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Friday, January 14, 2005 

I Hate Duke

Blue Devils Network:

Duke played its first true road game Thursday night, beating a depleted NC State in Raleigh. The Blue Devils play at surprising Miami next Wednesday and then at struggling Florida State on Jan. 22.

So, when exactly does Duke play at one of the potential favorites for the ACC title? Not until Duke goes to Wake Forest on Feb. 2. Duke also visits Maryland on Feb. 12, Georgia Tech on Feb. 23 and will close the season at North Carolina on March 6.

Clearly, the Blue Devils caught a break with their ACC schedule. Duke will almost certainly have forward Shavlik Randolph back (he could be on the court against the Hurricanes next week after battling mononucleosis) and reserve Reggie Love (broken foot).

Of course, Maryland could right itself by then and Georgia Tech should have B.J. Elder (hamstring) on the court when Duke is town. But is the early-season schedule luck? Is it just a coincidence that Duke opened against Clemson the last four seasons?


The reality for the rest of the ACC is that Duke plays the best teams in the ACC on the road, later in the ACC season, because that's when the ACC television partners want the high-profile, highly-anticipated, and usually highest-rated games.

"Duke is our highest rated television team," said Fred Barakat, who handles the television schedules for the ACC.

So, while Maryland went to North Carolina and Wake Forest last week and Wake Forest plays North Carolina on Saturday in Winston-Salem after the Tar Heels hosted Georgia Tech, the rest of the league can stop wondering why they're beating each other up while Duke gets its feet wet.

Read the rest of the story...

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