Preview: Duke (1-0) vs. Pacific (1-0)

With the season opening performance causing worry among the Blue Devil fan base, Duke heads to Alaska for the Great Alaska Shootout. The first round opponent comes in the form of the Pacific Tigers, who won their season opener in impressive fashion last week. <I>TheDevilsDen.com</I> runs down the match up.

After escaping the season opener against Detroit, 67-56, Duke will take the court late Thursday night against the Tigers in hopes of improving to 2-0 on the season. Tip-off is set for 11:30 PM Eastern Standard Time. The game will be televised by espn2 with Bob Carpenter and Jimmy Dykes calling the action.

What You Need To Know:

-According to published reports, head coach Mike Krzyzewski is expected to start Chris Duhon, Daniel Ewing, J.J. Redick, Luol Deng, and Shelden Williams with the newly bulked up Shavlik Randolph being the sixth man. This is contingent on Duhon being able to recover from a hip pointer injury suffered against the Titans Saturday.

- Duke has posted an overall 11-5 record vs. the seven other Shootout teams, including a 4-1 mark vs. Canisius, 1-0 vs. Pacific, 1-3 vs. Purdue and 5-1 vs. Seton Hall.

- This is Duke's third appearance in the Carrs Great Alaska Shootout. The Blue Devils, who own a 5-1 record in the tournament, won the Shootout in 1995 after defeating Old Dominion, 23rd-ranked Indiana and 10th-ranked Iowa. Current Duke assistant coach Chris Collins was a captain on that squad and scored a game-best 30 points vs. Iowa in the final. Collins was 8-of-12 from the field (5-of-7 from three-point range) and 9-of-12 from the foul line vs. the Hawkeyes. Steve Wojciechowski, another current Duke assistant, also played in all three of those games, scoring 22 points for the Blue Devils. In 1998, No. 1 Duke fell to Cincinnati, 77-75, in the championship game on a last second dunk off a length of the court pass.

- With 664 career victories, Mike Krzyzewski is just one victory shy of passing John Wooden into 17th place all time on the wins list for Division One coaches. Coach K is also just nine victories short of the 600 mark at Duke.

- The Blue Devils enter the game ranked second in the nation by the AP and by ESPN/USA Today. This marked the eighth consecutive season that Duke entered the season ranked among the country's top 10 teams

- Duke has a 75-24 (.758) record in season opening contests, including a 22-2 (.918) mark under head coach Mike Krzyzewski. The Blue Devils have won three consecutive openers since dropping an 80-79 decision to 13th-ranked Stanford to start the 1999-2000 season. Duke has won its last three openers by an average of 24.3 points per game.

Meet the Tigers:

- Last year Pacific struggled to just a 12-16 record despite having two members of the team named as All-Conference selections.

- Sophomore forward Christian Maraker (11.3 ppg, 6.1 rpg), a 6-foot-10 import from Sweeden, is the team's top returning player and one of the best post players you've never heard of. During the off season he played on the Swedish National team at the European Championships, and has added 15 pounds of muscle to his frame to now tip the scales to 235 pounds.

- One the wing the Tigers will likely start 6-foot-7 Jasko Korajkic (6 ppg, 4.6 rpg), who plays the typical small forward position according to head coach Bob Thomason in that he is a very good passer and reliable shooter for a 6'7 guy.

- Starting at center will be 6-foot-9 230 pound Matt Kemper (7.5 ppg, 5.9 rpg), who started the final month and a half of the season last year. Kemper, at 6'8, is able to step out and routinely knock down the perimeter jumper. He's also a very good rebounder who isn't afraid of contact.

- Adding depth in the post for Pacific are 6-foot-10, 220 pound red shirt freshman Tyler Newton, who can also knock down the perimeter jumper. Also the Tigers have 6-foot-7, 250-pound freshman forward Michael White who was originally scheduled to red shirt, but has since impressed his coach enough to earn his freshman season.

- Senior combo guard Miah Davis (10.1 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.5 apg) will be taking the floor as this year's point guard along side fellow combo guard Myree Bowden, who at 6'1, has a 43-inch vertical jump and is routinely identified as the team's best athlete.

- Other guards expected to see time in Alaska are 6-foot-5 senior Tom Cockle (6 ppg, 2.8 rpg), 6-foot-1 junior red-shirt David Doubley.

- Pacific has also been fortunate with the JUCO transfer scene with transfers Marko Mihailovic, 6-5, and Allan Purnell, 6-4.


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