Coming Saturday is the renewal of one of the best non-conference rivalries
around, Duke and Michigan. This has survived three coaches - Frieder,
Fisher, and Ellerbee - and seen a number of unlikely events. We're sure
that this game will be full of surprises - particularly since Michigan's leading
4 scorers are freshmen, and Duke relies on several freshmen also. Should
be full of interesting stuff.
What to expect? Well, in a nutshell, some craziness. The Duke-Michigan
rivalry has been nuts, and ever since the Fab 5 showed up and started yapping
about how Duke "stole" their title, things have been at a high
pitch.Â Then add in the fact that Duke had no answer for Robert Traylor
(who can forget seeing him drive to the basket three years ago and watching the
lane just open like the Red Sea?), and then Duke's absolute destruction of
Michigan last season - and there's no other word for it - there's plenty of
reason to anticipate great intensity.
For Duke, it's probably good that UM is starting 4 freshmen - or that they
are at least the leading 4 scorers - because they didn't suffer through last
year's game and won't have as big a desire for payback.Â And then there's the usual freshmen dilemmas - can they defend, can
they handle pressure, etc - but Duke is in a similar situation, since they are
relying heavily on four freshmen also.Â And this is their first major game
on a hostile court (the rest were neutral), so who knows how the kids will
react.Â But in another ying-yang balance type thing, Shane Battier played
miserably two years ago when Duke visited the Wolverines his freshman year, and
now he's a leader of his team.Â He'll want some redemption at home in
It's a gut feeling, based on nothing, but we won't be surprised if Dunleavy
has a big game.Â First of all, he's shown himself to be cool under
pressure. Secondly, the team he's playing against is not advanced, at least not
in the sense of being sophisticated.Â They aren't and can't be.Â As an
individual hoops player, Dunleavy is quite sophisticated and the game may
present him with opportunities he wouldn't necessarily see against, say,
Michigan State, a very mature and sophisticated group.
Aside from defense and a reasonable amount of offensive success, the key to
this game, to us, is that Duke take care of the ball and play sharp
defense.Â Â If they throw it away too much, then the Wolverines will
take advantage, but more importantly, the crowd will be all over them.
Williams will have to sheperd the ball wisely, and Duke players will have to
be ready for his passes.Â If they let Michigan run and gun and get easy
baskets, it could be a long afternoon.
Also making it possibly a long afternoon - Duke has had some serious sickness this week. C-well was the worst. He is out of the infirmary but not practicing yet.
We'll link more as we find it, and keep you up to date on everything that's