If Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski is going to move into sole possession of third place on the career list of Division I victories Wednesday night, he’ll have to do it without Kyrie Irving.
With their star freshman point guard out indefinitely, the top-ranked Blue Devils host Bradley in search of their 19th straight victory.
Krzyzewski earned his 876th win Saturday in an 82-70 victory over Butler that was a rematch of last season’s national championship game. That pulled him even with former Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp, with former North Carolina coach Dean Smith sitting in second place at 879.
“I’m going to win more I think than coach Rupp, God bless him, who won’t win any more,” Krzyzewski said. “He won a lot of them and he won them in his way and they didn’t play as many games then. Each era has outstanding achievements by individuals, whether they be players or coaches and in this era I’ve been fortunate to have some.”
Krzyzewski will have to win this one without Irving, who suffered a toe injury Saturday. The coach said Wednesday that his star guard, who’s averaging 17.4 points and 5.1 assists, would miss “an undetermined amount of time.”
Sophomore Andre Dawkins will likely get his first career start in Irving’s place.
Duke (8-0) enters with an NCAA-best 81-game non-conference home winning streak.
The Blue Devils play their next three at home after a grueling stretch in which they beat Marquette, then-No. 4 Kansas State, Oregon, then-No. 6 Michigan State and Butler. Only one of those games was at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
“That’s as tough a two weeks as any team in the country has played and we scheduled it that way,” Krzyzewski said. “You can’t practice that. You can’t practice the amount of energy you need to have. You can’t practice being on the road. You can’t practice playing against championship-level teams. I’m proud of our guys because they came through it.”
Senior guard Nolan Smith scored a season-high 24 points and Irving had 21 on Saturday as Duke took control with a 12-0 run in the second half after the game was tied at the break.
“Nolan did a tremendous job tonight,” Irving said. “He played like a veteran.”
The Blue Devils survived another quiet effort from Kyle Singler, the Most Outstanding Player of last season’s Final Four. Singler had 13 points, and the senior forward’s 15.6 scoring average is his lowest since his freshman season.
Duke and Bradley (4-4) split their only two meetings in 1950-51. The Braves are 2-9 against defending national champions and 1-7 versus top-ranked teams.
Bradley has lost four straight. Andrew Warren had 27 points and 10 rebounds Saturday, but the Braves fell 68-60 to Utah.
Warren leads the Missouri Valley Conference with a 19.0 scoring average. He’s averaging 14.0 points in victories and 24.0 in losses.
While Krzyzewski has never coached against the Braves, he played against them as a senior in Army’s 54-52 win in 1968.