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Dual threat: Koplove shines as shortstop, closer

(03/07/15 9:18pm)

Two-way players in sports don't come along often, especially in baseball. The best players in Little League will play both pitcher and shortstop, but the versatility required to do so at the college or professional level is exceedingly rare in an age of increasing specialization. Even more infrequent is the player who can not only take the field at two of the game’s most critical positions, but excel at each.

X factor: Duke basketball vs. Virginia Tech

(02/25/15 10:25am)

With the health of star freshman Jahlil Okafor still very much up in the air, the No. 4 Blue Devils (24-3, 11-3 in the ACC) will look to continue their strong play and extend their seven-game winning streak Wednesday night when they travel to Blacksburg, Va., to take on Virginia Tech (10-17, 2-12) at Cassell Coliseum, with tip-off scheduled for 9 p.m. Duke has just four regular season games remaining before the ACC tournament play begins, and currently sits two games behind Virginia for the conference’s top spot. Before every game this season, the Blue Zone will select a player on both teams that could make a difference for their respective squads.

The key three: Duke basketball vs. North Carolina

(02/18/15 10:00pm)

Despite the snow and precipitation in Durham earlier in the week, this year’s first installment of the Tobacco Road rivalry will go on as scheduled—unlike last season, when the game was postponed for the first time in history—with tip-off set for 9 p.m. Wednesday at Cameron Indoor Stadium. While No. 4 Duke enters the contest riding a five-game winning streak and will be searching for its sixth victory against a ranked opponent this season, the No. 15 Tar Heels limp into Durham having lost three of their last four games, including a double-digit defeat to unranked Pittsburgh Saturday. Here are three keys to the game as the Blue Devils look to pick up another victory against their in-state rival:

Beyond the Arc: Duke basketball vs. Florida State

(02/10/15 10:24am)

Sporting its throwback all-blue jerseys, Duke narrowly escaped an upset bid from Florida State Monday night, prevailing with a 73-70 victory at the Donald L. Tucker Center. The performance from the No. 4 Blue Devils was a far cry from their dominant 30-point demolition of then-No. 10 Notre Dame the last time they hit the hardwood, but the backcourt duo of Tyus Jones and Quinn Cook carried the team to victory. Cook posted a season-high and led all scorers with 26 points and Jones notched a double-double with 16 points and 12 dimes to help overcome a feisty Seminole squad that ended the game on a 16-7 run.

The key three: Duke basketball vs. Florida State

(02/10/15 2:11am)

Following their most complete performance of the season, the No. 4 Blue Devils face a quick turnaround and don’t have much time to revel in their success. Duke travels to Tallahassee, Fla., to take on Florida State at 7 p.m. Monday night at the Donald L. Tucker Center, just more than 48 hours after finishing a demolition of then-No. 10 Notre Dame Saturday afternoon. With three consecutive ACC victories, the Blue Devils have vaulted themselves back into the mix for the regular season conference crown. Here are three keys to Monday’s contest as Duke looks to continue rolling:

Cook continues to be Blue Devils' heart and soul in win against Georgia Tech

(02/05/15 1:55pm)

With all of the constant chatter surrounding the impact of the Blue Devils’ three marquee freshmen—Jahlil Okafor’s consistent dominance in the post, Tyus Jones’ late-game heroics in key moments and Justise Winslow’s athleticism on both ends of the floor—it might seem as if the No. 4 team in the nation features only a group of immensely talented youngsters. After all, a rookie has led Duke in scoring in 16 games this season, and together the trio of starting freshmen accounts for half of the Blue Devils’ total points.

Beyond the Arc: Duke basketball vs. Virginia

(02/01/15 10:20pm)

Despite trailing by double digits in the second half, the No. 4 Blue Devils rallied and handed No. 2 Virginia its first loss of the season Saturday night with a 69-63 triumph at John Paul Jones Arena. Duke finished the game on an 11-0 run to earn the victory and end the week on a high note after a turbulent beginning to it—which included a heartbreaking loss to No. 8 Notre Dame and the dismissal of guard Rasheed Sulaimon from the team. The win helped the Blue Devils avoid falling to .500 in ACC play and marked their third road victory against a top-10 opponent this season.