They say the devil is in the details. But in Durham, the Blue Devils are in the details—and numbers.
Each week, the Blue Zone will dissect five key numbers from last week's action in Duke sports, whether they be historic or underwhelming. This week, let the numbers take you inside the start of men's basketball's season, football's blowout loss, men's golf's first victory and another women's soccer tie.
For the second straight year, the Blue Devils are ranked No. 4 in the AP preseason men's basketball poll. Duke will open the season Nov. 5 against No. 3 Kansas at Madison Square Garden in the Champions Classic, which will also feature No. 1 Michigan State vs. No. 2 Kentucky. In last season's Champions Classic, Zion and company blew the Wildcats out of the stadium 118-84 as the Blue Devils secured the No. 1 ranking the following week and the hype train for the star-studded team officially left the station.
At Countdown to Craziness Friday night, Vernon Carey Jr. balled out for the Blue team in a 47-38 victory, dropping 15 points on 7-for-10 shooting from the field. The freshman looked smooth in the paint and hit a triple on a poor overall shooting night for Duke, which went 4-for-25 from deep. Cassius Stanley, also on the Blue squad, impressed as well—scoring 12 points while grabbing eight rebounds.
It's hard to pick a single offensive stat that embodies the Blue Devils' woes against Virginia on the gridiron Saturday. Duke (4-3, 2-2 in the ACC) averaged a putrid 3.5 yards per play in a sluggish performance in Charlottesville, Va., leading to a 48-14 blowout loss. The Blue Devils could only muster 118 yards through the air on 30 pass attempts while rushing for 132 yards on 41 carries. Add in three lost fumbles and two interceptions—giving the Cavaliers a short field—and you have the whole recipe for a blowout. The most effective plays for Duke came from punter Austin Parker, who ran the ball twice for 17 yards on trick plays to give the lifeless Blue Devil offense a lone heartbeat.
The men's golf team secured its first tournament victory of the season at the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate, shooting a two-under 862 in a tournament featuring seven top-25 programs, including No. 1 Georgia Tech, No. 4 Wake Forest and No. 9 Pepperdine. The tenth-ranked Blue Devils had three individuals finish in the top 10, with juniors Evan Katz and Adrien Pendaries finishing 6th and 7th, respectively, and senior Steven DiLisio sneaking in at 9th. Duke was the only team to finish under par.
The women's soccer team preserved its 12-game unbeaten streak with its fourth tie in the last five games Friday evening. The ninth-ranked Blue Devils (7-1-6, 2-0-5) and No. 14 Louisville battled to a 1-1 draw in Louisville, Ky., led by a 10th-minute, penalty kick goal by Duke midfielder Ella Stevens. After Cardinals midfielder Mackenzie Pluck, who was named ACC Offensive Player of the Week last week, worked the ball into the box, Louisville committed a handball violation that led to Duke's first penalty kick of the season. Although the Blue Devils took the lead into the half, Louisville answered in the 53rd minute to even the contest.
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