is playing his best basketball of the season as Duke gets set to enter ACC play.
Sophomore Amile Jefferson is playing his best basketball of the season as Duke gets set to enter ACC play.

"If history serves as any lesson, I think Coach Brey has been at his best in adverse situations," Duke associate head coach Steve Wojciechowski said. "It seems like those are the times Coach Brey has done his best jobs. We know we're going to see Notre Dame at their best."

"I think that's a work in progress. I'm looking at it every day," Brey said. "
Really, since we've been back after Christmas, you're plugged into practice trying to figure it out almost like the first week of practice in mid-October."

"I don't think anybody gives us much of a chance on Saturday," Brey said. "But we've been in these situations before in this building, and we've played and rallied really well. We certainly have nothing to lose, not only in this one but the rest of the way."

"He's a beautiful basketball player," Brey said. "He's the combination of great physicality as a young guy, but he is a skilled guy who really has a feel for the game and really knows how to play."

Although the Fighting Irish appear outmatched in Saturday's conference opener, Notre Dame does have home-court advantage on its side and plays a physical brand of basketball that was the trademark of its former conference, the Big East.

"Going on the road, it's going to be a hostile environment," Duke forward Amile Jefferson said. "We haven't played a true road game yet, so for us it's going to be about maturity."

The Fighting Irish have size up front thanks to 6-foot-10 forward Tom Knight and 6-foot-11 center Garrick Sherman. Hood said Notre Dame's frontcourt size will make pushing the tempo even more important.

In addition to facing its first conference road game, Duke was forced to prepare for its showdown with the Fighting Irish without head coach Mike Krzyzewski, who traveled back to his native Chicago after his older brother Bill passed away at the age of 71. Krzyzewski rejoined the Blue Devils in South Bend Friday night, but Hood—a team captain—said Duke did not miss a beat in the absence of their leader.

"That's our main captain. Him not being there obviously takes a toll on our team," Hood said. "But you have to shift the young guys and tell them, 'We have to work even harder.' We have to make Coach feel comfortable that we're prepared once we go up there to Indiana."


Share and discuss “Duke basketball set to open ACC play at Notre Dame” on social media.