According to ESPN guru Andy Katz, the potential semifinal pairings for November’s Coaches vs. Cancer tournament in Madison Square Garden have been determined, and Duke and Pittsburgh are on the same side of the bracket. If the seeds hold, the Blue Devils and Panthers would meet in the Garden for the second straight year; Pitt gave Duke its first loss of the season Dec. 10, when Levance Field’s step-back 3-pointer with less than five seconds left gave the Panthers the 65-64 win.
Looming on the other side of the bracket is a possible UCLA-Michigan semifinal, which could, of course, lead to a Duke-UCLA final. If the Blue Devils play as well in November as they did last year, when they won the Maui Invitational, they could be on their way to an early No. 1 ranking.
While that is pure speculation, one thing is for sure: with possible games against Pitt and UCLA, a home game against Georgetown, and another Tri-State area game against Xavier reportedly in the works, Duke’s non-conference schedule will be one of the best in the country.
–by Ben Cohen