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Better Know A Super Regional Opponent: the Duke Blue Devils

Oh look, Coach K is bringing his G-League franchise to Nashville.

Duke v Kansas Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The School: Duke University. An academically-elite school formerly affiliated with the Methodist Church, named for a billionaire industrialist, and located near Interstate 40. This sounds vaguely familiar but I can’t quite put my finger on why.

Location: Durham, North Carolina, best known as the setting of Bull Durham, a 1980s rom-com masquerading as a movie about baseball.

The Mascot: The Blue Devil, though really, at this point it might as well be Mike Krzyzewski.

Record: 34-25, 15-15 in the ACC.

How’d they get here? After going .500 in the ACC, they won the Morgantown Regional when hardthrowing righthander Ebby “Nuke” Laloosh finally was able to control his fastball.

Best win: While they can claim wins over super regional teams ECU and Texas Tech, and they beat Texas A&M twice in the regional, really their best performance was sweeping a three-game series against Lehigh to open the season. That exorcised a lot of demons from losing to 15-seed Lehigh in the 2012 NCAA Tournament.

Most embarrassing loss: Lost 6-1 to the Durham Bulls, a fictional baseball team from a movie. Also lost two games to Penn back in March.

Most terrifying batter: Kennie Taylor, taken in the 14th round of the MLB Draft, is the closest thing Duke has to “terrifying” in the lineup with a .324/.388/.512 triple slash line. That is not terrifying, though.

Best pitcher: This would be 4th round draft pick Graeme Stinson, but he hasn’t pitched since March. Instead, we’ll go with closer Thomas Girard, who struck out 61 in 46 innings and allowed just a .171 batting average. If Duke actually has a lead in the ninth, it could be tough to come back.

Best NCAA Tournament result: Made it to Omaha in 1952, 1953, and 1961. Then they went 55 years between tournament appearances. But this is their second year in a row making the Super Regionals.

Should Vanderbilt be scared? Not really? If you can win a regional, it’s hard to say you’re a bad team, but Vanderbilt is a heavy favorite this weekend.