Duke Basketball: Chance for Revenge Next Season Against St. John's
Duke just released its schedule for the 2011-12 season and one of the highlights of this is the return game against St. John's on January 28 next year.
Last season Duke traveled to New York to play the Red Storm but were beaten 93-78, but the score does not tell the true story.
The Blue Devils were the favored team but this was not evident during the game where the Red Storm scored at will.
That game was regarded as St John's' return to prominence as it was the first time in years that they had beaten a No. 3 ranked team since the early Mike Jarvis days.
Duke lost five games last season and will play some of those teams again but the St John's loss was very embarrassing, especially because it was Steve Lavin's first head coaching job since being fired by UCLA seven years prior.
"This was our time," Coach Lavin said after the monumental victory. "This was our moment to have another breakthrough."
Lavin's hire was not on par with Kentucky hiring John Calipari or Tennessee hiring Bruce Pearl but he far exceeded expectations in his first year.
The Red Storm got blown out by Gonzaga in the second round of the NCAA tournament but they finished higher than expected in the very competitive Big East.
In the Duke game they used a full-court press to take a huge lead early in the game. Duke had some open looks but shots were just not falling.
Nolan Smith scored 32 but was only 1 of 7 on three-point attempts. Seth Curry, coming off a 20-point game against Boston College, was an ice cold, shooting 1 of 5 on three pointers as well.
Both teams will be different as Duke will be implementing five freshmen and St John's graduated eight seniors.
Lavin has received praise for his top incoming recruiting class for the coming fall. A total of nine new players are expected including two junior college transfers, Nurideen Lindsey and God's Gift Achiuwa.
By the time St John's comes to town Duke should be battle tested.
Duke will face Michigan State, Ohio State, Washington and Tennessee before conference play begins in January next year.
Next season should see Coach K become the winningest coach in college basketball as he only needs three wins to pass Bob Knight.
Duke opens the season against Belmont on November 11 in the Maui Invitational, then the next day they tackle Presbyterian.
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