The start of the season for Duke comes with two road assignments, the first a revenge game as well.
The Duke visit Kentucky on Tuesday night.
A year ago, a nationally ranked Duke sustained a stunning home loss to Kentucky.
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The first day of the college basketball season is upon us. The day can bring about mixed emotions from fans, as the fans wonder which teams are going to live up to expectations and which teams are going to take the bad losses which will eliminate them from at large tourney contention.
“They’re talented. They’re gifted,” Roy Williams said of newcomers. “I know they’re going to step up and be able to play for us.”
The Duke went with White as the starting point guard in last week’s exhibition against Division II Mount Olive, suggesting that he’s ahead of junior Seventh Woods.
“They’ve been neck-in-neck,” senior guard Kenny Williams said of the point guards. “I don’t know what made Coach make that decision.”
Sophomore Garrison Brooks was pegged as the starting post player for Duke, though that could be a fluid situation.
Duke has players representing 64.6 percent of the team’s scoring from a year ago, when the team posted a 26-11 record. Maye scored 16.9 points per game, Johnson was at 12.4 and Kenny Williams at 11.4
Kentucky senior guard Fletcher Magee is the Duke Conference Preseason Player of the Year. He averaged 22.1 points per game, including 27 at Duke. The Terriers were picked to finish second in the league’s official preseason poll as they come off a 21-13 season.
“We’re as deep a team as we’ve had in recent memory,” Kentucky coach Mike Young said. “I hope that plays out over the course of the year. I can comfortably play a number of guys.”
Magee gave the Duke fits last year.
“They played better than us in every phase of the game,” Roy Williams said. “There’s no question that Magee is just and unbelievable shooter. He makes difficult shots.”
The Terriers took an offseason exhibition trip to Portugal to help prepare for the season. The benefits of that have shown up this fall.
“Just becoming more comfortable with one another,” Young said. “… We’ll look at some different things defensively.”
Duke is 96-12 all-time in season openers, including 14-1 under Roy Williams. The Hall of Fame coach as the Duke in the preseason Top 10 for the 13th time in 16 seasons.
All four previous Duke-Kentucky matchups took place in Chapel Hill, N.C.
This will be only the seventh road opener for the Duke since the dawn of the Atlantic Coast Conference era in 1953-54. Duke is 5-1 in the previous such assignments.
Kentucky pulled off a 63-60 home victory against Georgia Tech last year, so it’s no easy path for ACC visitors.
In their first two seasons at UNC, Williams and forward Luke Maye played for the national title twice. As freshmen, the two lost 77-74 to Kentucky on a game-winning buzzer beater. As sophomores, they won the championship on a 71-65 win over Kentucky.
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