Line’em up and knock’em down.

Here come the Falcons.

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In short, Air Force is exactly the type of competitive team that Duke faces often in its non-conference schedule: well-coached, veteran, confident, and, win or lose, determined to use “The Duke Game” to make a big statement.

On paper, Duke claims nearly every advantage and should win easily. But especially on a neutral (a.k.a anti-Duke) court, don’t be surprised if Air Force’s teamwork and execution give the young Dukies a test, if only for a half.

> Herald-Sun

Duke teams of the recent past simply don’t lose to unranked nonconference opponents, winning 111 of 117 those games over the last nine-plus seasons. But it’s too early to tell if this will be a typical Duke team, and tonight’s opponent, Air Force, isn’t a typical unranked team.

“They’ll be one of the top teams. They’re very, very good,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “To play them is a real test for our team.”

> Colorado Springs Gazette

At 4-0, the Falcons are off to their best start since 1998 with 10th-ranked Duke up next in the CBE Classic semifinals on Monday in Kansas City, Mo.

“It’s going to be fun; everyone has always wanted to play Duke,’’ said Nwaelele, whose trio of 3-pointers fueled a run that led to Air Force’s largest margin of victory since 2003.

> Colorado Springs Gazette preview op-ed

Air Force has won three of its four games by at least 34 points. Air Force seems to be playing defense with six players while holding opponents to 35 percent shooting, including 17 percent from 3-point range.

Sure, Duke is Duke. The Blue Devils have justification for their matchless arrogance, but they’d better be ready Monday.

> John Roth for

> Duke Chronicle

With six seniors returning from a team that garnered an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament a season ago, the Falcons represent a unique challenge for Duke.

“The team we play is as veteran a team as we’ll play all year,” Krzyzewski said. “They’ll be one of the top teams-they’re very good. To play them on our first road trip, it’s a real test for our team.”

The Blue Devils will need to execute better in their halfcourt offense if they hope to penetrate the Falcons’ suffocating matchup zone, which has held three of their four opponents below 50 points.

Duke is attempting to implement a new pro-style offense this season to spread the floor and take advantage of its athleticism on the perimeter. The Blue Devils have not had a lot of practice time, however, to work on the offense because of their crowded early-season schedule.

“It’s going to take time to get into the flow,” Nelson said. “It really hurt us when Greg [Paulus] went down, and now we’re trying to implement him back into the offense. Eventually it will evolve, and we’ll get to where we want to be offensively.”

Duke’s defense has been its best offense so far this season, as the Blue Devils are forcing 20 turnovers a game and converting them into easy fast-break points.