Game Day: Duke (22-3) vs. Valparaiso (13-11)

Before heading down the final stretch of league games, the Blue Devils take a step back to host non-conference foe Valparaiso. While it should be an easy win for Duke, the Crusaders do have the look of an early round NCAA foe. <I></I> takes a look at the match up and runs down the important facts.

Game Facts:

The game will be televised nationally by espn2 with Dave O'Brien (play-by-play) and Brad Daugherty (color) calling the action. Tipoff is set for 9:05 PM.

The Series:

This will mark the first time that Duke and Valparaiso will meet in basketball. This is also Duke's first game against a Mid-Continent Conference team.


  • Duke has won 25 in a row over non-conference opponents in Cameron Indoor Stadium dating back to the St. John's loss on Feb. 26, 2000

  • Duke is only one of two teams in the nation to be ranked among the nation's top 10 all season (Connecticut is the other). The No. 3 Blue Devils have not been ranked lower than sixth all season.

  • Of the 790 games coached at Duke by Mike Krzyzewski, 651 of them have come as a ranked team (82 percent). Duke's record as a ranked team is 535-116. Of those 651 contests, 163 have come as the No. 1 team in the country (144-19 record)

  • Shelden Williams ranks second among active ACC players with 13 career double-doubles (North Carolina's Sean May has 14 to lead the league). Also, Chris Duhon became Duke's all-time steals leader with four thefts vs. Virginia on Feb. 11. Duhon now has 273 career thefts to his credit. He

  • The NABC released its All-District teams and three Duke standouts — J.J. Redick, Chris Duhon and Shelden Williams — made the District 5 first team. Duke was the only team in the country to have three honorees on an All-District first team.

  • Duke has been very balanced offensively this season as six players — J.J. Redick (16.8), Luol Deng (14.4), Shelden Williams (12.4), Daniel Ewing (11.6), Chris Duhon (10.0) and Shavlik Randolph (7.4) — are averaging at least 7.4 points per game.

  • Duke has held 12 of 25 opponents to 60 points or less this season. Under Mike Krzyzewski, this ranks behind only the 1997-98 team (13 games) and is tied with the 1996-97 squad (12 games).

  • The Blue Devils' free throw percentage is .738 (423-of-573). Duke has made 423 foul shots while its opponents have attempted just 420. The .738 free throw percentage is the best for Duke since connecting on .742 of its foul shots in 1999-2000. J.J. Redick has connected on 104-of-107 foul shots this season for a national-best .972 free throw percentage.

  • The Blue Devils have blocked 166 shots in 2003-04 for an average of 6.6 per contest. As a point of reference, the single-season school record for blocks is 6.3 in 1998-99. Shelden Williams has blocked a team- and ACC-best 80 shots this season, while Shavlik Randolph (41) and Luol Deng (26) each have at least 26 rejections so far this year. Williams leads the league in blocked shots, Randolph ranks third and Deng is 10th among the ACC leaders.

  • Including its No. 5 ranking in the AP poll this week, Duke has now been ranked in 145 consecutive AP polls, the longest such streak in the nation. The Blue Devils have been ranked in the top 10 in 83 of the last 84 AP polls.

  • Mike Krzyzewski has coached in 163 games with his Blue Devils as the nation's No. 1 team (AP poll only), compiling a 144-19 (.883) record. Coach K's 163 games at No. 1 rank second all-time in NCAA history behind UCLA's John Wooden who coached 228 games at number one.

  • Duke has a 140-53 record during the month of February under Mike Krzyzewski. The Blue Devils have won eight of their last 10 games in February dating back to last season. Duke is 4-2 during February of 2004.

    Meet the Crusaders:

    Probable Starting Lineup: 
       Roberto Nieves (6-4, 195, G, Sr.) – 6.8 ppg, 1.3 apg, 3.2 rpg
       Miquel Ali Berdiel (6-6, 210, G, Jr.) – 11.5 ppg, 6.3 apg
       Oumar Sylla (6-7, 195, F, Fr.) – 4.6 ppg, 2.7 rpg
       Dan Oppland (6-8, 225, F, So.) – 15.3 ppg, 6.9 rpg
       Joaquim Gomes (6-8, 223, C, Sr.) – 12.5 ppg, 9.2 rpg
    Key Reserves: 
       Seth Colclasure (6-2, 175, G, So.) – 3.0 ppg
       Ron Howard (6-5, 187, F, So.) – 7.3 ppg
       Kenny Harris (6-10, 310, C, Fr.) – 4.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg
       Greg Tonagel (6-3, 190, G, Sr.) – 6.3 ppg, 2.7 apg
       Jimmie Miles (6-2, 185, G, Fr.) – 6.2 ppg, 1.4 rpg

    The Crusaders enter the game with a 13-11 mark on the year, including a 10-5 record in the Mid-Continent Conference. The Valpo offense begins in the paint where a pair of 6-foot-8 forwards are having the best seasons of their careers. The ‘center' position is manned by 6-foot-8 Joaquim Gomes, a versatile big guy who does a little bit of everything. Gomes can step out and knock down the three, take his man off the dribble, and he's a very good rebounder.

    Lining up beside Gomes will be 6-foot-8 Dan Oppland, who's leading the team in scoring and is probably the best pure talent on the Crusaders' roster. Despite being a forward, Oppland has been known to check other guards.

    The Valpo wings have been very good at times this year, and then non existent at others. The defensive stopper has been Oumar Sylia, who is working to become more consistent on the offensive end. The other wing is Roberto Nieves, who loves to shoot the three and will either knock them down during long hot stretches, or he'll fire up a string of air balls, with not a lot in between.

    The point guard position is interesting as Valpo brings 6-foot-6 Miquel Ali Berdiel to the table. The long and lanky guard has good court vision and uses his long arms to get into passing lanes and frustrate smaller defenders. Despite running the team very efficiently this season, he sometimes tries to take on too much of the scoring load and can get into trouble. His season high has been 28 points against Oral Roberts.

    The Valpo bench is very deep with four guards coming off the bench, including a pair of very productive freshmen in Greg Tonagel and Jimmie Miles, both of whom are hitting from around seven points per game. There's also Kenny Harris, who's built like Shaq (6-10, 310 pounds), but has major problems with stamina at times, which limits his effectiveness. Still, he's a terrific passer for a big guy and has had a few stretches where he's logged double figure points a few times this season.

    Thanks to Duke Sports Information for much of this information, and the AP for use of the photo.

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