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Next Up - Furman

It looks like a mismatch, but we remember Vermont, and we're sure that's not forgotten around Cameron either.

Nov 22, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Duke Blue Devils guard Quinn Cook (2) passes the ball as he loses his footing in front of Stanford Cardinal forward Michael Humphery (10) during the first half at Barclays Center.
Nov 22, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Duke Blue Devils guard Quinn Cook (2) passes the ball as he loses his footing in front of Stanford Cardinal forward Michael Humphery (10) during the first half at Barclays Center.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Like a lot of Duke fans, we expect, we don't know a lot about Furman.

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We didn't know that it is in Traveler's Rest, South Carolina - it's usually just lumped in with Greenville - but we did know that like Duke, it's partially funded by the Duke Endowment (Duke gets 32%, hospitals get another 32%, Furman and Davidson get 5% while Johnson C. Smith gets 4%. The rest generally speaking goes to Methodist churches, ministers and various non-profits).

Furman is a respected school with fine academics.

Despite being not too far away geographically, Furman is in a different world competively.

As realignment continues to pull conferences apart and disrupt old rivalries, the Southern Conference is no exception.

Of course, it's nothing new: there are Southern Conference banners hanging in Cameron. Duke and the founding members of the ACC left in the late 1950s and never looked back. Davidson left after last season and will compete in the A-10 now.

Furman's staying. The Southern Conference is still alive, but the schools have certainly changed: now Furman faces Wofford, ETSU, VMI, Mercer, Samford, the Citadel, Western Carolina, UT-Chattanooga and UNC-Greensboro.

In 2012-13, the Paladins clocked in with just seven wins.

That was enough to force a change, and Furman dumped Jeff Jackson, who had been there for seven years and had just one winning record in that time.

Medved had actually been acting head coach before Jackson was hired and then he lit out for Colorado State where he established himself as an outstanding recruiter for Larry Eustachy, who has done a nice job of rebuilding his career since his notorious flameout at Iowa State.

Obviously Medved made an impression at Furman, and they might be able to keep him around for awhile if he's happy at Furman. Certainly he seems to be happy to be back.

Last year Medved debuted at 9-21. So far this year, Furman is 1-2 with losses to Charleston and UC Davis and a win over Appalachian State.

Medved has a nine-man rotation and his best player is probably Stephen Croone, a 6-0 junior who averages 13.5 ppg, 3 rpg and 4 apg.

As we've seen so often at this level, the Paladins don't have the sort of size Duke does. Kendrec Ferrera is a 6-9 junior who averages 7.3 ppg and 3 rpg.

Kris Acox, like The Mountain That Rides from Game Of Thrones, is a basketball player from Iceland (presumably he won't follow in Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson's footsteps and become a strongman).

Acox is 6-6 and 215 and averages 9.3 ppg and 8 rpg.

This game is almost certainly going to be a mismatch unless Duke's intensity slips and allows Furman to hang around.

Can't happen? Have you forgotten Vermont already?

Last year, unheralded Vermont came into Cameron and scared the holy crap out of Duke and Duke's fans before losing 91-90.

To refresh your memory, Duke blew a 15 point lead and allowed Vermont to shoot nearly 65% before Rodney Hood hit a free throw with five seconds left.

Vermont showed up 1-4 with just nine players healthy and losses to Bryant and Wagner.

So don't think it can never happen.

Coach K talked Tuesday of his team's mental toughness. As he pointed out, the season just started on the 14th and Duke will have played six games by the 26th.

And the Devils have definitely been tough-minded, particularly in the New York games when Temple and Stanford pushed back.

With four days of rest, Duke should be ready for Furman and then Army on Sunday. Then after that things get real in a hurry with games against #2 Wisconsin and the defending national champs UConn coming up.

We've learned a lot about the Blue Devils already but what we haven't learned yet is how this team responds to a loss.  Barring an amazing season, that time is drawing closer.