Duke Basketball: 10 Remaining Games That Will Challenge Duke's Perfect Record

Mike KlineAnalyst IJanuary 4, 2011

Duke Basketball: 10 Remaining Games That Will Challenge Duke's Perfect Record

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    If you think the road to the Final Four is tough, you should see the one set aside for a perfect season.

    Duke is not the only remaining unbeaten team, but being the reigning National Champion and the No. 1 ranked team in the country has had many whispering whether the Blue Devils could go undefeated.

    Mike Krzyzewski has dismissed the idea as being both unlikely and unimportant. Still, some are still wondering if it can happen.

    Here is a look at 10 teams that could very well give Duke a run for its money and end the undefeated season.

NC State

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    Current Record: 9-4 (0-0 ACC)

    Likelihood: Medium

    In a rivalry game, anything can happen. NC State wasn't supposed to beat Duke last year, but did so in an inspired way on its home floor in the two teams' only meeting.

    This year NC State faces Duke twice, and while the upstart Wolf Pack and its highly touted freshman class might challenge the Blue Devils at home, they likely won't on the road in Cameron.

    If they are to win, they will have to do it at the RBC Center, and they need a healthy Tracy Smith.


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    Current Record- 9-4 (0-1 ACC)

    Likelihood: Low-Medium

    Gary Williams has a good team, but it might take the Terps a while to become capable of beating Duke. Still, he has done more with less and this can be an intense rivalry

    If the Terps are to do it though, it will, like last season, need to come at home.


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    Current Record: 9-3 (0-0 A-10)

    Likelihood: Low

    It stands to reason that if Temple beat Maryland, and Maryland has a chance at beating Duke, so should the Owls.

    Reality though doesn't work that way, and given that the Owls will be playing the Blue Devils at Cameron, the chances of pulling off the upset are low, but they are there.


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    Current Record: 9-5 (1-0 ACC)

    Likelihood: Medium

    Virgina has been a bit of a surprise early on, and a large part of that is due to the play of Mike Scott.

    Since his injury though, the Cavaliers haven't been as good. They will definitely need him to be healthy and at his best if the upstart Wahoos are to take down the Blue Devils.

    Still, it wasn't that long ago when these games, especially at Virginia, were hotly contested. Duke will travel there on February 16.


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    Current Record: 11-4 (0-1 ACC)

    Likelihood: Medium

    Miami may seem like an odd bet seeing as how Duke just beat the Canes Sunday night, 74-63, but the Hurricanes did give the Blue Devils some trouble.

    The Canes are physical, athletic and at home; a combination that is always advantageous. They, however, will need to hit more shots from the outside, as their poor shooting percentage (.369) in the first outing cost them.


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    Current Record: 11-4 (0-1 ACC)

    Likelihood: Low

    The Tigers are young, athletic, but have a brand new coach.

    To make matters worse, they are playing Duke at Cameron, which is never an easy place to win. Still, the Tigers have a good guard in Demontez Stitt and center in Jerai Grant, and in this day and age, good guards always give you a chance.

St. John's

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    Current Record: 9-3 (2-0 Big East)

    Likelihood: Low

    Steve Lavin has brought some excitement back to the Red Storm program and New York basketball in general.

    Having this game at home may seem advantageous, and to a degree it is. St. John's, in the late 1990's and early 2000's, had a solid program that used to give Duke fits.

    The Red Storm are headed in the right direction, but New York is practically a home away from home for the Blue Devils, so what little advantage the Johnnies get from it might be small.

North Carolina

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    Current Record: 10-4 (0-0 ACC)

    Likelihood: Medium/High

    The Tar Heels are better than last year, but so far have fallen short of expectations (preseason top 10).

    Still, one would expect that when the two great rivals clash, it should be competitive, unlike last year's season finale at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

    UNC should get better as the season progresses, but so should Duke. That being said, when these two get together, you can't rule out anything, including a possible Tar Heels win in Cameron on the right night.

Florida State

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    Current Record: 11-3 (1-0 ACC)

    Likelihood: Medium/High

    The Seminoles are a big, long and athletic team. They seemingly always give Duke fits, and this year has the potential to see them pull off a victory.

    They get Duke at home where the Blue Devils, even in years where they have won it all, have struggled. If Chris Singleton is hot, look out for the Noles to break the Blue Devils' streak.

Virginia Tech

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    Current Record: 9-4 (0-1 ACC)

    Likelihood: Medium/High

    The Hokies, much like the Tar Heels, haven't lived up to the preseason hype. Virginia Tech has lost most of its high profile non-conference matchups, so it will need to do some damage in the ACC.

    That would be aided by beating Duke. The Hokies get the Blue Devils late in the season and at home, getting a great opportunity to make a lasting impression on the NCAA selection committee.