Report includes information from Arizona’s media relations department:
Arizona and Duke, who were made-for-TV material when they played home-and-home series in the early 1990s, have agreed to a two-game series that will start in Durham, N.C., in 2023-24 and then return to Tucson in 2024-25.
The Wildcats will make their second appearance at Cameron Indoor Stadium when they travel to Duke on Nov. 10, 2023. The Blue Devils will make their third appearance in Tucson on Nov. 21, 2024.
The last time the programs faced each other in a regular-season scheduled game at either Cameron or McKale was Arizona’s 103-96 win in two overtimes in front of 13,881 fans at Tucson on Feb. 24, 1991.
The game included a controversial call in which a jumper made in the first overtime by Duke’s Greg Koubek was changed from a 3-pointer to a 2-pointer a minute later by officials, which comprised of a Pac-10 crew of referees of Richie Ballesteros, Charles Range and Mark Reischling.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, matching wits with fellow Hall of Famer Lute Olson, was disappointed by the change of Koubek’s shot, criticizing the scoring table.
“Hey, this was a big game and you have to be at your best … but I won’t comment on it any further,” Krzyzewski told reporters afterward.
Matt Muehlebach, who never lost at McKale Center during his career, scored seven points during the second overtime, helping ninth-ranked Arizona extend the nation’s longest home winning streak to 61 games. Duke was ranked No. 7.
Duke featured players such as Bobby Hurley, Grant Hill and Christian Laettner and Arizona had Chris Mills, Brian Williams, Sean Rooks, Muehlebach and Matt Othick.
Although it was never spoken of in public, the fact that Duke had four players foul out and Arizona broke the McKale Center with 51 free throws attempted (making only 30), Krzyzewski’s displeasure likely led to the programs not scheduling another home-and-home with him as coach.
Krzyzewski retired after last season and former Blue Devil guard Jon Scheyer is the head coach. The change potentially led to Duke and Arizona — now coached by Tommy Lloyd — to resume the series between the two college basketball powers.
“We felt this was a great opportunity to play two games against an incredible program like Duke,” Lloyd said in a release. “Both programs are national brands with a rich history and have played some memorable games against each other, especially in the NCAA Tournament. But Coach Scheyer and I both felt these games would benefit our programs and be something that our fans would be excited about.”
Arizona leads the all-time series with Duke 5-4 and has won the last two meetings.
The most recent meeting was on Nov. 29, 2013 at Madison Square Garden as part of the NIT Season Tip-Off, with the Wildcats winning, 72-66. Arizona also topped the Blue Devils in the West Regional Semifinal of the NCAA Tournament, 93-77, in a game that was played on March 24, 2011 in Anaheim, Calif.
The two programs also met in the 2001 National Championship game on April 2, 2001 in Minneapolis, with Duke coming away with the 82-72 win.
“I have tremendous respect for Tommy Lloyd and Arizona,” Scheyer said, also in a release. “For our team, I’m grateful for what I know will be important early-season tests. For our fans and for college basketball, it will be exciting to see these storied programs over the next two years come together in two of the greatest on-campus venues in the sport.”
The 2023 meeting in Durham will be the second time in program history that Arizona will play at Cameron Indoor Stadium, having previously lost to the Blue Devils, 78-76, on Feb. 25, 1990.
The meeting in 2024 in the McKale Center will be the third such meeting between the programs, with the Wildcats holding a 2-0 edge. Arizona defeated Duke, 91-85, in Tucson on Dec. 30, 1987 — the season Arizona went to its first Final Four with Sean Elliott and Steve Kerr on the team — in addition to the double-overtime classic in 1991.
Arizona vs. Duke All-Time Series
|Dec. 16, 1961||Duke wins, 78-47||Pittsburgh, Pa. (1)|
|Dec. 30, 1987||Arizona wins, 91-85||Tucson, Ariz. (2)|
|Feb. 26, 1989||Arizona wins, 77-75||East Rutherford, N.J. (3)|
|Feb. 25, 1990||Duke wins, 78-76||Durham, N.C.|
|Feb. 24, 1991||Arizona wins, 103-96 (2ot)||Tucson, Ariz.|
|Nov. 26, 1997||Duke wins, 95-87||Lahaina, Hawaii (4)|
|April 2, 2001||Duke wins, 82-72||Minneapolis, Minn. (5)|
|March 24, 2011||Arizona wins, 93-77||Anaheim, Calif. (6)|
|Nov. 29, 2013||Arizona wins, 72-66||New York, N.Y. (7)|
|(1) – Steel Bowl Tournament (Fitzgerald Fieldhouse)|
|(2) – Fiesta Bowl Classic|
|(3) – Meadowlands Arena|
|(4) – Maui Invitational|
|(5) – National Semifinal game (Final Four)|
|(6) – NCAA West Regional semifinal (Sweet 16)|
|(7) – NIT Season Tip-Off at Madison Square Garden|
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.