THE OPENING TIP
- The top-ranked Duke Blue Devils are back at Cameron Indoor Stadium for a two-game holiday home swing, beginning first with Stephen F. Austin Tuesday night.
- The game is live on the Regional Sports Networks, including Fox Sports South, and can be heard live on the Blue Devil Sports Network from Learfield IMG College.
- The Blue Devils are 6-0 or better to open a season for the second time in three years and the 14th time since 2000-01.
- Thanks to 51 points and 22 rebounds in two games from MVP Vernon Carey Jr., Duke claimed the 2K Empire Classic last week at Madison Square Garden with wins over Cal and Georgetown — the program’s 20th in-season tournament title under head coach Mike Krzyzewski.
- Carey (fifth in the ACC in scoring, fourth in rebounding), who has a streak of four consecutive double-doubles, was named both the ACC Freshman and Co-Player if the Week.
- Duke enters the week ranked No. 2 in KenPom’s adjusted defensive metric (Virginia is No. 1), while ranking No. 23 in quickest tempo — the Blue Devils are the only team ranked top 40 in defense that is also ranked 25th or faster in tempo.
- The Blue Devils remain No. 1 in this week’s AP Poll for a second consecutive week, extending the NCAA record for most weeks ranked No. 1 all-time to 144.
- Duke is averaging 43.8 points in the second half this season — best in the ACC and 12th among major conference teams.
- No team has been better on the offensive glass through three weeks than Duke, averaging an NCAA-best 17.2 offensive rebounds. The Blue Devils are rebounding nearly half their missed shots (.417) — the third-best percentage in the NCAA per KenPom.
DUKE VS. STEPHEN F. AUSTIN
Duke and Stephen F. Austin have never met in men’s basketball.
The Blue Devils are 3-0 all-time versus teams from the Southland Conference, last playing a Southland team in the 2000 NCAA First Round — an 82-55 win over Lamar in Winston-Salem, N.C.
ABOUT THE LUMBERJACKS
Stephen F. Austin is 4-1 on the season, and has not played since a November 20 setback at Rutgers, 69-57.
The Lumberjacks opened the season with home wins over LeTourneau, North Carolina Central, Niagara and Drexel.
Senior guard Kevon Harris leads the club with a 19.4 scoring average on .484 shooting, while junior forward Gavin Kensmil is averaging 12.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and shooting .632 from the field.
Head coach Kyle Keller is in his fourth year, leading the Lumberjacks to a 64-39 record in his time in Nacogdoches.
TOURNAMENT SUCCESS UNDER COACH K
Duke has a high level of success in tournaments under Coach K, winning 20 in-season, 15 ACC and five NCAA Tournaments for a total of 40 championships in his tenure.
The Blue Devils are fresh off winning the 2K Empire Classic, the program’s 20th in-season crown, and last season won the ACC Tournament for the 15th time.
ON THE DATE
Duke is 12-1 all-time when playing on November 26, and has won 12 consecutive on the date.
Seven of those games have come at Cameron Indoor (7-0), with an average winning margin of 33 points.
CAREY CARRIES DUKE AT MSG
Named both the ACC Freshman of the Week and Co-Player of the Week, Vernon Carey Jr. poured in 51 points and pulled down 22 rebounds in two games at Madison Square Garden to lift Duke to the 2K Empire Classic title.
Carey had 31 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks in just 22 minutes versus Cal, marking the fewest minutes played by a Blue Devil all-time when scoring 30 points. It surpassed the 24 minutes by Shane Battier in scoring 31 points against Davidson (12/21/99).
Carey’s effort was just the sixth game in Duke history for a player going for 30+ points, 10+ rebounds and 4+ blocks, joining Willie Hodge in 1975, Mike Gminski in 1978 and 1980, Marvin Bagley III in 2018 and Zion Williamson last season — with Bagley, Williamson and Carey the only freshmen.
In the title game win over Georgetown, Carey had 20 points and 10 boards.
His ACC weekly awards were the first claimed by a Blue Devil this season.
DUKE RANKED NO. 1, EXTENDS RECORD
In the program’s history, this marks the 144th week that Duke has been ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press Poll — the most weeks ranked No. 1 all-time.
Duke climbed to the top spot last week after opening at No. 4 in the preseason poll and reaching No. 2 following the Kansas win.
The Blue Devils ended last season ranked No. 1 for the eighth time in program history — all coming under Mike Krzyzewski, which is a record for a head coach.
Duke has been ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll now 89 times since the start of the 1997-98 season, far and away the most in the nation (North Carolina is second, 39).
Duke’s 281 games (242-39) at No. 1 are the most all-time.
Under Coach K, Duke has played 252 of those games — also the most in NCAA history for one coach. The Blue Devils are 218-34 under Coach K at No. 1.
Under Coach K, Duke has played more games as a No. 1 team (252) than as an unranked team (144).
In 2018-19, Coach K surpassed John Wooden for the most weeks ranked No. 1 by a head coach, and his last win allowed Coach K to surpass Wooden for most wins at No. 1.
Duke went wire-to-wire in the AP top 5 last season for the ninth time in school history — all coming under Coach K — and Duke’s streak of 24 straight polls in the top five is the nation’s longest active streak.
The Blue Devils have also been ranked in the top 10 at least once in 24 consecutive seasons — the longest active streak nationally.
LEADING NCAA IN OFFENSIVE REBOUNDS
No team has been better on the offensive glass through three weeks than Duke, averaging an NCAA-best 17.2 offensive rebounds.
Over the last three games, the Blue Devils have averaged 24.0 offensive rebounds per game — including 30 versus Georgia State and 23 against Georgetown.
The Blue Devils are rebounding nearly half their missed shots (.417) — the third-best percentage in the NCAA per KenPom.
The 30 offensive rebounds in the Georgia State win were the most in any game under Coach K and the most by any Duke team since the 1960s.
The previous high for offensive boards under Coach K was 29 versus Appalachian State on Dec. 29, 1986.
Freshman Vernon Carey Jr.’s 3.3 offensive rebounds per game are tied for third in the ACC and 66th nationally.
BEST UP-TEMPO DEFENSIVE TEAM
Among teams that play the most up-tempo style, Duke is by far the best defensive team.
The Blue Devils rank No. 2 in KenPom for adjusted defense, while also ranking 23rd in tempo (possessions per 40 minutes). No other team in KenPom’s top 40 for adjusted defense, is ranked higher than 40th (Texas Tech) in tempo.
Virginia, which is No. 1 in adjusted defense is ranked 353rd in tempo, while Ohio State is No. 3 defense and No. 303 in tempo, and Kentucky is No. 4 in defense and 96th in tempo.