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Duke Now is your place for Blue Devil hoops and football. Beat writer Laura Keeley has up-to-the-minute news and analysis. Columnist Luke DeCock also contributes. Follow us on Twitter at @laurakeeley or @accnow.

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Game Preview: Duke at Miami


There will be plenty of big men for Duke to attempt to slow in Miami. Credit: CHUCK LIDDY

Duke at Miami
When:
7:00 p.m.
Where: BankUnited Center, Coral Gables, Fla.
TV/Radio: ESPN/WKIX-102.9 FM
Compelling preview: Miami has plenty of what Mike Krzyzewski considers the most valuable asset in college basketball.

Projected starting lineups:

No. 1 Duke (16-1, 3-1 in the ACC)
G Quinn Cook, So., 11.5 ppg, 6.1 apg
G Seth Curry, Sr., 16.9 ppg, 2.0 rpg
G Rasheed Sulaimon, Fr., 11.0 ppg, 3.6 rpg
F Josh Hairston, Jr., 1.9 ppg, 2.2 rpg
F Mason Plumlee, Sr., 17.4 ppg, 11.5 rpg

No. 25 Miami (13-3, 4-0)
G Shane Larkin, So., 12.2 ppg, 3.9 apg
G Durand Scott, Sr., 13.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg
G Trey McKinney Jones, r-Sr., 9.8 ppg, 4.0 rpg
F/C Kenny Kadji, Jr, r-Sr., 12.6 ppg, 7.3 rpg
F/C Julian Gamble, r-Sr., 6.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg

Player to watch:

Two-in-three a challenge for Wolfpack

N.C. State has a short turn-around for Tuesday's trip to Wake Forest. The Wolfpack lost the back end of both of its two-games-in-three-days sets last season.

The Wolfpack beat Clemson 66-62 on Sunday at home and will play Wake Forest on Tuesday.

Last season, the Wolfpack beat Miami on Jan. 26 and then lost at UNC on Jan. 28. It then lost an emotional game at Duke on Feb. 16 and got flattened at home by Florida State on Feb. 18.

Duke back to No. 1 in the polls


The Blue Devils are on top of the polls once again. Credit: CHUCK LIDDY

It took Duke just one week to get back to the top of the polls, as the Blue Devils were ranked No. 1 in both the AP and USA Today Coaches polls released Monday. It is the fifth week this season that Duke has held the top spot.

The Blue Devils (16-1, 3-1) received 39 of 65 possible first-place votes. Michigan, ranked No. 2, received 11 first-place votes, and the remainder were split between Kansas (seven) and No. 4 Syracuse (8), which tied for the No. 3 spot.

Because there aren't any clear elite teams this year—strong cases could (and have) been made to rank Duke, Michigan, Kansas, Syracuse, Louisville, Arizona and Florida at No. 1—voting is a bit tricky. Seth Davis expounded on this idea in his weekly Fast Break column, which you should read every week, if you don't already:

Blair Holliday back at Duke


Blair Holliday, seen here with his mother, Leslie, will return to Duke as an employee this semester. Credit: CHUCK LIDDY

Before the start of the spring semester, Blair Holliday's application to return to Duke was denied, and his next move was unclear. Now, he has returned to Durham and is working with the school to take the next step in his recovery process.

Holliday was at the Duke football banquet Friday night, and he is back living in Durham, Leslie Holliday, his mother, said. The school is working to find him a job for the semester, possibly in the athletic department.

"He'll fill out an application, and they will place him where they feel it's appropriate," Leslie Holliday said.

Weekend wake up: Something to prove


Duke is now 1-1 without Ryan Kelly. Credit: CHUCK LIDDY.

Every Saturday, the News & Observer takes a look around the ACC. That also provides an opportunity to check in with the Blue Devils and look for any emerging trends.

Duke was eager to take the floor against Georgia Tech. As assistant coach Steve Wojciechowski said earlier in the week, the Blue Devils were 0-1 without injured starter Ryan Kelly, and they had something to prove.

“A lot of people outside the gym think that we can’t be successful without Ryan,” Tyler Thornton said before the game against the Yellow Jackets. “Ryan is a big piece of our team, but we have other guys that our coaching staff recruited here for a reason. We’re all excited just to be able to come in and show what we can do.”

