Duke, defending national champion UConn to play this season

lkeeley@newsobserver.comApril 23, 2014 

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Duke forward Rodney Hood (5) and teammate forward Jabari Parker (1) go up to contest a second half shot by ECU forward Brandan Stith (25). Hood and Parker combined for 51 points in the win as the Blue Devils defeated the Pirates 83-74 at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C. on Tuesday Nov. 19, 2013.

CHUCK LIDDY — cliddy@newsobserver.com Buy Photo

Duke is in talks with Connecticut about playing a nonconference game next season at the Izod Center in the Meadowlands, the school confirmed Wednesday. A date has not yet been set.

The game against the defending national champion Huskies, which was first reported by ESPN, will be another trip to the New York metro area, a favorite of the Blue Devils. Duke is already scheduled to play in the Coaches Vs. Cancer Classic in the Brooklyn Barclays Center, along with UNLV, Stanford and Temple. Duke has played at least one game in the New York area, where the school’s largest alumni base resides, annually since the 2003-04 season.

The Blue Devils will also play Michigan State in the Champions Classic, which will be held this year in Indianapolis, and will most likely be on the road for the ACC-Big 10 challenge.

Duke is 20-1 in the Izod Center, with the lone loss coming in 1989 to Arizona. Ten of those wins came in the NCAA Tournament, including one over UConn on March 24, 1990, a 79-78 overtime win on a Christian Laettner last-second jumper that sent the Blue Devils to the Final Four. Duke leads the all-time series over the Huskies 5-4.

It’s hard to predict how similar UConn will look to its 2014 national title team—Shabazz Napier graduates, and rising seniors Ryan Boatright and DeAndre Daniels have yet to annouce if they will leave for the NBA. Former N.C. State guard Rodney Purvis will suit up for the Huskies after sitting out last season.

Duke returns two starters in Rasheed Sulaimon and Amile Jefferson, as well as rising senior point guard Quinn Cook, and welcomes the top recruiting class, with four McDonald’s all-Americans, to campus for next season.

Keeley: 919-829-4556; Twitter: @laurakeeley

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