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Barry Jacobs On Rugged Scheduling By Duke Basketball Teams

They're at it again.

Perhaps no basketball programs at the same school undertake comparably bracing nonconference schedules as the men's and women's squads at Duke. That's not just this season, but as a regular practice.

Criticism is sometimes leveled at Mike Krzyzewski's scheduling choices, as he's apt to assiduously avoid visiting opponents' home courts outside the ACC unless by edict in the ACC/Big 10 Challenge.

Still, the Duke men don't shy from formidable competition outside the league; witness this year's early roster of Kentucky, Minnesota, VCU, Louisville, Ohio State, and Temple. All but OSU were met on essentially neutral courts. Three of those teams were ranked in the top 5 at the time they played the Blue Devils. Minnesota later rose to No. 13, its sole loss to Duke.

Since arriving for the 2008 season women's coach Joanne P. McCallie has been similarly venturesome in scheduling. (As was Gail Goestenkors before her.)

This year's roster of non-league women's opponents isn't up to customary standards, although the Devils already played top-10 California and will visit No.2 UConn, a persistent ACC nemesis, on Jan. 21. McCallie's squad won't face another ranked team until facing the Huskies seven games from now.

Tough schedule or not, both Duke teams are off to undefeated starts, no small achievement. They're the only ACC squads without a loss at the 2012 calendar year comes to an end.

This is neither a unique development, nor one to be overlooked. The Duke men have won at least 10 games to open a season eight times since 2001. The women had done it five times in those 13 years. This is the fourth time since 2003 they both did it in the same season.


Most Consecutive Wins To Open Season By Duke Teams,
All Years When One Or Both Started With 10+ Wins
(Since 2001, Through Games Of December 28, 2012)

Year Men Women  Combined Before
Both Lost Once
2013 11 10 21*
2011 15 20 35
2008 10 5 15
2007 4 30 34
2006 17 20 37
2005 15 2 17
2003 12 20 32
2002 12 2 14
2001 10 9 19
* Ongoing.