Sunday, November 23

“Jimmy-V Classic Observations – Welcome Back College Basketball”

Part I – Duke Blue Devils vs. Southern Illinois Salukis

Well it is my honor to ring in the college basketball season. The Jimmy-V Coaches Against Cancer Classic at Madison Square Garden is all said and done. I was lucky enough to catch a couple of games, and watch some teams who show great promise for the season ahead. First I will begin by saying I had no bias in either game, as I am a diehard Maryland Terrapin supporter. Since Maryland wasn’t in the building I was able to enjoy some class-A college basketball without wanting to choke the referees, players, or any opposing fans.

Game one of the double header pitted the illustrious program from the University of Duke against the Salukis of Southern Illinois. Just to clarify in case all of you out there are wondering what the hell a Saluki is, a Saluki is one of the oldest known breeds of domesticated dogs in the world dating back to ancient Egypt. I will forego any zoology or history lessons, and get down to business. The Salukis have had some recent success, winning the Missouri Valley Conference championship in 5 of the last six years. From what I saw at the tournament, they will have to work very hard to make it six of seven in the Missouri Valley Conference. Their conference being considered a mid major still has the likes of Creighton and Drake. The Salukis were clearly overmatched by the powerhouse that is Duke. The lone bright spot is that the Salukis have a player named Nick Evans. The gawky 6’11” freshman fouled out of the game almost before the game began.

The Blue Devils, on the other hand, looked like a disciplined team that you would only expect from a squad led by Coach K himself.

coach k

I was mostly impressed by two things. Number one is how Greg Paulus has taken to a leadership role. The smallest guy on the court had the entire Duke team hanging off of his every word. I was close enough to hear Greg’s motivational words of wisdom and I wanted to go out there and beat the Salukis myself. The second thing that impressed me about the Blue Devils was their crisp, and discipline style of play. This has been a trademark of the Duke program for as long as Coach K has been at the helm. Even with inexperienced youngsters playing in the world’s most famous arena, in one of the most exciting cities in the world, the team did not lose any focus. The Blue Devils will be a contender in the ACC this season. All I have to say is watch out for the TERPS!!!

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