Jacksonville vs Duke: 2022-23 college basketball game preview, TV schedule

Jacksonville and Duke matchup on opening night; can the Dolphins pull an enormous upset or will it be smooth sailing for the Blue Devils?

TV schedule: Monday, November 7, 7:00 pm ET. ACCN
Arena: Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, North Carolina

Jacksonville engineered a major turnaround last year in Jordan Mincy’s first season as head coach, winning 21 games and leading the Dolphins to the title game of the A-Sun Tournament. Expectations are high for the Dolphins in Mincy’s second campaign, with the program picked to finish second in conference by the preseason poll.

Among the players to watch is Kevion Nolan, a senior point guard who averaged 13.9 points a game last year and led the Dolphins in scoring. Nolan isn’t the only major player returning this season, as former starting guard Jordan Davis is back, as is much of their frontcourt talent. Jacksonville will also introduce a slew of new faces into the rotation, including Illinois transfer Omar Payne and NJIT transfer Dylan O’Hearn.

In the initial KenPom poll, Jacksonville sits 172nd, also ranking second among the teams in the A-Sun. Mincy’s first season saw dramatic improvement for the Dolphins, especially for an offense that was among the nation’s worst in recent years. They were a solid rebounding team that played at a slow pace with efficient defense, but how will that translate into this season?

Across the court, it’s an exciting new era at Duke, with Jon Scheyer making his debut as the head coach of the Blue Devils after 42 seasons under Coach K. Duke ran all the way to the Final Four last season before a disappointing ending to rival North Carolina in the national semifinal. While they were picked behind their rivals again this season, there’s plenty of reason for excitement in Durham.

First and foremost, the Blue Devils landed a treasure chest of prospects, with freshmen Kyle Filipowski, Dereck Lively II, and Dariq Whitehead all among the Top 5 national recruits. The glue of this team will certainly be Jeremy Roach, the junior point guard and lone returning starter from the Final Four run. An exciting new addition for the Blue Devils is former Illinois sharpshooter Jacob Grandison, who can play all over the court and will bolster the team’s perimeter shooting.

The Blue Devils sit 15th in KenPom’s rankings but sit 7th in the initial AP Top 25 Poll. Last year’s squad led the nation in offensive efficiency and this year’s team should challenge for that honor again, but things will clearly be different. There’s a lot of youth and size in this frontcourt, with the Blue Devils depending heavily on the veteran presence of players like Grandison and Roach.

This season opener clearly favors Duke at home, but there’s no reason for despair for the Dolphins. They’ve certainly got more pieces intact from last season and give their defense a ridiculous first test to start the new campaign. They’ll need to find a way to contain those Duke bigs, though that’s asking a lot from players like Payne and Osayi Osifo.

The Blue Devils get an up-and-coming mid-major opponent, but one they should outmuscle and handle on opening night, even as new pieces adjust to the college game. Expect pieces like Lively and Whitehead to get their careers off to solid starts, while it’ll be interesting to watch how Roach fares leading this attack. It’s also fair to expect opening night jitters from both programs, though Jacksonville shouldn’t exactly fold completely.

Prediction: Duke 77, Jacksonville 60