Next up for Duke is UNCG in the Greensboro Coliseum, coached, again, by
former Duke assistant Mike Dement. Dement is back at Greensboro after a
stint at SMU.
UNCG, at 7-5, will start 5-9 Dwayne Johnson, 6-3 Ricky Hickman, 6-4 Kevin
Oleksiak, 6-6 Kyle Hines, and 6 -11 Bart Tooms from the Netherlands.
Oleksiak, Hickman, and Hine are the heart of the Spartan offense,
averaging 14.4, 18.9, and 16.3 ppg respectively. Hines is also averaging
9.5 boards per game, which means he's a solid player.
Tooms, the big man, is averaging 5.3 ppg and 3.7 boards.
We haven't seen UNCG play, and honestly don't know a whole lot about them,
but you can look at the stats and tell they are not necessarily an
Mike Dement has been gone from Durham for a long time now - he left after
Johnny Dawkins' freshman year - and has a lot of experience built up. He's
not going to come in as a would-be clone of Mike Krzyzewski anyway, but we
really are not sure what to expect. His teams in his previous stop at UNCG were
generally smart and hardnosed and disciplined, but we're not sure what to expect
offensively, and, unless Duke just completely fails, like Clemson apparently did
against Elon (something which we're sure will be noted in the pregame talk), it
honestly shouldn't matter.
The only sign that UNCG has a chance in this game is the win over
Gardner-Webb, a team which pushed UNC to the wall and upset Minnesota on the
road. That's pretty damned impressive, and beating them is worth noting.
However, they have also lost, and lost badly, to Wisconsin Green Bay, Vanderbilt,
South Carolina, Delaware, and William & Mary. The loss to
William & Mary was by 10 points, but losing to W&M is not much better
than losing to Elon (Clemson, pay attention!).
For Duke, the key thing is not going to be to win. Barring something
freakish, they'll win.
The key is going to be playing with intensity and executing as if they were
playing UNC instead of UNCG. If Duke plays hard and executes well, they'll
be ready for Bucknell. Sounds funny, but Bucknell, if you haven't been
paying attention, is doing extremely well. They knocked off Kansas in the
NCAAs last year in what will become a legendary upset.
They followed that up with an upset of Syracuse this year, and beat DePaul
and St. Joseph's.
The trick is to not just beat UNCG, but to do it to Duke's standards, and
well enough to have continuity to carry into the Bucknell game.
After that, it's into the ACC wars with a vengeance. UNCG seems like a
breather, but really, it's more like a chance to cram.