Krzyzewski will finally get a chance at revenge when the two teams meet in the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament.
The last time these teams met was in the opening round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament where the 11th seeded VCU defeated the sixth seeded Blue Devils. VCU overcame a 13 point first half deficit and never led by more than two points in the 79-77 upset victory. Rams guard Eric Maynor had a coming out party against Duke delivering 6 of his 22 points in the final 1:24 to go along with eight assists, three rebounds and three assists in the game. Maynor nailed a clutch basket with 1.8 seconds remaining to give VCU the lead that ultimately snapped two postseason streaks for the Blue Devils and more importantly put the Rams in the second round for the first time since 1985.
Due to the opening round loss, Duke had its streaks of nine straight Sweet Sixteen appearances and 10 straight first round victories snapped.
That year’s Blue Devils team featured players such as Josh McRoberts, Gerald Henderson, and Greg Paulus. Fast forward today and Krzyzewski gets to seek his revenge with the likes of Mason Plumlee, Seth Curry and Ryan Kelly. Three seniors that have begun the year looking determined to end their college careers on a high note.
Despite VCU’s impressive upset over the Memphis Tigers in first round action of the Battle 4 Atlantis, the Rams are running into the wrong team at the wrong time. Duke never looked concerned defeating the Minnesota Golden Golphers as every starter for the Blue Devils scored in double-figures. Plumlee had a double-double by half, finishing with 20 points and 17 rebounds. Meanwhile Curry exploded for 25 points and was a perfect 3 for 3 from three point range.
Expect more of the same for the Blue Devils against VCU as the Rams won’t be able to contain Duke’s fire power. The senior trio of Plumlee, Curry and Kelly are all too familiar with taking opponents lightly after the way last season ended. Any chance of Duke overlooking its opponent for the finals was already slim to none and that certainly hasn’t changed after the Rams statement victory over Memphis.
VCU has proven time and time again it can play against the big boys, but with Duke firing on all cylinders there isn’t going to be a second consecutive upset for the Rams. Besides, VCU already completed its goal for the tournament by proving the Rams can defeat ranked teams. Duke’s goal is to prove they are one of the nation’s top school’s after a preseason of hearing how it was going to be a step back season for the Blue Devils.
He’ll say it’s just another game but Coach K will finally be able feel a bit better over the image of Maynor driving to the paint, pulling up for a jumper and shooting over Duke’s Jon Scheyer for the win.