November 8: Davidson at Duke
Duke: This will be a much closer game than most people think. Just two years ago, Davidson played Duke in a very close game where Andre Dawkins hit a late three to win it. This game may not be that close, but Davidson is a very good opponent and will give Duke a good challenge to go into the rest of the season.
November 12: Kansas vs Duke (Champions Classic in Chicago)
Duke: Kansas is a very talented team, but I believe they are a little overhyped due to the commitment of Andrew Wiggins. Duke has two wings close to as talented as Wiggins, in Rodney Hood and Jabari Parker, and are better in the guard spots. Kansas does not have the size to beat up Duke down low, so I believe Duke will win this game with Andrew Wiggins keeping it close to the very end.
November 15: FAU at Duke
Duke: Simply put, Duke is too talented to lose to FAU. FAU may put up a fight, but Duke will pull away in the second half leading to a blowout and minutes for Todd Zafirovski.
November 18: UNC-Asheville at Duke (NIT Season Tipoff)
Duke: This is the first game of two games in a row for Duke. Duke will win comfortably but the score may not show that, due to Coach K resting players for the next game. This will still be an easy Duke win.
November 19: ECU/Norfolk State at Duke (NIT Season Tipoff)
Duke: Both ECU and Norfolk State are superiors teams to UNC-Asheville, but neither stand much of a chance for Duke. Duke will come in rested after an easy game and their opponent will be tired after a hard fought game. Duke will cruise into the semifinals of the NIT Season Tipoff.
November 24: Vermont at Duke
Duke: A quick break in between the NIT Season Tipoff will be another easy win for Duke. Vermont is a talented team in the American East Conference, but does not stand much of a chance against Duke. Look for an easy Duke win as Duke prepares for the last two games of the NIT Season Tipoff.
November 27: Likely Alabama vs Duke (NIT Season Tipoff Semifinal at Madison Square Garden)
Duke: Alabama is a talented team and will give Duke some trouble. They have a chance at making the NCAA Tournament but will not find a great resume win here. Duke plays extremely well in early season tournaments and will not lose to inferior competition in the semifinals.
November 29: Likely Arizona vs Duke (NIT Season Tipoff Final at Madison Square Garden)
Arizona: Arizona is one of a few teams with the perfect roster to beat Duke. They have a great set of guards in TJ McConnell and Nick Johnson and athletic forwards in Brandon Ashley, Aaron Gordon, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson that will match up well with Duke's best four players. Where Arizona will beat Duke is with the great size of Kaleb Tarczewski in the paint. Arizona's talent on the perimeter and size down low will lead them to beat Duke, despite Duke's success in early season tournaments.
December 3: Michigan at Duke (ACC-Big 10 Challenge)
Duke: This is the toughest game I have predicted so far, as I believe Michigan is an extremely talented and underrated team. They also have the ability to attack Duke’s biggest weakness, their post-game, with Mitch McGary. Wings Glenn Robinson, Zak Irvin, and Nik Stauskas match up with Duke athletically and Derrick Walton, Spike Albrecht and Caris Levert will be match up with Duke’s guards well. I think this will be the closest game all year and Duke may have the slight advantage due to their home court advantage. I went back and forth with this pick and finally chose Duke, due to their home court advantage. Michigan is a really solid team, and I really hope Duke avoids them in March.
December 16: Gardner-Webb at Duke
Duke: Plainly put, Gardner-Webb is just not on the same level talent-wise. They will try and put up a fight but Duke does not lose to inferior opponents, especially on their home court. Jabari Parker and all of Duke’s scorers should have a field day against Gardner-Webb’s severely under matched team.
December 19: UCLA vs Duke (at Madison Square Garden)
Duke: While UCLA is ranked in preseason polls by ESPN and CBS, I do not see them as a huge threat to Duke. They are losing leading score, Shabazz Muhammad, and turn the team over to a new coach, Steve Alford. Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams are talented players, but UCLA may struggle to score points without the dynamic Shabazz Muhammad. UCLA will not be able to keep pace with Duke, and Duke will pull away with a decisive win at MSG.