Postgame: thoughts from Duke's 73-57 win over Georgia Tech

DURHAM—Mason Plumlee was asked about the good looks he had at the basket in the first half of Duke's win over Georgia Tech, and he interrupted the question.

"They were great looks," he said. "Man, I might never get those looks again. I've got to to finish."

Plumlee went 2-for-12 in the first half for six total points. In the second half, though, he found his touch—"You've got to shoot through it," he said—and finished 7-for-20 for 16 points. The 20 attempts were a career high, topping the 16 he had against Marquette as a sophomore.

Duke rolls to 73-57 win over Georgia Tech

Updated 12:02 a.m.

DURHAM -- The Blue Devils knew that they would be a different team without Ryan Kelly. And against the team at the bottom of the ACC standings, it took them one half to find their flow. But once they did, they rolled to a 73-57 victory over Georgia Tech.

"We have to find a new identity," Mason Plumlee said. "We are a different team without Ryan, and whatever that is, we have to find it and play to our strengths."

Duke (16-1, 3-1 in the ACC) trailed at the half for only the third time this year. But as soon as the second half started, the Blue Devils took steps toward finding that new look and promptly went on a 19-4 run.

On the first play of the second half, Duke forced a Georgia Tech miss. Rasheed Sulaimon picked up the loose-ball rebound, and fed it ahead to Quinn Cook, who stopped and nailed a 3-pointer to give Duke the lead.

And the Blue Devils never trailed again.

Game Preview: Duke vs. Georgia Tech


Mason Plumlee and the rest of the Blue Devils are eager to get back to their winnings ways against Georgia Tech. Credit: ETHAN HYMAN

Duke vs. Georgia Tech
When:
9:05 p.m.
Where: Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham
TV/Radio: ESPN/WKIX-102.9 FM
And? Duke tried to move to 1-1 in its new season

Projected starting lineups:

No. 3 Duke (15-1, 2-1 in the ACC)
G Quinn Cook, So., 11.8 ppg, 6.2 apg
G Seth Curry, Sr., 16.4 ppg, 2.0 rpg
G Rasheed Sulaimon, Fr., 10.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg
F Josh Hairston, Jr., 2.1 ppg, 2.3 rpg
F Mason Plumlee, Sr., 17.5 ppg, 11.4 rpg

Georgia Tech (10-5, 0-3)
G Mfon Udofia, Sr., 10.0 ppg, 3.2 apg
G Brandon Reed, r-Jr., 5.4 ppg, 2.9 rpg
G/F Marcus Georges-Hunt, Fr., 10.9 ppg, 4.4 rpg
F Robert Carter, Jr, Fr., 10.1 ppg, 6.5 rpg
C Daniel Miller, r-Jr., 7.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg

Player to watch:

Hank Aaron visits Cameron Indoor Stadium

As one of the most storied venues in college sports, Cameron Indoor Stadium draws noteworthy visitors from time to time. On Wednesday, just before Duke was scheduled to practice, Hank Aaron, who had been in town for a few days, stopped by the see the gym for himself.

Once the team came on the floor, they took a group picture with the baseball Hall of Fame member. Aaron also briefly addressed the group.

“Nobody was expecting him to be there, and it was exciting for everybody,” Tyler Thornton said. “He’s one of the most legendary athletes of all time, especially for the African-American community.”

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Life without Ryan Kelly: the new normal for Duke


Ryan Kelly, dressed in street clothes, is out indefinitely. Amile Jefferson, two down on his right, is probably Duke's best option at replacing him. Credit: CHUCK LIDDY

DURHAM—Remember when Duke opened its season with 15 straight victories, including three wins over top-5 opponents?

That’s all in the past now, as one of the key components to that early run, Ryan Kelly is out indefinitely with a foot injury. Duke is a markedly different team without him.

“This is a new team,” assistant coach Steve Wojciechowski said on his weekly radio show Monday. “The team went 15-0 was the team that had Ryan Kelly. The team without Ryan Kelly is 0-1. And so, the group that is healthy has to figure out how we win.”