Mike Krzyzewski often cites his background at Army as a major reason for his success at Duke. Doug Wojcik is relying on his similar experience at Navy to build an up-and-coming program at Tulsa.
The coaches meet for the first time Thursday night, when Krzyzewski's fifth-ranked Blue Devils face the Golden Hurricane looking to extend their non-conference home win streak to 77.
Krzyzewski wanted to schedule a late-season non-conference game against a quality opponent to help prepare Duke (23-4) for the NCAA tournament. Wojcik, meanwhile, was looking to gain exposure for Tulsa (19-8) and its senior tandem of Ben Uzoh and 7-footer Jerome Jordan.
The Golden Hurricane opted to make their first trip to Cameron Indoor Stadium, creating the matchup of Krzyzewski and Wojcik, a teammate of David Robinson's at Navy in the 1980s and a former assistant at North Carolina.
"It's a great experience and that's why the game was scheduled," said Wojcik, whose brother Dave is an assistant at Wake Forest. "The game was scheduled in my mind for Ben Uzoh and Jerome Jordan. We are going to make the most of it. I used to live there and it's a great venue."
Duke's last home loss against a non-conference foe was an 83-82 defeat to St. John's on Feb. 26, 2000.
Kyle Singler has posted two straight double-doubles and is averaging 19.7 points and 7.3 boards during Duke's six-game win streak, creating speculation that he may leave early for the NBA.
"Kyle Singler will be a pro player," Krzyzewski said. "Whether he does it after this year or after next year I think is a matter of development. Kyle is going to be a pro, and you want him to be the best he can after he does that."
Singler had 25 points and 10 rebounds in a 67-55 home win over Virginia Tech on Sunday. He helped pick up the slack for leading scorer Jon Scheyer, who went 4 of 19 from the field and scored 15 points as Duke shot 29.0 percent.
"Our offense, at times, hasn't been good this year, and the one thing we do know is that we're not an unbelievable offensive team where we're just going to put 90 points up," Scheyer said. "We know we need to do it with our defense."
The 6-8 Singler and 7-1 center Brian Zoubek will face a challenge defensively against Jordan, who leads Conference USA with a 55.3 field-goal percentage. Jordan averaged 17.0 points on 57.1 percent shooting in his last five games.
That production, however, has coincided with the Golden Hurricane's worst stretch of the season, as they have dropped three straight and four of five. Tulsa turned in its second-worst shooting effort at 37.7 percent in a 78-70 loss to C-USA leader Texas-El Paso on Saturday.
"It's a combination of playing good defense and getting ourselves (back on track) offensively," Jordan said. "We have to go in there every game with the mind-set that we're going to execute our game on both ends."
Duke is 2-0 against Tulsa, winning in 1996 and '99.