December 28: Eastern Michigan at Duke
Duke: While Eastern Michigan has some talent, they do not have enough to overtake Duke. Duke may come out to a slow start after a short Christmas break, but will find a way to pull away during the game. The game may appear close at times, but I do not fear a loss in this game for Duke.
December 31: Elon vs Duke (at Greensboro)
Duke: While Elon is not a team to overlook, this game should be a win for Duke. Elon has the potential to be a tournament team this season, but they will not have the athleticism to keep up with Duke. Look for this game to be close for a while, but for Duke to go on a run and pull away with a convincing win before the start of ACC play.
January 4: Duke at Notre Dame
Notre Dame: In Duke's first ACC and true road game, I see Duke losing this game. Notre Dame is a very talented team and can attack one of Duke's biggest weaknesses. Duke has struggled with top guards since the Championship season and Notre Dame can attack that with Eric Atkins and Jerian Grant. The two senior guards will give Duke fits and give Duke their second loss of the season.
January 7: Georgia Tech at Duke
Duke: Georgia Tech is improving, but I doubt they will be able to beat Duke in Cameron Indoor. Georgia Tech will struggle with Duke's athleticism and can not beat Duke down low. Barring a bad Duke game, they should have no trouble beating Georgia Tech.
January 11: Duke at Clemson
Duke: Similar to Georgia Tech, Clemson will be unable to stay with Duke in terms of talent. Like most ACC teams this season, they lack the size to attack Duke down low. With seemingly no big advantage, Clemson should struggle against Duke and Duke will likely receive their first road win of the season.
January 13: Virginia at Duke
Duke: While Virginia gave Duke trouble last season, I expect Duke will win due to their home court advantage. Virginia will still attack Duke with their strength and senior guard Joe Harris. This season, Duke will have more defenders to throw at Joe Harris and have the athleticism to attack Virginia's top defense. While this will be a tough fought game, I expect Duke to win at home.
January 18: NC State at Duke
Duke: NC State was much improved last season, but lose five influential players from last season. NC State does not have enough depth to hang with Duke, as Duke will pull away early in this game. NC State may give Duke a decent game at home, but Duke should be able to win easily at Cameron.
January 22: Duke at Miami
Duke: This was a huge game last season, but Miami has regressed greatly from last season. Miami might be one of the worst teams in the ACC this season and the home court advantage will not help them in this game. Duke is the better team and should have no problem proving that to Miami.
January 25: Florida St at Duke
Duke: Florida St returns a talented team, but they are without clutch player and leader Michael Snaer. Snaer played a huge part in the 2012 upset where he hit the game winning three to beat Duke. Without Snaer, Florida St will likely struggle to score the ball, which will make it tough for them to beat Duke. Florida St is good but not good enough to beat Duke at home.
January 27: Duke at Pittsburg
Duke: In Duke's first matchup against ACC newcomer, Pittsburg, I expect Duke to win. While Pittsburg is a likely NCAA tournament team, they do not have strengths where Duke's weaknesses are. Trying to beat Duke without great guards or bigs is tough for any team, even at home. Pittsburg will give Duke a good game but I expect Duke to win this game.
February 1: Duke at Syracuse
Duke: While Syracuse has a big home court advantage in this game, I expect Duke to come out and play extremely well. Jabari Parker is the perfect player to play the high post against a 2-3 zone and will be able to attack Syracuse's zone. Although Syracuse has the home court advantage, Duke will be motivated and ready for their new ACC foe and will take them down in their first meeting of the season.
February 4: Wake Forest at Duke
Duke: Wake Forest is an up-and-coming team that just lacks the overall talent to beat Duke at home. Devin Thomas will attack Duke inside, but Duke will have a huge advantage on the perimeter that they will exploit. Wake Forest is no team to look past but Duke should be able to win this game.
