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Next Up - Hampton

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Understandably, the media and everybody else is expecting the game against Hampton will be a complete walk over.  Obviously, Duke will be favored and should be.  But there may be a complication along the way.

As you know, Hampton marks the return of Kyrie Irving.  That's great and we are as excited as anyone else.  However, so much attention has been paid to this that it threatens to become a complete media circus, and that can be very distracting.

Meanwhile, somewhat under the radar, Hampton can totally focus on basketball.

We haven't been able to get a whole lot of information on the Pirates, but unlike a lot of teams from smaller conferences, they do have some size:  Orin O'Bryant and Milade Lola-Charles are both 6-10 and they have four or five other guys with the size to compete up front.

They also have a potential scout who may surprise you:  Jerai Grant.

His dad, Harvey Grant, is an assistant for Hampton and presumably would call his son to get some information on the Devils.

Head coach Ed Joyner grew up a Duke fan and tells his kids to "play like Duke."

Hampton's best scorers are Darrion Pellum (17.7), Kwame Morgan (16.5), and Charles Funches (10.7).

Funches is the best rebounder at 7.8 per game, while Hampton averages 36 per game total.  Hampton collectively shoots 32.5% from three-point range, 40.7% overall and 65% from the foul line, which could hurt in a close game.

As you might expect from a fan of Coach K, Joyner has a defensive focus and his team is very solid on that end.  He himself calls his offense "ugly" but defense makes up for most offensive sins.

Back to the media circus: all things considered, it's best to get this out of the way against a 16 seed in the opening round rather than later.

Irving's return, even if he only provides depth, is a great thing for Duke.  After watching him through December, he is clearly a rare talent and we're thrilled to have the chance to see him play again.

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