Duke Basketball: Potential Trap Games for Blue Devils in 2013-14

David AldridgeFeatured ColumnistDecember 3, 2013

Duke Basketball: Potential Trap Games for Blue Devils in 2013-14

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    Duke gets every team’s best shot no matter when or where they play. It’s part of the territory that comes with being one of the most high-profile college basketball programs in America.

    For Duke fans, there are certain marquee games that stand out on the schedule because of the quality of the opponent, such as Syracuse, North Carolina and Virginia.

    However, in an ACC that should be much deeper this season, the Blue Devils will also play some teams with the talent and style of play that could make Mike Krzyzewski’s squad vulnerable to an upset.

    The following list looks at potential trap games for Duke in the 2013-14 schedule.

January 27: Pittsburgh

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    Pittsburgh hosts Duke in the Petersen Events Center on January 27, and it should be one of the most hostile atmosphere the Blue Devils face this season.

    Pittsburgh has one of the most electric student sections in college basketball, and the students will be hungry to knock off one of the top teams in the ACC in the Panthers’ first season in the league.

    Jamie Dixon is also known for developing teams that are very strong on the glass, which has been one of Duke’s biggest weaknesses this season.

    Add in the fact that the trip to Pittsburgh comes just before a huge showdown in the Carrier Dome against Syracuse, and there’s potential for Duke to have a letdown.

February 8: Boston College

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    When Duke played at Boston College last season, the Blue Devils had an interesting trip due to weather issues and nearly left Chestnut Hill with a loss.

    The Eagles played a fantastic game but fell just short in the final minute as Duke escaped with a 62-61 victory.

    Although Boston College has struggled through the first part of the season, the Eagles still have one of the best players in the conference in Olivier Hanlan, and he has the potential to create huge issues for Duke because of his driving ability.

    It’s also important for the Blue Devils to not look past Boston College toward the game against North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

February 15: Maryland

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    Maryland beat Duke in two of the three meetings the teams had against each other last season.

    As the teams face each other on February 15, Maryland would love to get a victory on its last scheduled trip to Cameron Indoor Stadium. The school departs for the Big Ten Conference next season, and no plans have been made to create a nonconference series with Duke.

    With the size Maryland features in the frontcourt, the Terrapins possess the qualities of a team that could give Duke major trouble.

    Between attacking the basket and dominating the glass, the Blue Devils will need to play well and get strong performances from the post players to neutralize what Maryland does well.

February 18: Georgia Tech

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    Similar to Boston College, Georgia Tech is a young team on the rise that typically plays very well at home, particularly against marquee opponents.

    The crowd will be fired up and the Yellow Jackets will likely play an inspired game against Duke, which could be a big lift for Georgia Tech’s tournament resume at that point in the season.

    The Yellow Jackets have athletic wing players who can penetrate the lane, which Duke has been vulnerable against through the first part of the season.

    Duke’s trip to Atlanta to play Georgia Tech is also sandwiched between what should be two very emotional, hard-fought games against Maryland and Syracuse.

March 5: Wake Forest

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    On paper, Duke shouldn’t have any trouble against Wake Forest.

    The Blue Devils are more talented at nearly every position and have superior depth. The trip to Winston-Salem will also be the next-to-last game of the regular season for both teams, and it will be interesting to see if Wake Forest is fighting for a trip to a postseason tournament.

    If the Demon Deacons are still in the postseason discussion, a win over Duke would give them huge momentum to wrap up the regular season. If not, they could give an inspired effort in an attempt to pull an upset that would be the highlight of the season.

    Playing Wake Forest on the road has given the Blue Devils fits over the years, and there’s a chance it could be more of the same this season.