The independent news organization of Duke University

Sports | Columns

Marcus Paige and No. 2 North Carolina were the only top-8 team to survive last week unscathed in what has become a season of nightly upsets in college basketball.

Embrace the parity

Chaotic. Unpredictable. Carnage. These words are not being used to recount the end result of gladiators strapping on armor and ripping one another to shreds for the amusement of the Roman populus—they are descriptions of the 2015-16 college basketball season. But let me add another word to the mix: beautiful.

Former Blue Devil Jahlil Okafor has been in the news for off-court issues in the past week.

The value of stability

For two of the Blue Devils’ national championship winning freshmen from a year ago, the stability of the organizations that selected them may be much more important than where their names ended up on the draft board.

After a 2-of-11 performance against Kentucky Nov. 17, sophomore Grayson Allen immediately changed the narrative with a bounce-back weekend at Madison Square Garden.

How can we judge what's real?

The next time you’re watching your team play, maybe think about it before proclaiming them the best in the land, and when it comes to preseason predictions and polls: Just say no.


Putting it in perspective

It’s hard to care about a blowout, season-opening basketball game while something so shocking unfolds somewhere else. Sitting at Cameron while the soccer stadium in Paris was evacuated put things in perspective: That could be here. That could be us. That could be me.

Grayson Allen kicked off his sophomore campaign with a bang this weekend, totaling 54 points—the second-most ever for a Duke player through the season’s first two games—thanks in large part to a combined 17-of-18 performance from the free throw line.

Data digging: Grayson Allen's torrid start

After the season’s opening weekend, all the hype surrounding Duke basketball is not about its top-ranked recruiting class, nor its nationally televised showdown with No. 2 Kentucky Tuesday—but rather the magnificent scoring prowess of Grayson Allen.

The You Don't Say? campaign, which included women's basketball junior Oderah Chidom, is an example of how sports can be used as a platform to tackle larger societal issues—something especially relevant this week amid the football protests at the University of Missouri.

More than just a game

“I just think that sports are stupid and anyone who likes them is just a lesser person.” As funny as I find Amy Schumer— in this moment of her hit film Trainwreck, she’s flat out wrong.

The Blue Devils must quickly move on from Saturday’s game against Miami if they hope to stay alive in the race for the ACC Coastal Division crown.

The game is over

You can print a schedule off and draw a million asterisks on there, but at the end of the day, when your Sharpie and inner will have shriveled, the Blue Devils will be 6-2.

A look at how Duke's offense has fared as games wear on reveals the importance of a strong first quarter performance by the Blue Devils.

Data digging: The all-important first quarter

Duke’s 33.4 points per game sits in the nation’s top 50, and a healthy 5.5 yards per play produces an average of more than 400 yards per contest. But dig a little deeper and those numbers appear skewed thanks to Duke’s first-quarter performances.

Duke and North Carolina knelt at halfcourt before the Feb. 18 basketball game at Cameron Indoor Stadium to honor the late Tar Heel head coach Dean Smith.

A rivalry built on respect

By choosing to look up to Mia Hamm even after becoming a Blue Devil, that little girl who grew up playing soccer and watching Hamm is not abandoning any allegiances. If there is one thing Mia taught me, it is that a sports hero can transcends intercollegiate athletics.

Georgia Tech was the preseason favorite to win the ACC Coastal Division but has yet to pick up a win in conference play, an example representative of a national trend in which teams deemed to be preseason powerhouses have fallen far short of expectations.

A polling problem

The media—like Jon Snow—still knows nothing. Okay, we know some things, but the notion of asking anyone—even national and local beat writers who are paid handsomely (just kidding)—to predict a top 25 before even seeing any team take the field is incredibly disturbing and, looking back, highly entertaining. Here’s a link to the original preseason top 25, and a look at the conference and division winners that each respective conference’s media predicted prior to the season: -Big 12: TCU -ACC: Clemson and Georgia Tech -Pac-12: Oregon and USC -Big Ten: Ohio State and Wisconsin -SEC: Auburn (overall), Alabama and Georgia (divisions) That seems pretty solid, right?

Patience is a virtue: Duke stuck with David Cutcliffe after a rough first few seasons, and both Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer (left) and Miami’s Al Golden (right) have struggled with traditional powerhouses in recent years.

When the time is right

In an industry that racks up profits in the billions, the greatest indicator of success has proven to be not which program can build the best facilities or attract the most-talented recruits, but the program that can create a stable coaching situation.

Women's lacrosse head coach Kerstin Kimel is one of seven female head coaches at Duke.

The rise of the female coach

In a time where women’s sports are looked at as “less than” or “more boring than” their male counterparts, Dr. Jen Welter, Becky Hammon and Justine Siegal have proven they can do anything their male counterparts can do—and sometimes better.