Duke Report

Duke Basketball: Game Predictions for the 2013-14 Blue Devils Season

Duke LogoWith the Duke Basketball schedule now set for the 2013-14 season, and tickets for Countdown to Craziness on sale, I decided to try to tackle predicting each game for the Blue Devils. This is nearly impossible because of the unpredictable nature of injuries and off-court issues, but it’s still a fun activity for the painfully long offseason. The following is a look at how I think the regular season will play out for Duke.

Opponent
Date
Location
Comments
Prediction
Davidson11/8/13Cameron Indoor StadiumThe Wildcats are always one of the most well-coached and fundamentally sound teams on Duke’'s schedule and Bob McKillop deserves a ton of credit for what he’'s built at Davidson. This game will serve as a great early test for the Blue Devils but they should have enough talent, depth, and a significant home-court advantage to avoid the upset.Duke 78
Davidson 66
Kansas11/12/13Champions Classic (Chicago)There will be tons of hype leading up to this game because it will feature the nation's top two recruits from last season, Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins. However, Andrew Wiggins is just one of many new faces at Kansas that will be adjusting to having a major role as Bill Self lost his entire starting five from last season. Kansas could struggle through the first part of the season as this new group gains experience. Duke 80
Kansas 73
Florida Atlantic11/15/13Cameron Indoor StadiumThis is one of those games that will be more about Duke'’s execution than anything the opponent can do. Florida Atlantic’'s players will likely be overwhelmed by the atmosphere at Cameron Indoor Stadium and the Blue Devils should win comfortably.Duke 85
FAU 58
UNC Asheville11/18/13Cameron Indoor StadiumThe Blue Devils kick off the NIT Season Tip Off with a tune-up against UNC Asheville. The Bulldogs are replacing their two leading scorers from last season and will be heavily overmatched against the Blue Devils.Duke 89
UNCA 67
East Carolina or
Norfolk State
11/19/13Cameron Indoor StadiumAfter defeating UNC Asheville to open the tournament, I predict Duke will face Norfolk State as the opponent in the next round. The Spartans will hang tough for the first ten minutes, especially if their experienced guards play well, before the Blue Devils pull away.Duke 76
Norfolk St. 62
Vermont11/24/13Cameron Indoor StadiumVermont will provide a good test for the Blue Devils as the type of team Duke would see in an early-round NCAA tournament game. The Catamounts will bring experience and discipline to Cameron Indoor Stadium but Duke will simply have too much talent and athleticism.Duke 83
Vermont 67
Semifinals
NIT Season Tipoff
11/27/13Madison Square GardenI’'m not even sure if the bracket is set up for this to be possible but I'’ll predict Duke takes on Alabama. Anthony Grant’'s squad features an ugly, physical style of play that will test the Blue Devils but I expect Duke to be able to grind out the victory with some clutch play in the game'’s final minutes.Duke 66
Alabama 60
Championship
NIT Season Tipoff
11/29/13Madison Square GardenIt’'s time for the Blue Devils to get revenge after that blowout loss to the Wildcats in the 2011 NCAA Tournament. This should be an exciting game between explosive teams that features a Final Four type atmosphere. I’'ll give Duke the win because of the advantage of having Coach K in this familiar spot.Duke 84
Arizona 80
Michigan12/3/13Cameron Indoor StadiumCameron Indoor Stadium will be electric when the Wolverines come to town for the ACC/B1G Challenge. Duke will have its hands full with Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III, but Michigan will have to figure out how to stop Duke’'s powerful perimeter attack. The Cameron Crazies serve as the difference here and the Blue Devils get another huge win at home.Duke 87
Michigan 79
Gardner-Webb12/16/13Cameron Indoor StadiumDuke will show a little rust after having two weeks off for final exams but Gardner-Webb won'’t be able to keep up for more than a few minutes in the first half. Todd Zafirovski should have this game circled on the calendar as potential for some playing time.Duke 85
GWU 50
UCLA12/19/13Madison Square GardenUCLA has the talent to be a very dangerous team, but it'’ll be interesting to see if there's a transition that has to take place under new coach Steve Alford. Duke typically plays very well in Madison Square Garden and the Bruins could struggle with the long cross-country trip.Duke 73
UCLA 64
Eastern Michigan12/28/13Cameron Indoor StadiumEarl Boykins isn’'t walking through that door, Eastern Michigan. The Eagles eliminated Duke in the first round of the 1996 NCAA Tournament behind a wonderful performance from Boykins, but the Blue Devils shouldn'’t have any trouble this time around.Duke 80
E. Mich. 61
Elon12/31/13Greensboro ColiseumIn the classic "“prepare for the ACC Tournament by playing in the Greensboro Coliseum"” game, Duke takes on lowly Elon. The Phoenix actually have some talent and experience and will likely surprise many Duke fans with their skill, but Duke will still win comfortably in this last tune-up before ACC play begins.Duke 79
Elon 63
Notre Dame1/4/14Edmund P. Joyce CenterOpening conference play on the road in South Bend will be no easy task for the Blue Devils. The Notre Dame crowd will be electric and the Fighting Irish will be looking to prove they belong in the ACC. Notre Dame also has a history of pulling upsets in situations like this.ND 77
Duke 72
Georgia Tech1/7/14Cameron Indoor StadiumDuke will return to Durham for its ACC home-opener against a Georgia Tech team that is on the rise under Brian Gregory. The Yellow Jackets feature size and a physical style of play that could cause problems for Duke, but this young team still needs to learn how to win on the road.Duke 71
GT 62
Clemson1/11/14Littlejohn ColiseumThe Blue Devils get the unpleasant experience of facing Georgia Tech and Clemson, two of the most physical, rugged teams in the conference, in back-to-back games. Littlejohn Coliseum is never an easy place to get a victory, but it’'s difficult to see how the Tigers will be able to generate enough offense to beat Duke.Duke 66
