Teams: Syracuse Orange (13-6, 7-5) vs. Duke Blue Devils (10-8, 8-6)
Day & Time: Monday, February 22, 7 p.m. ET
Location: Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, N.C.
Line: Duke -5.5
TV/Streaming: ESPN, WatchESPN
Radio: Cuse.com, TK 99/105, WAER 88.3
Duke Blog: Duke Basketball Report
Rivalry: 10-6, Duke
Current Streak: 3, Duke
First Meeting: The two historically good programs met for the first time in the 1966 NCAA tournament during the Elite Eight. The No. 2 ranked Blue Devils advanced with a 91-81 victory over the Orange. George Hicker led the Orange with 17 points, with Jim Boeheim not far behind with 15 points himself.
Last Meeting: Runs at the end of the first half and beginning of the second half allowed Duke to build a double-digit lead that it wouldn’t relinquish. A career-high 22 points from Marek Dolezaj wasn’t enough as Vernon Carey exploded for 26 points and 17 rebounds.
Head Coaches: Syracuse - Jim Boeheim (45th year, 1,078-405) | Duke - Mike Krzyzewski (41st year, 1,094-299)
Coach Bio: Krzyzewski played his collegiate basketball at Army West Point under Bob Knight. After five years in the Army, Krzyzewski joined Knight at Indiana as an assistant for one season before taking the Army head coaching job. He then took the Duke head coaching job after five seasons at Army.
After Krzyzewski’s first three seasons, Duke has won at least 20 games and made the NCAA tournament every season except for one season. That was the 1994-95 campaign when Krzyzewski missed almost the entirety of ACC to recover from surgery to fix a ruptured disk in his back. Krzyzweski is currently the winningest coach in collegiate basketball history with 1,167 career wins. Duke has won five NCAA tournaments under Krzyzewski and he’s earned three Naismith College Coach of the Year awards.
Krzyzewski was also the head coach of the USA national basketball team from 2005 to 2016. He led the United States to three straight Olympic gold medals from 2008 to 2016 and two straight FIBA World Championship gold medals from 2010 to 2014.
Last Year: Duke uncharacteristically lost quite a few games to unranked teams. Five of Duke’s six losses on the season were to unranked opponents. The Blue Devils picked up three ranked wins and won 15 games to earn the four seed in the NCAA tournament. Duke wouldn’t play a game in the ACC tournament before the event’s cancellation.
Last Game: Duke battled hard against No. 7 Virginia and barely survived at the end of the game to secure a 66-65 upset victory. The Blue Devils shot over 50% in the victory over the Cavaliers.
“Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: Matthew Hurt is doing everything and more for Duke. He leads the Blue Devils in points per game with 18.5 and rebounds per game with 6.4. Hurt is also Duke’s best field goal shooter among regular starters with a 56.1 percentage and Duke’s best three-point shooter overall with a 46.9% clip from range.
If Syracuse Wins: Syracuse gets the quadrant one win that it desperately needs to boost its NCAA tournament resume.
If Syracuse Loses: Not all hope is lost as Syracuse does have two more chances at a Q1 win. But the Orange can’t afford another loss.
Fun Fact: Duke is 5-0 in games that Jalen Johnson doesn’t play in this year. Considering that the potential lottery pick has opted out of the season, the Blue Devils are seemingly hitting their stride without him.