Crossposted here.

Series History:
This will be the seventh overall meeting between the Blue Devils and Spartans, with Duke holding a perfect 6-0 record against UNCG. The teams have met in each of the past two seasons with the Blue Devils winning 98-44 in November of 2004 and then 102-69 in December of 2005.

Last season Josh McRoberts tallied 15 points and six rebounds in just 23 minutes to help Duke to the win. Classmate Greg Paulus added six points, four assists, and four turnovers in 30 minutes of action. Meanwhile, Martynas Pocius chipped in with 10 points and two rebounds while logging a career best 20 minutes.

Duke currently holds a 133-24 overall record against teams from the Southern Conference.

Size not an issue for UNCG’s Hines:
Though he stands only 6-foot-6, the Spartans’ Kyle Hines has proven himself as a legitmate threat in the paint for Coach Dement’s squad. Last season Hines hit Duke for 20 points and five rebounds against the nation’s top defensive player – Shelden Williams. He continued that torrid pace in league play where he led the Southern Conference in rebounds, blocks, and field goal percentage, while ranking second in scoring. Hines is a nimble center who, like former Boston College standout Craig Smith, compensates for a lack of height by playing with power. That has showed early on in 2006-2007 as Hines has averaged 29.0 points and 9.5 rebounds in UNC-G’s first two contests – including a 38 point, 12 rebound effort in the season opener against Marshall.

Not Intimidated By The Name:
Don’t expect the Spartans to be impressed when they line up across from the Blue Devils. UNC-G returns all five starter’s from last year’s team that pushed Duke for most of the first half before J.J. Redick’s shooting display (35 points) proved to be too much. In addition to Hines, the Spartans return scoring guard Randy Hickman, who scored 23 points (9-of-15 shooting) a season ago. Kevin Oleksiak is also back, looking to improve on his 14 point effort against Duke from a season ago.

Another branch in Coach K’s Coaching Tree:
Head Coach Mike Dement, who is now in his second stint as the head man at UNC-G, got an early start in his coaching career as an assistant at Duke from 1982-1983. Dement was a high school head coach at Vance Academy and Kerry Lake High School before joining Krzyzewski’s staff, logging a 109-26 mark in five seasons.

When Dement was rehired as UNCG’s coach, Krzyzewski was quick to praise the decision:

“When you hit a home run, it is a great thing,” said Krzyzewski of the hire. “But when you hit a grand slam, it is the best. Hiring Mike Dement at UNCG is a grand slam. It is great for everyone involved – for the school, for Mike, and for the community. I could not be happier for Mike and for UNCG. They are both lucky to join forces again.”

Dement Looking To Incorporate New Blood:
The Spartans added five freshmen to the roster from last year led by guards Kendall Toney, Omar Jones and Mikko Koivisto (pronounced MEE-coe COY-vis-TOE) and forwards Ben Stywall and Pete Brown.

Jones, a 6-5 combo guard from North Lenoir, NC was a third-team all-state selection; Kovisto is an outstanding outsider shooter from Vantaa, Finland. The 6-4 guard played the last two seasons at Holy Cross HS in Lynchburg, VA, twice earning all-conference honors and earned Player of the Year honors as a junior; Stywall is a 6-5 forward who has spent the last season at Fork Union Military Academy. He graduated in 2005 from North Mecklenburg HS in the Charlotte Area where he earned All-State honors; Brown, is a 6-7 post player from Don Bosco Prep in Central New Jersey. After spending the last two seasons alongside John Oates (now a sophomore at Boston College) and Tyrell Biggs (now a freshman at Pittsburgh), Brown emerged into a force down low averaging 14 and 12 as a senior. The foursome joins Toney, who was one of three Division I recruits off the Gaston Day School roster last season.

Devilish Depth For Duke:
Through two games, the Blue Devils have shown off a level of depth not usually associated with Duke. Currently 10 players are averaging 10.0 or more minutes for Coach K’s team, with no player logging more than 30.5 minutes per. With so many players rotating in and seeing action, the scoring load has been spread out among several players led by junior DeMarcus Nelson (13.5), sophomore Josh McRoberts (12.0), and freshman Jon Scheyer (11.5). Three freshmen make up the next grouping of scorers with Lance Thomas (9.5), Brian Zoubek (9.0), and Gerald Henderson (8.5) all proving the ability to score in droves.

Duke has also been a much better rebounding team this season, averaging 40.5 rebounds per game – an improvement of 8.0 rebounds per game over the same two game span last season when Duke averaged 32.5 rebounds per contest against Boston University and Seton Hall.


Duke 80
UNC Greensboro 56