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Duke played a secret scrimmage against Villanova. Here’s what Coach K had to say.

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Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski directs his team against Boston College during a 2019 game at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, North Carolina.

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski directs his team against Boston College during a 2019 game at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, North Carolina. (Grant Halverson/Getty Images/TNS)

Duke starts its basketball season against a fellow top-10 team in a little more than two weeks, lining up with No. 10 Kentucky on Nov. 9.

On Saturday, the No. 9 Blue Devils took the court against another top-10 team to get a glimpse of their progress toward games that count.

Duke and No. 4 Villanova participated in a joint scrimmage in Washington, D.C., allowing their players to judge themselves against another powerful team.

The teams played scrimmage periods covering 20 and 10 minutes before simulating late-game situations. The reserves and walk-ons also scrimmaged for six minutes.

The teams played at the Washington Wizards practice facility.

“This was a great day for us to simulate an actual road trip,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a statement released by Duke. “We came in the night before, had a little bit of a scouting report on Villanova — they have a veteran team, and we knew a lot about their players. We were here for two and a half hours playing. Overall, I thought it was a great day for both teams. (Villanova coach) Jay Wright is a great friend and he has a big-time program. Both teams played so hard and it was a good day for us in our development.”

NCAA rules allow Division I teams to scrimmage in the preseason but they aren’t allowed to let the public watch. While they are now allowed to distribute statistics and a recap, Duke and Villanova decided before the scrimmage to not do so.

Teams are allowed to either play two exhibition games in a public setting against a lower division opponent, or play one such exhibition and a secret scrimmage like Duke and Villanova did on Saturday.

The Blue Devils play their lone exhibition game on Oct. 30 at 1:30 p.m. against Division II Winston-Salem State at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Duke opens the season against Kentucky as part of the Champions Classic doubleheader at New York’s Madison Square Garden.


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