Durham, NC (Sports Network) - The eighth-ranked Duke Blue Devils begin the
2012-13 season with a great deal of optimism and perhaps a bit of a chip on
their shoulder as they take on the Georgia State Panthers at Cameron Indoor
Duke posted a 27-win season last year, finishing second in the ACC behind
rival North Carolina. However, the year ended abruptly with a first-round exit
in the NCAA Tournament, getting upset by 15th-seeded Lehigh. The Blue Devils
have won 94 straight non-conference home games, the longest such streak in the
The Panthers are a team on the rise, after posting 22 wins in Ron Hunter's
first season at the helm. Despite the impressive win total, the team finished
a modest sixth in the Colonial Athletic Association (11-7).
This is the first-ever meeting between these two teams.
Ron Hunter's debut with the Panthers was certainly a successful one. Half of
the wins came in conference play and the hope is that the team can maintain
its strong play in Hunter's second season. Gone are four of last year's five
starters however, leaving Hunter with plenty of work to do. The lone holdout
is point guard Devonta White (12.9 ppg). Virginia Tech transfer Manny Atkins
(6-6, 205) will finally get on the floor for Georgia State, and he could
certainly help. Other newcomers of note include Markus Crider (6-6, 205) and
R.J. (6-5 guard), the coach's son. The starting five to begin the season is
rounded out by 6-10 senior center James Vincent.
The Blue Devils won 27 games last year, but Mike Krzyzewski's squad faltered
down the stretch, including an early exit from the NCAA Tournament. Duke
hasn't missed a Big Dance since 1985 and it isn't likely that the streak will
end this season. There are holes to fill with the departures of Austin Rivers,
Miles Plumlee, and Andre Dawkins, who decided to take a redshirt season to
deal with some personal issues. However, Coach K still has plenty to work
with. The backcourt has plenty of depth with junior Tyler Thornton, senior
Seth Curry (13.2 ppg), sophomore Quinn Cook (6-1, 175) and freshman Rasheed
Sulaimon (6-4, 185), who was a McDonald's All-American. There is depth up
front as well, with Mason Plumlee (11.1 ppg, 9.2 rpg) and Ryan Kelly (11.8
ppg) leading the way. Redshirt freshmen Marshall Plumlee (6-11, 225) and Alex
Murphy (6-8, 220) will get plenty of minutes as well.
The Sports Network