Ed: Before I begin, I want to apologize on behalf of my basketball co-authors about our lack of coverage this season. We will be establishing a mailbag and a weekly roundup in the future. We'll do better. Now to the good stuff... -Chas
Thanks for waking a giant, Notre Dame. Not only did Notre Dame challenge Duke's ACC season very early, but also ended their streak of 122 consecutive weeks in the Top 10. Currently ranked 16th with a 10-2 (0-1) record, Duke has been tested early this season. The Blue Devils have early losses to high ranked (18) Kansas and (1) Arizona and wins against both Michigan and UCLA which have received Top 25 votes this week.
For the Jackets, many would say that the team has had an upsetting start. And while injuries have plagued our leading rebounder and key scorer in Robert Carter Jr. and rising backup PG star, Travis Jorgenson, I do not think we have really been surprised much in any of our outcomes. The Jackets are currently 9-5 (0-1) and all of our losses were projected except for St. John's. The Jackets have also had a few late come backs, including a surprising Illinois win and most recently against Charlotte.
Fans have held the Jackets to higher standards than I believe is quite fair. This is a 3rd year, redeveloping team with young and inexperienced leaders. To top it all off, the Jackets are now behind the 8-ball with these injuries. At this point, I have no expectations for this team right now. The only thing holding me back from saying that they have nothing really to prove is the fact that Georgia Tech chose to extend Gregory's contract after 2 years.
But back to the Duke game (I have so much to say about this other stuff but my writing has been limited recently). This past Saturday the Blue Devils further showed that they are not only mortal, but that they have some issues that they need to clear up if they want to be a national contender this March. Their superstar freshman, Jabari Parker, shot 20% and had only 7 points against Notre Dame. The Blue Devils slacked on the boards, being outscored by 28 points in the paint. One thing that the Blue Devils have not done very well this season with is interior defense.
Duke does not allow players to get a good look inside and this has really been an impressive factor in their wins. In order for teams to be successful, they have to be successful shooting from the perimeter and off the dribble. Unfortunately, the Jackets have shot relatively poor this season which does not fair well for the young team tomorrow. They are shooting 28.8% from 3, last in the ACC. Duke is leading the ACC in PPG, with 84.6. Honestly, I do not expect this game to go well today, but as you all know I am very optimistic for this team. Don't ever count these guys out, they have something special it just needs to all fall into place. We will figure all this out soon enough!
Today, Georgia Tech will visit Durham and battle the Blue Devils in the ACC home opener at 7pm. Games can be seen on ESPNU as well as on IMG Sports radio WYAY 106.7. Follow me on Twitter @FTRSChas for live updates and comments on here.