Game Day: Duke (27-5) vs. Alabama St (16-14)

After an unpleasant end in the ACC Tournament, the Blue Devils look to start the final phase of the 2003-2004 season in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. First up are the champions of the SWAC, Alabama State. <I></I> takes a look at the match up and runs down all the notable information.

Game Facts:

The game will be broadcast regionally and nationally by CBS. The game is scheduled to tip-off at 7:10 PM at the RBC Center in Raleigh.

The Series:

The two programs have never met.


*- Duke, the No. 1 seed in the Atlanta Region, will be gunning for its fourth NCAA Tournament championship in 2004.

*- Duke will be competing in its 28th NCAA Tournament, and has a 29-5 record as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and earned national titles from this seed in 1992 and 2001.

*- Duke has played five previous NCAA Tournament games in Raleigh (4-1 record). Duke won opening and second round games in Raleigh in 1964 and 1966.

*- Shelden Williams, Daniel Ewing and Chris Duhon earned first team ACC All-Tournament honors in Greensboro, N.C. last week. Luol Deng was named to the second team.

*- Duke's entire regular starting five — Chris Duhon, J.J. Redick, Shelden Williams, Luol Deng and Daniel Ewing — each earned some kind of All-ACC recognition. Duhon was first team All-ACC, Redick and Williams second team, Deng third team and Ewing an honorable mention selection.

*- Deng was a unanimous selection to the ACC All-Freshman Team and Williams and Duhon were the top two vote-getters for the 2004 ACC All-Defensive Team (media vote).

*- Shelden Williams ranks in first place among active ACC players with 16 career double-doubles.

*- In the AP poll, Duke is one of only two teams in the nation to be ranked among the nation's top 10 all season (Connecticut is the other). The No. 6 Blue Devils have not been ranked lower than sixth all season

*- Duke earned a No. 1 seed in the Atlanta Region in 2004, marking the sixth time in the past seven seasons (eighth time overall) the Blue Devils have entered the NCAA Tournament as a No. 1 seed. Duke previously earned No. 1 seeds in 1986, 1992, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002.

*- Eighteen of Duke's 32 games this season came against teams that were invited to the 2004 NCAA Tournament. Duke posted a 14-4 (.778) record vs. teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament.

*- Duke has been very balanced offensively this season as five players — J.J. Redick (15.9), Luol Deng (14.7), Shelden Williams (12.8), Daniel Ewing (12.6) and Chris Duhon (10.5) — are averaging at least 10.0 points per game.

*- Duke has a 108-42 record during the month of March under Mike Krzyzewski. The Blue Devils have won 25 of their last 31 games in March dating back to the 2001 season.

*- Twelve of Duke's last 27 opponents have shot .400 or less from the floor, including .318 by 11thranked Texas on Dec. 20, .400 by fifth-ranked Michigan State on Dec. 3, .353 by fourth-ranked Wake Forest on Jan. 17, .377 by No. 14 Georgia Tech on Jan. 31 and .367 by No. 14 North Carolina on March 6

Meet the Hornets:

Probable Starting Lineup: 
   Malcolm Campbell (5-10, 160, G, Sr.) – 13.0 ppg, 3.3 apg
   Alexander Oliver (6-1, 183, G, So.) – 7.2 ppg, 1.7 rpg
   Rafael Golden (6-4, 185, G/F, Jr.) – 12.2 ppg, 4.9 rpg
   Jermaine Smith (6-4, 215, G/F, Jr.) – 5.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg
   Kevin Spicer (6-6, 235, F, Jr.) – 4.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg 
Key Reserves: 
   Xavier Oliver (6-7, 220, F, Sr.) – 5.8 ppg, 6.7 rpg
   Aklem Claborn (6-8, 230, F/C, Jr.) –5.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg
   Derrick Russell (6-10, 215, C, Jr.) – 4.4 ppg, 3.7 rpg
   Antquon Jones (6-3, 180, G/F, Jr.) – 3.3 ppg, 1.2 rpg

After losing to Alcorn State on January 24th, the Hornets had a closed door meeting in which they rededicated themselves to doing the things that would ultimately make them successful. The message was well received as Alabama State turned a 3-12 record into a 16-14 mark, winning the SWAC tournament along the way.

The Hornet offense begins with senior point guard Malcolm Campbell, a 5-10 spark plug who can kill you from the perimeter (42% 3-pt) or off dribble penetration. When Campbell works off the dribble he tries to get to the line or create a shot for the team's second leading scorer Rafael Golden.

Being a small team, the Hornets usually start a lineup of 6-foot-6 and under with Alexander Oliver (6'1) and Jermaine Smith (6'4) making up the frontcourt. Both have the ability to hit the open shot, and are good defenders, though neither possesses the ability to beat you by himself.

The man in the middle is also undersized – 6-foot-6 235 pound Kevin Spicer, who knows how to use his body's circumference to establish position for rebounding work, though isn't a real scoring threat in the paint.

Off the bench ASU has gotten help from 6-foot-7 Xavier Oliver, who is the team's most natural rebounder, and 6-foot-10 Derrick Russell who give ASU size, though can be foul prone against similar sized opponents. Neither Russell or Oliver is a good free throw shooter, both shooting under 58% on the season.

Overall ASU isn't going to win games with their shooting or by out-scoring their opponents. Instead they will try to put up good shots, play tough man-to-man defense, and have guards who are usually reliable from the line.

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