Teams: Syracuse Orange (15-13, 9-8) vs. No. 7 Duke Blue Devils (24-4, 14-3)
Day and time: Saturday, February 26, 6 p.m. ET
Location: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY
Television/Broadcast: ESPN, WatchESPN
Duke Blog: Duke Basketball Report
Rivalry: 12-6, Duke
Current series: 5, duke
First meeting: The two historically good programs first met in the 1966 NCAA Tournament in the Elite Eight. The No. 2-ranked Blue Devils advanced with a 91-81 win over Orange. George Hicker led the Orange with 17 points, with Jim Boeheim not far behind with 15 points himself.
Last meeting: If one team is shooting 47.6% from the floor and another is shooting 35.3% from the floor, it’s not hard to see who won. Unfortunately for Syracuse fans, the Orange was the team that shot 35.3% the last time these two teams met as Duke won 79-59.
Head Coaches: Syracuse – Jim Boeheim (46th year, 1098-421) | Duke – Mike Krzyzewski (42nd season, 1121-306)
Coach Biography: Krzyzewski played his college basketball at Army West Point under Bob Knight. After five years in the Army, Krzyzewski joined Knight in Indiana as an assistant for one season before taking over as Army head coach. He then took over as Duke’s head coach after five seasons in the military.
After Krzyzewski’s first three seasons, Duke has won at least 20 games and made the NCAA Tournament every season except one season and last season. The other season was the 1994-95 campaign when Krzyzewski missed nearly the entire ACC schedule recovering from surgery to repair a ruptured disc in his back. Krzyzewski is currently the winningest coach in college basketball history with 1,184 career wins. Duke won five NCAA tournaments under Krzyzewski and he won three Coach of the Year awards at Naismith College.
Krzyzewski was also the head coach of the United States national basketball team from 2005 to 2016. He led the United States to three consecutive Olympic gold medals from 2008 to 2016 and two medals gold medals at the FIBA World Championships from 2010 to 2014.
Last year: Duke, by his standards, struggled last season. The Blue Devils saw star rookie Jalen Johnson leave the program early and went on three three-game losing streaks. Duke finished 10th in the ACC with a 9-9 record, but picked up two wins in the conference tournament to advance to the quarterfinals. However, the Blue Devils pulled out of the tournament after testing positive for COVID-19, ending Duke’s season.
Last match: Duke survived a typical slow Virginia game, winning 65-61 over the Cavaliers. The Blue Devils shot 48% from the floor in the win while maintaining UVA at 43.6% shooting
“Fear Me, I’ve Slain Hundreds of Time Lords”: Paolo Banchero. Need we say more?
If Syracuse wins: Oh look, me and 30,000 of my friends are sorry to see you holding that L.
If Syracuse loses: Can Coach K at least recommend a good brunch in North Carolina for Monday’s game?
Fun fact: A guy named Mike in Durham called on Coach Boeheim’s radio show on Thursday night. No prizes for guessing who Mike is.