The Devil’s Den preview, crossposted here.

Old Hat For The Coach: Though they aren’t likely to be accomodating when the ball is tipped, the Blue Devils will happily welcome back former player and current Bear head coach Robert Brickey, who played under Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski from the 1986-87 season through the 1989-90 season. He served as team captain in 1990 and received first team All-Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament honors in 1988. He was a member of three Final Four teams and started in the national championship game in 1990.

The Series: This will be the first meeting between the Bears and Blue Devils.

Bears Lack Height: Shaw returns no player over 6-foot-5 from last year’s team that went 6-19 overall. The Bears do welcome transfer Damola Obadina, who averaged 10 points per game for Minneanpolis Community College a season, while helping the Marauders to a 29-5 overall record and the number two Division III national ranking.

Duke Largely Unproven: The Blue Devils enter the 2006-2007 without a proven scorer for the first time in years, and will be the youngest team to wear the royal and white since the early 1940s. Junior swingman DeMarcus Nelson is the lone scholarship player to have played two seasons in Durham.

On top of the youth, the Blue Devils will be without starting point guard Greg Paulus as the junior continues to mend an injured foot sustained in practice. In his place will likely be 6-foot-5 Illinois freshman Jon Scheyer. In the annual Blue-White Scrimmage Scheyer logged five points and five assists in 27 minutes, though he struggled with his jumpshot, going just 2-of-9 from the field and 0-of-5 from the perimeter.

Size Could Matter: With the Bears having no player over 6’6, it’s likely that the Duke frontline will be highly successful inside. Sophomore Wooden Award candidate Josh McRoberts will lead the charge along with freshmen Brian Zoubek and Lance Thomas. On Saturday Zoubek was the talk of the annual Blue-White game, logging 27 points while pulling down 10 rebounds, and blocking three shots. Thomas added 15 points , three rebounds and three blocks in 30 minutes.

Prediction:
Duke by a lot.

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Other previews:

> Herald-Sun

“I’m anxious to play these two games this coming week when we’re all on the same team and we have subs to see how our depth is,” said Krzyzewski, whose Devils host Shaw tonight and N.C. Central on Saturday, both games at 7 p.m. “We’re going to be a deeper team; I’m not saying we’re going to be a better team, but we’re going to be a deeper team.

“We’ll have more guys play, and that’s a good thing.”

> Duke Chronicle

Robert Brickey knows what it’s like to play in Cameron Indoor Stadium. After all, he spent four years as a member of the Blue Devils, playing in three Final Fours and serving as a senior captain in 1989-90.

But Brickey, in his second season as head coach at Shaw, does not know what it is like to play against Duke.

“It’s exciting to come back and coach,” Brickey said. “It’s not so exciting to face a very good Duke squad. It’s going to be a little weird-one, going against Coach K and two, being on the other bench and being the object of all the cheers and jeers from the crowd. It’s going to be a little weird, but I’m looking forward to the opportunity.”

Brickey’s playing experience in Cameron has taught him the significant role the Duke crowd can play in intimidating the opposition.

“We’ve tried all we can to get our guys in the right mindset so that they would not be intimidated,” Brickey said. “But you can’t duplicate what you experience at Cameron. As much as we try to prepare for that, it’s going to be tough.”

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