Clemson 58
Virginia1/13/14Cameron Indoor StadiumOn paper, Virginia has the ingredients to be able to pull the upset at Duke. The Cavaliers will force Duke to play a deliberate, methodical, half-court game and they can pound the ball inside. However, like Georgia Tech, UVA hasn'’t proven it’'s capable of winning big games on the road. If this game were in Charlottesville, it might be a different story.Duke 73
Virginia 69
NC State1/18/14Cameron Indoor StadiumN.C. State enters the season as a team with some exciting potential, but they will be very young and raw. Don'’t be surprised if T.J. Warren has a massive day in the paint for the Wolfpack in a losing effort.Duke 82
NC State 71
Miami1/22/14BankUnited CenterThe Blue Devil players have to have this game circled on the calendar. After what happened in Coral Gables last season, Duke will be looking forward to heading down to Miami and getting some redemption. It also doesn'’t help Miami that nearly every contributor from last season’'s squad is now gone.Duke 90
Miami 68
Florida State1/25/14Cameron Indoor StadiumThe Seminoles suffered a huge blow when incoming freshman Xavier Rathan-Mayes was ruled ineligible by the NCAA. Now, Leonard Hamilton will again be forced to find playmakers and establish someone who can be the go-to-guy on offense. Florida State will try to make this game ugly, but the ‘Noles aren’'t as talented as they’'ve been in the past decade.Duke 73
FSU 60
Pittsburgh1/27/14Petersen Events CenterSimilar to the game against Notre Dame, Duke will face an extremely hostile environment when traveling on the road to Pittsburgh. The Oakland Zoo, Pitt’'s student section, will be rocking. The Panthers will play an inspired game and give the Blue Devils all they can handle before falling short at the end.Duke 80
Pittsburgh 76
OT
Syracuse2/1/14Carrier DomeThis could be the most anticipated regular season game of the year in college basketball. This is the match-up everyone was hoping for when Syracuse joined the ACC. The Orange have a great collection of talent and this will be the first time Duke faces Jim Boeheim'’s suffocating 2-3 zone.Syracuse 74
Duke 66
Wake Forest2/4/14Cameron Indoor StadiumThe home game against Wake Forest is sandwiched in the middle of a very difficult four-game stretch of road games for the Blue Devils. Travis McKie and Devin Thomas will have success for the Demon Deacons but Duke’'s guards will have a decisive advantage in this contest.Duke 83
WFU 69
Boston College2/8/14Conte ForumDuke stole a victory at Boston College last season. Were it not for some incredibly clutch plays by Mason Plumlee and Quinn Cook, the Blue Devils would have left Chestnut Hill with a loss. With another year of experience under their belt, the Eagles won'’t let Duke escape with another win this season.BC 68
Duke 65
UNC2/12/14Dean DomeDuke obliterated the Tar Heels in last season'’s game at North Carolina. The Heels would love to get some revenge in this game, and P.J. Hairston will certainly be on the court for UNC by this point in the season. However, this is a year when Mike Krzyzewski can give Roy Williams a case of his own medicine and wear down North Carolina with depth.Duke 82
UNC 76
Maryland2/15/14Cameron Indoor StadiumThis will be the last opportunity for Duke and the Cameron Crazies to send off the Terrapins in the appropriate fashion. Maryland actually matches up well against Duke and will attack the basket with its frontline, but the crowd will help carry the Blue Devils to victory in what could be the last installment of this series.Duke 71
Maryland 66
Georgia Tech2/18/14Hank McCamish PavilionThis game comes at a point in the season when Georgia Tech will likely be somewhere on the NCAA tournament bubble and looking for a signature win. The same thing happened to Duke last season at Virginia. A desperate Yellow Jacket team at home will be an extremely difficult opponent for the Blue Devils.GT 70
Duke 64
Syracuse2/22/14Cameron Indoor StadiumThe Cameron Crazies will finally get their opportunity to welcome Syracuse to the ACC for a game that will have an environment that rivals when UNC comes to Cameron Indoor Stadium. This could also be an opportunity for Duke to even the season series with the Orange if Syracuse is able to win in the Carrier Dome when the two teams face off.Duke 73
Syracuse 63
Virginia Tech2/25/14Cameron Indoor StadiumAfter being completely dependent on Erick Green last season, Virginia Tech needs other guys to step up in order for the Hokies to be competitive this year. Considering the talent James Johnson has on his roster, things don'’t look very promising. Duke should make quick work of Virginia Tech.Duke 81
Virginia Tech 60
Wake Forest3/5/13Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial ColiseumWake Forest usually plays Duke very tough at home and this could be Jeff Bzdelik’'s last attempt at salvaging something that could help him keep his job. However, at this point in the year, Duke should be comfortable going on the road and taking care of business against an inferior opponent.Duke 74
WFU 67
UNC3/8/13Cameron Indoor StadiumDuke always seems to struggle in the first half when senior day is against North Carolina. The Blue Devils begin the game with so much adrenaline and intensity that it takes them a few minutes to settle down and play their normal game. UNC will likely jump out to an early lead before Duke comes back and finishes off the Heels down the stretch.Duke 84
UNC 80

Overall, I see the Blue Devils starting the season on a 13-game winning streak. They’ll suffer their first loss at the hands of an ACC opponent and will go 14-4 in conference, finishing first in the regular season. Going into the ACC Tournament, Duke will have an overall record of 27-4, and should be ranked as one of the Top 5 teams in the country (if not the #1 team in the country).

What do you think? Where do you see some potential stumbling blocks for the team? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.