Every year I always run into some Duke haters who will throw out this crazy thought that Duke doesn’t play anybody. I smile, laugh, and then give them the stats to show them Duke is almost always near the top (many times the top team) in the RPI and SOS ratings.
With that said, let’s look back at this last season’s schedule. Duke had a crazy tough schedule this season in which (during the season) they beat the 2013 national champions Louisville as well as lost to them in the Elite 8, they beat the 2012 national champions Kentucky, and they swept the 2009 national champions UNC. They also beat Ohio State, Minnesota, Florida Gulf Coast, Davidson, Miami and NC State all of who made the NCAA Tournament. If that’s not a battle tested team then I don’t know what is.
Duke fans have a lot to look forward to this upcoming season as some of the games are already set and it looks as if Duke will be battle tested again this season. So here are my top 5 games (in no particular order) for next season.
Duke vs. Kansas (11/12/13) – This game puts 2 of the top 5 winningest programs against each other. Throw in the #1 recruit Andrew Wiggins (Kansas) against the #2 recruit Jabari Parker (Duke) and you are going to have an epic matchup in the Champions Classic in Chicago.
Michigan at Duke (12/3/13) – This will easily be the top game of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. The Wolverines will travel to Cameron Indoor Stadium for this game. Mitch McGary, who was heavily recruited by Duke, will get to play in front of the Cameron Crazies. I know the Crazies will be on their A game for this matchup.
Duke vs. Syracuse (?/?/?) – The official dates of the ACC schedule haven’t been released yet, however, it is known that Duke and Syracuse will play each other twice. This will be Syracuse’s 1st year in the ACC. The ACC has added some powerful teams to the conference. Coach K recently stated that the new ACC would be “the greatest conference in the history of basketball.” This match up will have the 2 winningest coaches in the history of the game facing off. I think Duke vs. Syracuse will quickly become a rivalry in college basketball.
Duke at Notre Dame (?/?/?) – This will also be Notre Dame’s first year in the ACC. Duke will be scheduled to play at Notre Dame this coming season. This matchup will put current Notre Dame coach and former Duke assistant Mike Brey up against Coach K and Duke. It will be interesting to watch the sidelines in this game.
Duke vs. North Carolina (?/?/?) – We all knew this matchup would make the list. It is the biggest rivalry in all of sports between two schools separated by only 8 miles on Tobacco Road. This game always brings out the best in both teams as bragging rights lay on the line. They will play in Chapel Hill in February and finish at Cameron Indoor in March to conclude another series of this epic rivalry.
And that is my top 5 Duke games for the upcoming 2013/2014 season. However, as we have seen in years past, Duke will end up playing many other NCAA Tourney teams during the season. Let’s also not forget about the possible match up of Duke vs. Arizona (a possible top 5 team) in the NIT Season Tip-Off at Madison Square Garden.
Duke fans will have a lot of interesting games to watch next season, and as always, the schedule will have Duke battle tested going into the NCAA Tournament.