February 8: Duke at Boston College
BC: BC has been getting closer and closer to beating Duke at home, and this is the year I think they finally do it. It is a tough trek for Duke up to Boston, as the game was almost postponed last year due to weather. Duke will have a tough time containing BC's dynamic duo of Oliver Hanlan and Ryan Anderson. Duke is the superior team but I expect BC to get a huge program and resume building win against Duke at home.
February 12: Duke at North Carolina
Duke: While UNC is extremely talented, they do not have the team to beat Duke. Duke matches up extremely well with UNC at the 1-4 positions and UNC lacking a center just as much as Duke is. Even though UNC is home, I do not see how they will be able to beat Duke this year. After a disappointing loss to BC, expect Duke to bounce back with a solid win over UNC.
February 15: Maryland at Duke
Duke: Duke will hold nothing back in what will be their likely last game against Maryland. Maryland will try to attack Duke down low, but will be less effective without Alex Len. Expect Maryland to give Duke a tough game, but the Cameron Crazies will help propel Duke to a victory in what could be the last meeting between these two rivals.
February 18: Duke at Georgia Tech
Duke: Georgia Tech is talented, but Duke should be able to beat them. They are much improved from last season, with the improvement of Marcus Gorges-Hunt and Robert Carter. Georgia Tech is still too inexperienced and lacks the talent to beat Duke, even on their home court.
February 22: Syracuse at Duke
Syracuse: After Duke beat Syracuse in the Carrier Dome, I expect Syracuse to have a bounce back win at Cameron Indoor. Syracuse is too talented for Duke to sweep them in conference play and Syracuse is a tough match up for Duke. In another huge battle, I expect CJ Fair to carry the Orangemen in a revenge win over Duke.
February 25: Virginia Tech at Duke
Duke: After a very tough month, Duke ends the month with an easy opponent in Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech finished last in the ACC last season and graduated the ACC player of the year. Virginia Tech should prove to be an easy win for Duke in a quick blowout.
March 5: Duke at Wake Forest
Duke: This will be a sneakily tough game for Duke. It comes off a long break which may cause some rust and it’s before a UNC game and the postseason. Underrated Wake Forest big, Devin Thomas, will give Duke some trouble in thus game. This game will be closer then people think, but I still expect Duke to win a valuable road game going into the postseason.
March 8: North Carolina at Duke
Duke: I just do not see how UNC will be able to beat Duke this year and it will not change at Cameron. While PJ Hairston and James McAdoo will give Duke some trouble, I expect Duke to beat them with a more spread out scoring attack. UNC may make a run, but Duke will send off their seniors on an amazing senior night.
While Duke should be able to win the ACC regular season title, I do not think they will win the ACC tournament. The ACC has many teams that Duke may have trouble with, but that Duke played at home against during the regular season. Maryland, Virginia, Notre Dame, and Syracuse will all provide Duke with a great challenge in order to win the ACC tournament. Duke will be the favorite, but they will not win the tournament due to tough competition and a huge target on their backs,
Duke will likely enter the NCAA tournament as a top 2 seed which will serve them well during the tournament. I expect Duke to have no trouble with the lower seeded teams, with their supreme athleticism, allowing them to breeze into the Sweet Sixteen. From there, it greatly depends on match ups. I fully expect Duke to be a Final Four team, but a poor match up could cause them to go home early. Ultimately, I expect Duke to be a Final Four team, but eventually fall short of their overall goal. Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood will make Duke an extremely difficult team to knock out, but Duke's lack of size down low will prove the be their fatal weakness. A team with superior size: Kentucky (Randle, Cauley-Stein, Johnson), Arizona (Tarczewski), Michigan (McGary), Michigan State (Payne), etc., will find a way to beat Duke in the paint and make enough shots to win. I expect Duke to have an extremely successful year, but their lack of a true center could be their undoing. Can Marshall Plumlee be Duke's savior at center?