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Duke Blue Devils

1. Duke Green. Not that the .500 record in ACC play this year was a tipoff or anything, but this is one of the youngest Duke squads in history. The only senior on this year's team is Joe Pagliuca, who's seen his minutes steadily decline from year to year: from 9 to 7 to 4 to 2. DeMarcus Nelson, the team's leading scorer, is the only junior on the squad, and after that it's six sophs and six freshmen. Early trips to the Association meant that the starting lineup could have looked like Livingston-Paulus-Nelson-Deng-McRoberts this year, but given that the NBA saved Duke fans another year of Shavlik Randolph in '06, I think that most would agree it evens out.

2. Coach K Prepares You For Life, Coach Dan Brooks Just Wins Championships. We know about Dukies in the NBA. But what about other sports? Duke has five players in the NFL, none of whom were drafted and only one of whom (Ryan Fowler, LB, Cowboys) played a snap last season. Duke also has five MLB players, most notably Chris Capuano, Scott Schoeneweis and Quinton McCracken (still alive... shocking!). The school that once produced Sonny Jurgensen and Lawrence "Crash" Davis (yes, he was real) can take pride in its other main athletic export, however: LPGA players! Brittany Lang, Virada Nirapathpongporn, Candy Hannemann and Kristina Engstrom all have their tour cards for '07, and the Duke women's golf team has won four NCAA titles in the last ten years (including the past two) in addition to 11 straight ACC championships.

3. A Gaudet Record. You may recall the Mike Krzyzewski/Pete Gaudet Record Fiasco of 1995, especially when Billy "Why Is A 700 Year Old Man Still Calling Himself Billy?" Packer frothed over it during a telecast this year in the midst of Duke's longest losing streak in 11 years. Sadly for Duke haters, much of the conventional wisdom regarding the case is faulty; the record decision was made when the team was 9-3 before Gaudet had even coached a game, so you'll either have to chalk it up to a premonition on Coach K's part, an evil NCAA conspiracy (so the most famous coach in college hoops can't just say "go back and change it?"), or just the usual standby: Satan. But where, you may ask, is Pete Gaudet now? He parlayed 12 years on the Duke bench into... the video coordinator position for the OSU women's hoops team. I am in no way judging that career choice. — Matt DeTura


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