Colgate is one of those schools that it's sort of hard to know a lot about.Â We do know they're 0-2 so far, with narrow losses to Binghamton (still devastated by the previous coaching regime's misdeeds) and to St. Francis. They lost both games by a total of five points.
People often make jokes about toothpaste and as it turns out, it in large part owes its existence to the family of toothpaste fame.Â Like Duke, therefore, it is a product of a 19th (and early 20th) century financial empire.
For our purposes, that's where the similarities end.Â Duke plays in the mighty ACC, which has won five of the last 10 national titles.Â Colgate is a member of the Patriot League.Â The only team out of the Patriot League that's done much in basketball lately is Bucknell, which beat Kansas a few years ago.Â And of course, in 1986 David Robinson (and Doug Wojcik) stood in the way of Duke's march to the Final Four.Â Otherwise?
Jeff Jones has done reasonably well at American and Holy Cross has a history, but that's pretty far back.
We're not demeaning Colgate; we're just pointing out that there's a big gap between these teams.
Not that it always matters.Â N.C. Central went out to Oklahoma the other day and took Jeff Capel's Big 12 team to overtime.Â You can't just make assumptions.
But you can look at track records. While they have been in the games against Binghamton and St. Francis, neither one is a powerhouse.
Colgate is led by Yaw Gyawu, who is averaging 19 per game, and Mike Venezia, who puts up 11.5.Â A somewhat familiar face:Â Dave Leitao refugee John Brandenburg (6-11) landed there and is averaging 6.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg, and 2.0 blocks.
In basketball, it's always possible for a team to band together and surprise a better group which isn't expecting a tough battle.Â The problem with playing Duke is that that doesn't happen very often.Â The last time we can remember it happening was with NC A&T several seasons ago, and Coach K just about blew a gasket.Â As we remember, Lee Melchionni was a key player in that game.Â Might've been his freshman year.
Anyway, it's very rare for Duke to give someone a chance.Â The staff always preaches respect for your opponent, and for Duke that means jumping on them with both feet.
As long as that happens, the outcome is not in doubt.
For Duke fans, it'll be interesting to see how things develop.Â The backcourt has been particularly potent, though we have not yet seen Kyrie Irving at his best.
Duke's bench is averaging 33 ppg and the sophomore class is putting up 39.5 ppg and 16 boards.
Communication has improved rapidly and the defense is not really an issue.Â It's very solid.Â The offense?Â It's getting better.Â We'll be curious to see how much they concentrate on the inside game.Â You can always tell when something is a focus in practice, because the team will hammer that for five, six, seven possessions. So if you see that, you'll know what they're concerned about.
Duke and Colgate have played twice, a long time ago, splitting the two games.Â The bigger competition came for high school star Adonal Foyle, whose guardians were on the Colgate faculty.
After Colgate, of course, things will get a lot more difficult very quickly.
Marquette, either Gonzaga or Kansas State in Kansas City (Gonzaga's Elias Harris suffered an injury on Tuesday against San Diego State, but avoided a ruptured Achilles.Â He'll have to rest but he may be able to go by the 23rd), Oregon at Oregon for a battle of the Singlers, Michigan State in Cameron before jetting up to the Meadowlands for a rematch with Butler.
Things are about to get very interesting.
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