Tag Archives: Media

SI: Duke Better Than Michigan

Head coach David Cutcliffe has, at the very least, revitalized a sullen program in just nine months on the job—this we all know. But perhaps the most telling sign of change came in the form of this week’s Sports Illustrated’s college football power rankings, which pitted Duke at No. 66 in the country, followed in order by Stanford, Arizona and Michigan.

You read that right: the Blue Devils are better than the Wolverines, according to SI.

The two schools have more in common than Tommy Amaker (circa 2006, that would be an apt analogy). Both have new coaches—Cutcliffe in Durham, Rich Rodriguez in Ann Arbor. Both are proponents of a spread offense, even if Cutcliffe prefers the term “pro-style.” Both teams, um, wear blue. The similarities end right about there; Michigan has earned a bowl bid in every season since 1976, whereas Duke has been waiting for a berth since 1994.

Now, though, they’re separated by another strand: apparently, Duke is the better team.

—by Ben Cohen

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Cutcliffe Cleans Up For Lunch

When former head coach Ted Roof showed up to his weekly media luncheons, he usually wore a Duke Football collared shirt, buttoned all the way to the top, and a morose mien that accentuated his soft-spoken words. It sounded more like a library–or worse–than a press conference.

On Tuesday, David Cutcliffe proved, yet again, how different he is from his predecessor. Cutcliffe strolled into the Yoh Football Center sporting a jacket, crisp white shirt and tie–no buttons undone–and held court with the local media for about 30 minutes. He stood behind the podium, unlike Roof, who typically sat behind a dais, and even offered an opening statement, which he had outlined on a scrap of paper he pulled from his brown coat. The enthusiasm was evident from his first words, when he deemed that because it was game week, he expected the best, most biting questions from the media. We’ll see if the demeanor is the same after Saturday’s opener against James Madison.

—by Ben Cohen

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Posnanski Flunks Krzyzewski

The Kansas City Star’s Joe Posnanski is perhaps the best-regarded sports columnist (and blogger!) in the country, which is why his latest column from Beijing is relevant–that, and it’s the sharpest rebuke of Team USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski yet. Posnanski’s column, “Give Coach K an F for diplomacy,” criticizes Krzyzewski for belittling a foreign reporter who asked the Duke head coach why Team USA felt the need to dunk even in garbage time of its 101-70 win over China Sunday.

“There was no showing off,” Krzyzewski said before glaring at the reporter. “You dunk when you have to dunk. They have 7-footers. If you don’t take it hard, Yao would block it. He did block one…. I don’t know your definition of showing off, to me that’s hard basketball. I thought we played very hard. I thought we took it to the basket hard. Don’t confuse hard with showing off.” Continue reading

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ESPN’s Dinich Answers Duke Questions

Heather Dinich is ESPN’s ACC correspondent, part of the Worldwide Leader’s new college football blog network, consisting of seven bloggers to cover every major conference. In just a few weeks, Dinich’s blog has become a go-to source for any ACC football fan, and the sheer bulk of posts usually guarantees at least a quip about Duke every day. Today, she answers three questions that will define Duke’s season:

  1. How will progress be measured in David Cutcliffe’s first season?
  2. How productive can the combo of quarterback Thaddeus Lewis and receiver Eron Riley be?
  3. How many games can Duke win this year?

The final question, obviously, is the one most weighing on the minds of Duke fans, and over the past few days, Dinich has made it known that she believes Duke can win three games–specifically, the first three, at home against James Madison, Northwestern and Navy.

We’re still a few weeks away from unveiling our staff’s predictions, but one pressing objection: If the Blue Devils can, somehow, win their first three games (and it’s not as completely outrageous as it sounds), then confidence and momentum builds immeasurably. Then up-in-the-air games become realistically winnable; Duke could capitalize on a bye week and a buzzing campus to knock off Virginia at home in their fourth game, or Paul Johnson’s Georgia Tech might be susceptible given possible problems in instituting a unique offensive system. Hypothetical, yes, and unlikely, probably. But if David Cutcliffe and Co. can notch wins in the first few weeks, it’s impossible to predict how the team will react.

How many wins do you think Duke is capable of?

–by Ben Cohen

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Media Guides Imitate Life

Aaron McFarling of The Roanoke Times has a light column up, ranking ACC teams’ media guides and using the appearance of the yearbooks to foreshadow that team’s season (Duke’s 2008 media guide isn’t online yet). His take:

A “D” in the middle and “2008 DUKE FOOTBALL” in small print on the bottom. That’s it. Oh, wait. There’s also a faint, bespectacled face on the left side.

Analysis: This is how you usher in a new era? With Cutcliffe the Friendly Ghost? Unreal. Freshly hired coach David Cutcliffe — highly respected by his peers and the SEC coach of the year just five seasons ago — ought to be splashed all over. Your logo isn’t that cool, Duke. And Lord knows this team needs all the hope it can get.

McFarling’s prognosis for Duke? Not one David Cutcliffe would be happy with: 0-12.

Ouch.

–by Ben Cohen

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Coach K, Burgeoning Movie Star

Last week, HBO announced a documentary chronicling the history of the Duke-UNC rivalry. Next week, ESPN2 will air a documentary following Mike Krzyzewski’s other squad, Team USA. “Road to Redemption,” a five-part series documenting the national team and its quest for the gold medal in the Beijing Olympics, will begin July 2 with a one-hour episode to be followed with four 30-minute episodes. The last two episodes will both air August 5.

The first part will recount the history of Team USA and the Dream Teams of the early 1990s and will introduce this year’s team, including Krzyzewski and Managing Director Jerry Colangelo. ESPN claims exclusive access to Krzyzewski and his team as they practice. The Chronicle, too, had exclusive access to Coach K—albeit on a different level.

Are you planning on watching the series?

—by Ben Cohen

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Media Musings

It’s easy to measure the hype of a game simply by looking at the media seating chart, and from what the slab of paper hanging in the MSG press room is telling me, tonight’s matchup is a marquee game.

Sitting courtside are: Andy Katz (ESPN) and Seth Davis, Luke Winn and Kevin Armstrong (Sports Illustrated/SI.com). The New York Times and USA Today are here, as is Dick “Hoops” Weiss from the NY Daily News. ESPN The Magazine’s Jon Pessah, who wrote a piece that was somewhat critical of Coach K a few weeks ago, is also on press row; his presence should make for an interesting post-game press conference.

We also saw someone that looks eerily like famed UCLA head coach John Wooden. In fact, it very well might be the Wizard of Westwood. More on that later.

As for The Chronicle? We got bumped off of the floor. Sorry, Mom, you won’t be seeing me on ESPN tonight.

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