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Next Up: Army For Duke’s Home Opener

A likely win for a more talented Duke but Army always comes prepared to play hard.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: NOV 09 Champions Classic - Duke v Kentucky
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 09: Duke Blue Devils forward Joey Baker (13) during the Champions Classic college basketball game between the Duke Blue Devils and the Kentucky Wildcats on November 9, 2021 at Madison Square Garden in New York City,NY.
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
  • Date: 11/12
  • Time: 7:00
  • Venue: Cameron Indoor Stadium
  • Video: ACCN

Next up for Duke is Army as part of the Duke Veterans Day Weekend Showcase. Duke will play the Black Knights on Friday and Campbell on Saturday.

For Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, Army is a big deal. It is his alma mater - he is arguably the most famous living person to come out of West Point and certainly the most celebrated grad who didn’t make the Army his life. And he coached there before decamping for Duke.

Duke is going to be heavily favored but we’re sure that Virginia’s loss to Navy will come up in pre-game and there’s no question it will for Army.

The best Cadet is Josh Caldwell, a 6-2 senior and last year’s Patriot Defensive Player of the Year. He also averaged 12.6 ppg. Jalen Rucker, a 5-10 sophomore, averaged 9.6 ppg.

Unfortunately it’s hard to know a whole lot. Last year Army was 12-9 but that was Covid season. So the scouting is going to be erratic at best. Their only game so far is an 83-52 win over D-III SUNY-New Paltz.

We can talk about Duke though.

The Blue Devils are coming off a big win over Kentucky, always an emotional high and a flat game is certainly a possibility.

But it would probably take more than that for Army to win. Duke is talented at every position and has great size. Anyone on Duke’s roster would be a starter and probably the best player at West Point.

Run down the list - Paolo Banchero, Trevor Keels, AJ Griffin, Wendell Moore, Joey Baker, Mark Williams, Jeremy Roach, Theo John - any of them would be the focus at West Point. Bates Jones would be too.

As an institution, Duke is oriented towards academics and basketball is a major passion.

And West Point? The mission there is much more serious. Some of the guys who went to school with Coach K have died in combat. Some of the guys who play Friday may eventually die in combat. The way everything is approached is with intensity and the utmost seriousness. It’s a completely different reality as Krzyzewski has attested to from time to time. Duke will win the battle; these guys may win a war.

As Orwell allegedly said (this has been called into dispute but someone said it) “[w]e sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.”

So we hope we beat Army but losing to them would be okay too.