There are so many fascinating storylines to Monday night’s game between Syracuse basketball and Duke from Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C.
Every time that the Orange (13-6, 7-5) and the Blue Devils (10-8, 8-6) compete against each other, we can talk about the Hall of Fame head coaches who roam the sidelines for these two teams.
The ‘Cuse boss, Jim Boeheim, and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski are good friends and two of the most prolific head coaches in the history of the sport.
Each has amassed more than 1,000 career victories (whatever, NCAA), captured at least one national title (Krzyzewski has five) and reached numerous Final Fours.
I will feel sad when the time comes at some point down the road where neither Boeheim nor Krzyzewski is leading their respective squad.
So there’s that storyline. Of course, there’s the whole dramafest regarding Boeheim’s recent comments about Duke freshman forward Jalen Johnson, and the criticism that Boeheim faced as a result.
While I wouldn’t call the Orange and the Blue Devils heated rivals (that’s Georgetown for the ‘Cuse, and North Carolina for Duke, if you ask me), Syracuse basketball and Duke have played some terrific games in recent years since the Orange moved from the Big East Conference to the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2013-14.
But perhaps the most intriguing storyline for this particular ACC clash is where both groups reside as it pertains to the 2021 NCAA Tournament. And some national writers seem to agree.
Syracuse basketball heads to Duke for a duel between bubble bunches.
In a tweet on Monday afternoon, ESPN.com writer John Gasaway said in part, “It may sound hyperbolic, but Syracuse vs. Duke really is the biggest Bubble Armageddon in the history of basketball by a factor of a million.”
Love it. You see, Duke usually is contending for an ACC crown and a No. 1 seed in the Big Dance. But in the 2020-21 campaign, a stanza unlike any other amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Blue Devils have struggled.
For the Orange, as ‘Cuse fanatics know all too well, Syracuse basketball has been on the proverbial bubble virtually every season since becoming an ACC member, although the team has made some noise in a few NCAA tourneys.
Monday evening’s battle is a pivotal one for both the ‘Cuse and Duke as each looks to improve its March Madness resume. It should certainly make for an entertaining encounter, and hopefully, Syracuse basketball prevails.
Check out what CBS Sports college basketball insider Jon Rothstein had to say, in part, about this tantalizing affair. “A standalone game between two Hall-of-Famers? Sign me up. A standalone game between Syracuse and Duke just 48 hours after the Blue Devils had their biggest victory of the season? You had me at hello.”
We agree, Jon. We wholeheartedly agree.