Expectations are once again high in Durham, as the Duke Blue Devils enter the 2017-18 college basketball season ranked No. 1. And with the nation’s top freshman class surrounding arguably the country’s most polarizing player in Grayson Allen, Mike Krzyweski’s squad is as intriguing as it is talented.
Throughout the season, most of Duke’s games will be broadcast on the ESPN networks (ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU) and ACC Network, while two games are scheduled for CBS and one for Fox. A complete schedule can be found here.
Fortunately for those who are without cable or simply would rather watch the games away from a TV, all of these channels can be watched online via your computer, your phone or another streaming device by signing up for one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services:
DirecTV Now: ESPN, ESPN2, ACC Network, CBS (live in select markets) and Fox (live in select markets) are included in all four of the base channel packages, while ESPNU is included in the “Just Right” package and above. The cheapest bundle is $35 per month, and the cheapest with ESPNU is $50 per month, but you get a free 7-day trial when you sign up, allowing you to watch a game or two at no cost.
How to Watch: You can watch ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, CBS and Fox on your computer via DirecTV Now’s website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the DirecTV Now app. For games on ACC Network, you can watch on your computer via WatchESPN.com, or on a streaming device via the WatchESPN app by signing in with your DirecTV Now credentials.
Sling TV: ESPN, ESPN2 and ACC Network are included in the “Sling Orange” base bundle at $20 per month, while ESPN U is part of the “Sports Extra” add-on for another $5 per month. Fox (live in select markets) is in “Sling Blue” at $25 per month (“Sling Orange + Blue” is $40 per month), while CBS is not available via this service. Like the above option, this comes with a free 7-day trial if you’re just trying to watch one particular game this week at no cost.
How to Watch: You can watch ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and Fox on your computer via Sling TV’s website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Sling TV app. For games on ACC Network, you can watch on your computer via WatchESPN.com, or on a streaming device via the WatchESPN app by signing in with your Sling TV credentials.
CBS All Access: If you’re just here trying to figure out how to watch a Duke basketball game that is being broadcast on CBS, your best option is CBS All Access, which allows you to watch a live stream of your local CBS channel (most markets included) for $5.99 per month. It also comes with a free 7-day trial.
How to Watch: You can watch on your computer via CBS.com (under “Live TV” and “CBS (Local Station)”), or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the CBS app.
There’s no shortage of interesting college basketball teams this season, but it’s hard not to put Duke at the top of that list.
Mike Krzyzewski has adapted to embrace the one-and-done type players in years past, but he has never had a team quite this young. Eight freshmen are on the roster, and potentially four of them–Marvin Bagley, Trevon Duval, Wendell Carter and Gary Trent Jr.–will be in the starting lineup. Every one of those players is a potential first-round pick, including Bagley who will be in the conversation for the No. 1 overall selection, so talent isn’t an issue. Instead, getting that youth and inexperience to gel will be Coach K’s biggest challenge.
Enter Grayson Allen, perhaps the nation’s most important player this season.
It’s been a roller-coaster ride for Allen during his time in Durham. As a freshman, he was used sparingly throughout the year before coming up with two huge games in the Final Four and national championship to help lead the Blue Devils to a title. As a sophomore, he took the expected leap into stardom, averaging 21.6 points per game. As a junior, with preseason National Player of the Year expectations, he battled injuries, technical fouls and suspensions, ending the year with a disappointing 14.5 points on 39.5 percent shooting.
Now, as a senior, Allen is not only expected to be the team’s leading scorer and go-to option offensively, but with four freshmen around him, he’ll be counted on for his leadership. He is the glue that will need to hold this talented-but-inexperienced roster together.
“I can’t stress how much we really need him to lead us through this year,″ said sophomore Marques Bolden. “He is a great player and our leader. He needs to do a good job at both for us to get where we want to be.″
Put it all together, and it’s going to be fascinating to see how this team progresses. From a talent standpoint, there’s no reason not to regard them as the national title favorites. They have five potential first-round picks. Allen and Trent Jr. can stretch the floor. Bagley and Carter should own the glass on both ends. And while defense has often been Duke’s downfall in the past, they have the size to be really disruptive on that end of the court.
“It’s different because it’s so wide,” Krzyzewski said, referring to Duke’s 2-3 zone that can feature three players who are 6-foot-10 or bigger. “It gives us an opportunity to play three bigs, because Marvin can be at the perimeter, and Wendell’s a really good basketball player. He’s a really good basketball player who happens to be big.”
With so much youth it wouldn’t be all that surprising if Duke got off to a slow start this year. But come March, it would be surprising if the Blue Devils weren’t right in the middle of the national title picture.