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Sleeping with the Enemy: The Blue Devils of Duke

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Hoya Saxa! Your Fighting Hoyas of Georgetown take on the evil Blue Devils of Duke in the finals of the 2K Classic on Sunday, and as usual we here at THE GLOBAL PHENOMENON are bringing you everything you need to know about Georgetown's next opponent.  Here with us to dish on all things Duke are our best buddies over at Crazie Talk, your trusted source for all of your Blue Devils needs. Let's do this!

Duke! How does it feel to be the defending National Champs?

It feels great. I think there's been a sense of calm that's swept over the fanbase after adding that fifth banner in Cameron earlier this year. Whatever happens this year is gravy, because expectations can't possibly compare to last year. So we're just enjoying the ride.

What explains Duke's recent recruiting success?  Even by Duke's high standards, the recruiting has been through the roof.  Is it Jeff Capel?  Coach K's newfound love of one and dones?  Something else that you can't talk about here but you speak of in low whispers at parties?

Capel's definitely a huge part of it. The guy has been absolutely on fire in terms of leading recruiting efforts for guys like Rodney Hood, Jabari Parker, Justise Winslow, Tyus Jones, and Jahlil Okafor - to name a few. I think a lot's been made of K's "newfound" love for one and dones. Duke has recruited one and done talent for a long time. Deng was probably the first guy in 2004 who was recruited with the notion that he'll probably be gone after one year. There's been a steady stream of them since 2010 - starting with Kyrie Irving. I think it's just a matter of adjusting to the mentality that a lot of top high school kids come up with, and balancing that one and done talent with upperclassman leadership.

Who are the main guys that the Hoyas need to watch out for on Sunday?

It's kind of weird. We're still trying to figure out this squad, so it's hard to tell. Grayson Allen has been the leading scorer, taking on that mantle by default. He makes his living by driving into the paint, rather than settling for jump shots. Brandon Ingram is the only freshman that starts, but he's been somewhat underwhelming on both sides of the ball. He's shot the ball pretty poorly the past 2 games against Kentucky and VCU, but he's still getting used to playing for real against quality competition.

Other guys who will sneak up on you: PG Derryck Thornton. Much ado was made about Duke's lack of a point guard against Kentucky, but we have one and he's growing up pretty fast. Thornton reclassified into this year's class, skipping his final year of high school to enroll early. He's young, but he took Allen's starting role last night and took full advantage with 19 points and 4 assists.

None of the freshmen found the bottom of the net until the first half was almost over against Kentucky and Grayson Allen struggled. Your upperclassmen (seriously, the Plumlee pipeline is neverending...) stepped up, but how does the ceiling for this group compare with last year's team?

The freshmen looked very, very young on Tuesday, which is to be expected. Plumlee and Jefferson were pretty fantastic against an ultra-athletic Kentucky frontcourt, but everyone else left much to be desired. In my opinion, a lot of that had to do with inexperience. Grayson had never been the #1 focus for an elite defensive team before (keep in mind, he only averaged 3 shots a game last year. This year, he's averaging 14.)

I think this group's ceiling is high - and they could definitely end up as a Final Four caliber team - but it's going to take some time to get there.

Side note - that Plumlee pipeline started when we were freshmen at Duke. It'll end in 2016 after 8 ridiculous years. What a family.

Durham has become something of a foodie town.  Best new restaurant?  Favorite food?  Asking for a friend.

I haven't lived in Durham since graduating in 2012, but I've heard from friends that there's a new Italian placed called Gocciolina. It's in a glorified strip mall, which is often a very good sign in the South.

What is your perception of the Georgetown basketball program and the new Big East, generally?

My perception is that Georgetown is always a tough, disciplined team that has issues in the tournament. I respect JTIII and the program's legacy. After watching the 30 for 30 on the old Big East, it was hard not to love the Ewing/Thompson against the world narrative. I think it'd be great for the college game for the Hoyas to be a powerhouse, perennial top 10 program. All these young bloods might not remember that era, and if Georgetown were more consistent, those narratives would be all over the media.

As for the Big East, I honestly had to Google it to remind myself who's in the league. Realignment did the Big East dirtier than anyone else. It's been cool having Syracuse in the ACC, I guess, but that you have to force your game against them into early December this year is ridiculous. You should have the chance to play at least twice a year.

Discussion topic: Infractions! Syracuse's penalties were too lenient.  Louisville's should be harsh.  North Carolina deserves the death penalty.  Please discuss.  (Bonus:  with NCAA sanctions looming, how the hell is Carolina getting all of these top recruits, like Seventh Woods?)

I only care about UNC, so I'll just tackle that. It scares me to think that the Heels might get away with the most extensive structural corruption in the history of college sports. Their own professors are writing books about it already.

The news has been all over the place, so it's a hard story to figure out. The narrative among the Internet's Duke and State fans (but mostly State fans, because they're absolutely, hilariously nuts) is that UNC is trying to protect men's basketball at all costs. It's the cash cow, and the "brand" of the school.

Dan Kane, the heroic journalist that spurred all of this, drew attention to the school's discrepancy in treatment for Roy and women's coach Sylvia Hatchell. But this article from SB Nation says there's basically no smoking gun in the Notice of Allegations, and that the NCAA has made it as broad and generic as possible. The argument is basically "if all students benefited from the fake classes, why punish the athletes and not the other students?" It's basically the NCAA and a renowned public university doing this: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

It's a terrible irony that UNC athletics would be more likely to be punished harshly if just one or two "student athletes" cheated, instead hundreds and hundreds of students. Rashad McCants, of all people, was the Cassandra, but he's been ostracized as an unreliable narrator. The University and the boosters have closed ranks and there's a lot of money at stake. These are the times we live in! The losers are the blameless UNC alums who might get asked about their academic records when applying for grad school or a job. The winners are the lawyers.

How annoying is to Duke fans that that UVA has managed to win the ACC regular season championship in consecutive years?

Not that annoying. I welcome a strong UVA program to replace for the Maryland rivalry. Our win on their floor last year was my second favorite moment after the title game. It was the birth of Tyus Stones. Virginia is also the only school in the ACC that's preppier than Duke. It's fun seeing these guys try to figure out what to do with a good basketball team. They did need a diversion other than "strolling the grounds" and talking about "Mr. Jefferson."

It's hard not to like Tony Bennett and Malcolm Brogdon is the most non-Duke player Duke type since Gordon Hayward. Given our youth this year, I think the regular season will come down to UVA and UNC. We'd of course prefer the Hoos.

Do you embrace the widespread notion that Duke is one of the more hated programs in the country?  You guys are like the best wrestling heel ever.  In fact, which WWE wrestler would you compare the Duke hoops program to?

I was at the VCU game, and I heard some drunk New Jersey sounding dude behind me talking to his middle aged buddies. "There's nothing that gets Jerry riled up like Duke." Jerry, a few seats down, bellowed "I fucking HATE Duke." This is why we play the game.

I don't know anything about WWE, man! I'm a Duke alum.

The last time our two squads met back in 2010, the Hoyas blasted the Blue Devils at Verizon Center in front of a sellout crowd that included President Barack Obama.  No question here.

The last time our two squads met back in 2010, Duke went 18-1 to finish the year on route to our 18th ACC Tournament Championship and hung our fourth National Championship banner. I hope that answers the question.

(Casual Note: Dammit.)

Final Score Prediction?

Duke wins 75-72.