clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Next Up - Elon

Didn’t see that one coming

Appalachian State v Duke
DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA - DECEMBER 16: The Duke Blue Devils bench reacts after a three-point shot by Wendell Moore Jr. #0 during the second half of their game against the Appalachian State Mountaineers at Cameron Indoor Stadium on December 16, 2021 in Durham, North Carolina.
Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images
  • Date: 12/17
  • Time: 4:00
  • Venue: Cameron Indoor Stadium
  • Video: ACCN/ACCNX

When it became clear that Cleveland State had been ransacked by Covid and that the Vikings wouldn’t be in Cameron Saturday, a lot of teams wanted to pick that slot up. San Jose State (we think) posted an appeal on line. People were pushing Iona in the Garden. Maryland fans got on their eternal hobby horse, thinking maybe now Duke might schedule them.

Spoiler alert: Duke is highly unlikely to ever schedule Maryland again and even if it happened, it’s not like Danny Manning had huge success against Duke when he was at Wake Forest.

Ultimately Duke worked out a quickie (well, got a better term?) with Loyola of Maryland - about as close as the Terps will ever get to Cameron again - but Covid ended that.

So now it’s Elon on the way to Basketball Paradise Saturday afternoon. And even though they’re just down I-85 we don’t know much about them.

We do know that good guy Mike Shrage coaches there now. And Schrage has worked with some great coaches.

He was a student manager at Indiana when Bob Knight was still there and lived to tell the tale. He worked for Coach K for several years before departing for Stanford with Johnny Dawkins. He’s also worked for Chris Holtmann who is one of the better coaches in the game now.

It’s a tremendous background.

Elon is a tough job though and the pandemic didn’t help.

Schrage is 25-38 so far and we can’t really talk much about this team.

Elon is 3-8 but they’ve played a tough schedule and given Florida, West Virginia and UNC competitive games.

They also have the advantage of understanding Duke’s system better than Duke understands Elon’s.

If we had to guess, we’d suppose Coach K will pitch this game as being tourney prep, because you don’t know who you’re going to get and can’t really scout. So it should become a positive.

And we’re also sure another program staple will be addressed: respecting your opponent.

We have no idea what to expect Saturday, but as long as Duke maintains the tradition of respecting the opponent and playing hard, things will be fine.