Preview: Duke Blue Devils vs Army Black Knights

In Game Previews, Previews by Brian Horace1 Comment




In their second game of the season the Duke Blue Devils will take on the Black Nights of Army. While not thought to be the toughest matchup the Devils will face, this game will go a long way in determining whether this iteration of the Blue Devils are capable of getting up for a less hyped opponent. This will be the first home game for the Blue Devils and after what happened in Indianapolis, all eyes will be on Duke. Coach K has always lived by the adage that everyone "runs their own race" and these young Devils will have to find ways to keep their edge regardless of who the opponent is.

Army comes off of a 73-69 win at home to Marist. The game had all the drama that Duke's first game lacked with junior guard Tommy Funk knocking down a 4 pointer with 3.8 seconds left to give the Knights the lead. The Black Knights had to battle back from 6 down with under 6 minutes to go and used a 9-2 run to close the game.

In Duke's case a 17 point half time lead sealed the game for Duke and they duplicated that effort in the second half against a 2nd ranked Kentucky team that struggled to both defend and to hit from the outside. The consensus is that Duke simply caught lightning in a bottle and that the Wildcats were not nearly as bad as they looked in their first game. Duke goes into Sunday led by a group of 4 freshmen and a junior in the middle. The Black Knights bring in an older squad into Cameron Indoor that consists of 2 seniors, 2 juniors and a freshman.

While I do think that Duke will ultimately  out-talent the Black Knights I do not expect Army to roll over. They will be a team that continues to run their stuff. The Blue Devils will still need to stay sharp regardless of score. The coaching staff will be looking for effort regardless of score and opponent.

Duke PPG
Army PPG
  • G Tre Jones
  • F R.J. Barrett
  • F Cam Reddish
  • F Zion Williamson
  • C Marques Bolden
  • G Jordan Fox 6'1 190lbs
  • G Josh Caldwell 6'2 180lbs
  • G Tommy Funk 6'0 195lbs
  • G Jacob Kessler 6'4 193lbs
  • F/C Matt Wilson 6'9 245lbs

FRESHMAN GUARD TRE JONES On his brother Tyus coming to his first collegiate game: “He was able to tell me within the past week prior to the game that he was going to be able to make it. For me personally, that just meant a lot, because I know that’s my biggest fan. I’ve been there with him through everything, and he’s been there with me through everything. With him just being there, going out of his way to make it to my first college game meant a lot to me.” On staying level-headed throughout the hype: “Coach has been talking to us about that a lot. We’re trying to just ignore all of the outside noise and just keep focusing on ourselves while trying to get better every single day.”

On learning from the Kentucky game: “There were a couple times throughout the game that I felt like we let off on a lot of things. We’ve watched film on the game already and we have picked out on what we need to improve on from that game in particular, and we’ll hopefully do it better next game.”

On establishing an identity: “We have a little bit, but we’re still trying to do that. We’re really just trying to focus on defense and doing the little things right now.”

On playing through foul trouble: “We know that that’s a possibility this year. Guys, especially in big games like that, have a lot of nerves and a lot of things running through themselves. So with such a big game like that, you’re going to come out flying around. What comes with that are fouls. Some guys were in foul trouble, but we all trust each other here and we know that the next guy is going to step up.”

On being more vocal: “Coach is trying to have me be a leader, not only by my actions, but verbally as well. It’s something new for me, but I’m trying to learn it as quick as possible so that I’m able to lead these guys.”

JUNIOR CENTER MARQUES BOLDEN On building from the Kentucky game: “We just want to stay consistent. Obviously it was a big win for us. To start the season off 1-0 is what we wanted to do. We have a tough Army team coming in here on Sunday, and we’re looking forward to that game.” On playing in Cameron Indoor for the first regular season game: “I’m really excited. It’s our home opener, so it’s kind of hard to not be excited to play in Cameron Indoor for the first time.”

On lessons from the season-opening game: “We learned that we have to be consistent. We had a couple of turnovers that weren’t forced, they were just self-inflicted. We have to try and correct those along with really talking on the defensive end, while not picking up cheap fouls.”

On advice to the freshmen: “They’re smart and they know better than to think every game is going to be like that (Kentucky). They’re a talented group, obviously as everyone saw. They can really play. For us to stay consistent is the biggest key.”

On playing through foul trouble: “We play really physical in practice, so that kind of flowed over into the game obviously with all of those foul calls. We just try to keep our hands off of people and talk to the refs to see what we’re doing wrong.”

On establishing an identity: “We’re only 1-0. We haven’t really done much of anything—no conference games or anything. We’ve barely started the season, so our identity is going to be found out later.


  1. Only two(2) games I realize, but another typical modern day Duke season is already shaping up. These Freshman can’t/won’t play man-to-man defense and the offensive show-offs want to rule the day! Barrett is all about himself – you can just see it as he watches the ball go into Cam’s or Zion’s hands…..he will be a problem for sure as the season wears on. Zion will be “the man” and deservedly so because he is always hustling – at both ends. Cam will be a shooter only – he strikes me as a guy who will give little effort on defense. And Tre is close behind Cam on D….plus he’s not the college shooter (too small) Cam is…..strictly a play-maker.

    Lack of defensive intensity will persist so K had better break out the ZONE when he goes up against teams with similar athleticism. Also, teams will try to push the ball up court fast to take further advantage of Duke’s defensive shortcomings. As such, K has to appoint a backcourt pressure guy to slow down this upcourt movement. Those two simple adjustments – playing more zone & backcourt pressure on the opposing team – will go a long way toward getting the Dukies into the FINAL FOUR.

    Lastly, who will be the team leader and form a cohesive unit? All the FROSH will be too busy creating highlight reels so who does that leave? Jack White seems a likely candidate but perhaps Tre Jones will do what his brother did in 2015.

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