The Duke Blue Devils are off to a quick 3-0 start this college basketball season and are already three wins away from tying the school's football team in the win column.
Mike Krzyzewski's squad has already proven itself this fall, beating then-No. 3 Kentucky 75-68 in mid-November. Led by Mason Plumlee on the interior and sharpshooter Seth Curry on the perimeter, Duke looks poised for a deep run in 2012-13.
But that's not to say there won't be some speed bumps along the way.
Here we highlight a trio of challenging matchups coming up for the Blue Devils before the conference play begins.
November 28: Ohio State
The Buckeyes are the third-ranked team in the country this November, and will be the Blue Devils' greatest non-conference challenge outside of Kentucky this season.
Ohio State is already off to a scorching 3-0 start and has two bona fide superstars in Deshaun Thomas and Aaron Craft, both of which played key roles in the Buckeyes' deep-NCAA Tournament run last March. Thomas is averaging 25 points and seven rebounds per game this fall, while Craft is averaging 17 points and five assists at point guard.
The scary news for Duke is that Ohio State is off to a strong shooting start as well. Thad Matta's team is shooting better than 49 percent from the field and over 45 percent from beyond the arc.
The good news for the Blue Devils, they'll have a raucous home crowd at Cameron Indoor to cheer them on.
December 8: Temple
Temple may not play in a power conference, but year after year the Owls are competitive and in the hunt. Temple has made the NCAA Tournament field the previous five seasons and will look to go dancing again in 2013.
Duke will welcome the Owls to Cameron Indoor on December 8 for a non-conference showdown. Although the oddsmakers will love the Blue Devils in this game, it certainly won't be easy for Mike Krzyzewski's men.
After all, just last January Duke lost to Temple by five points on the road in Philadelphia.
This season, Temple is off to a 2-0 start and is getting a huge lift from senior wing player Scootie Randall, who's averaging 23.5 points and eight rebounds. Duke fans should be on the lookout for Randall and will want to know his name by the time December's matchup with the Owls rolls around.
January 2: Davidson
Davidson head coach Bob McKillop may be without Stephen Curry again this season, but that doesn't mean the Wildcats won't be just as competitive as ever before.
Davidson will travel to Durham on January 2 to take on Duke in front of its rabid fans. Although the Wildcats are just 1-2 to start this year, they pushed New Mexico to the brink on the road, losing 86-81, and came within five points again of beating Milwaukee.
Junior forward De'Mon Brooks is the real deal for McKillop's squad and is averaging 20.3 points on 50 percent shooting from the field and behind the three-point line. You can bet the 6'7" Charlotte native will want to showcase his best basketball in the spotlight against national championship favorite Duke.
Regardless of whether the Blue Devils survive this matchup, it will be one of the biggest non-conference challenges this season.
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