Next Up - Davidson

De'Mon Brooks defends against Marquette's Jamil Wilson in the 2013 NCAA Tournament - USA TODAY Sports

Duke's main rivalries are ACC teams, but Davidson and Duke have played 106 times

Next up for Duke is Davidson, the sole remaining Southern Conference team Duke plays on a regular basis.

The Southern Conference of course gave birth to the SEC and later the ACC, and while Duke left in 1953, Davidson stuck around to this year: next season the Wildcats will move to the Atlantic 10.

In the 1960's, Davidson was Top Ten material with a young Lefty Driesell going toe to toe with Tobacco Road.

After a period of some weakness, the Wildcats hired Bob McKillop in 1989. It's proven to be a brilliant hire.

McKillop was a high school coach with just one season at Davidson as a college assistant before moving back to New York high school ball.

He has made Davidson a terrific program, one capable of competing with the likes of Duke, UNC, Kansas and UCLA, with or without his greatest player, Stephen Curry. You may remember Davidson nearly knocked off Marquette last year in the NCAA Tournament.

For those of you who have been reading here a long time, we predicted, we think around 1999, that a sea change had happened in college basketball. Teams with continuity and solid rosters would be able to compete with teams which had one-and-done players. Nowhere except Butler and VCU and perhaps Gonzaga has that proven more true than at Davidson.  The Wildcats are a load every year.

True, Davidson hasn't taken Duke since Coach K's first year, but only Gerald Henderson's late heroics kept them from a massive upset during Curry's last season, and the games are always competitive.

And this year? Well...the same dynamic is in place. Duke has a young team with massive talent which is learning to play as a unit. And Davidson? The Wildcats boast nine upperclassmen, four sophomores and two freshmen.

In other words, that coherent unit we just spoke of where Duke could conceivably be vulnerable.

McKillop speaks (correctly) of basketball as a game of deception, and with so many new players learning new roles, Duke is a team ripe to be deceived. Take for instance Jabari Parker.

Parker is a highly gifted player, but he's in a new system with new expectations. During the Drury game, we saw some elementary Duke mistakes: not communicating on defense, not setting a firm pick, not calling out a screen.

Basic stuff, and things he'll figure out fairly quickly. But they present an opportunity for Davidson and a guy like De'Mon Brooks (6-7 senior).

Someday before too long, Parker will be in the NBA and on Sports Center fairly often, and Brooks will be in a Brooks Brothers suit. And when he watches that, he'll know that Parker was and is the better player.

But he may also know that on that one night, he was the smarter, more experienced player, that he knew more than his talented rookie opponent. And that may give him, and Davidson, a chance.

Aside from Brooks, Davidson is likely to start Brian Sullivan (5-11 soph), Tyler Kalinoski (6-4 junior), Tom Droney (6-6 senior), and Chris Czerapowicz (6-7 senior).

So look at Duke, just slightly bigger with Parker (6-8), Rodney Hood (6-8), Amile Jefferson (6-8), Quinn Cook (6-2) and Rasheed Sulaimon (6-4).

Against Drury, Duke had some trouble getting the ball inside and struggled with the zone. Don't think Davidson didn't notice.

Look for the Wildcats to try to slow the game down a bit, to make Duke stop and take long shots. But most of all, look for a smart, disciplined team that is highly competitive and capable of pushing Duke to the absolute limit.

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