Posted: 2:10 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013
All nonconference basketball schedules are carefully calibrated. But some are so carefully calibrated, they are subtle works of art.
Therefore it may come as a surprise that the Duke men’s schedule has no non-league game on an opponent’s home court again this season. This preference for avoiding hostile immersion, which has largely eluded notice, is likely to have a salubrious effect on team spirits, not to mention on the won-lost record.
Sure, the Blue Devils routinely face formidable opponents. Among the challenges this year are meetings with Davidson, Kansas, and UCLA, not to mention a Preseason NIT field that includes Arizona, Alabama, and Rutgers, soon to move with Maryland to the Big Ten.
But Mike Krzyzewski’s program invariably faces tough teams only at home or on neutral floors. Davidson comes to Cameron Indoor Stadium, as do the early rounds of the Preseason NIT and Michigan in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. Kansas and UCLA meet the Devils on neutral courts.
This cautious approach is nothing new. The last time Duke played at an opponent’s campus arena outside the ACC — other than as required as a participant in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge – was at Michigan’s Crisler Center (formerly Crisler Arena) in December 2009.
Duke is not the only reticent ACC squad. Pittsburgh similarly avoids unwelcoming venues this season while in a bit of a rebuilding mode.
Just a stop behind are Maryland and Notre Dame. Perhaps learning from Krzyzewski, his former boss, the Irish’s Mike Brey ventures to a hostile nonconference court exactly once this season. That’s only because he has to go to Iowa in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
Maryland likewise travels only to Ohio State in the Challenge. Such early-season caution is a Terp tradition that precedes Mark Turgeon’s tenure at College Park.
Syracuse and Wake Forest go on the road once each outside the league – for special reasons. The Orange, notorious homebodies under Jim Boeheim, face former Big East rival and fellow New York school St. John’s at Madison Square Garden, arguably a neutral site. The Demon Deacons travel to Cincinnati to face Xavier in the Skip Prosser Classic, celebrating a fine man who served as head coach at both schools.
At the other end of spectrum, much-improved Boston College goes to five hostile courts, and is the sole ACC squad that opens on the road in 2013-14.
Worth noting: Two ACC teams play outside the conference in calendar year 2014. BC stays in town to face Harvard and head coach Tommy Amaker on New Year’s Day, and Miami managed to shoehorn Norfolk State into its schedule on February 1.
This season marks the end of a longstanding Krzyzewski practice of interspersing a few games against teams from outside the league during the January-February ACC race.
|NOTHING VENTURED, SOMETHING GAINED|
Games Played On Nonconference Courts, 2013-14 Season
(Listed As Away Games By ACC)
|School||Away||Opponents Faced On Road|
|BC||5||Providence, Purdue*, Southern Cal, Auburn, Harvard|
|FSU||3||Central Florida, Florida, Minnesota*|
|GT||3||Georgia, Vanderbilt, Charlotte|
|Mi||3||College of Charleston, Nebraska*, Savannah State|
|NC||2||Alabama-Birmingham, Michigan State*|
|NS||3||Cincinnati, Tennessee, UNC-Greensboro|
|V||3||Davidson, Green Bay, Tennessee|
|VT||1||VCU (in Richmond)|
|* ACC-Big Ten Challenge|