Ed Joyner Jr. was taking suggestions Thursday for tools he might use to demonstrate that the task at hand is difficult, but not impossible.
In advance of Friday's David vs. Goliath matchup against No. 1 seed
's head coach planned to show his players video of the Pirates' upset of second-seeded Iowa State in the 2001 NCAA tournament.
Joyner said, only partly in jest, that he would show them the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team's Miracle On Ice upset of the Soviets, the movie "Rudy" and anything else he could think of.
"I think they're already pumped up," he said. "Anything to show them it has and should be done."
The 16th-seeded Pirates (24-8) take a crack at the Blue Devils (30-4) in a West Region game at 3:10 p.m. Friday at the
Cable Arena, well aware that no 16 has ever beaten a 1. Top seeds are 104-0 in the first round.
"We're a different 16 seed," Pirates forward Danny Agbelese said. "We feel we should have been a 13 or 14 seed. We won 24 games. We beat some marquee, mid-major teams."
Indeed, the Pirates don't lack for desire. Whether execution can match, or exceed, that desire is another matter.
"We're going to have to play a complete game," said Joyner, who coached the Pirates to the
tournament championship in just his second season. "We're going to have to play 40 minutes, and then we're going to have to add 110 percent of effort on top of that. We understand that. But we've also got to be who we are."
Who the Pirates are, are a team that relies on defense to fuel the offense. They're a team on which wings Darrion Pellum (17.7 ppg) and Kwame Morgan (16.5 ppg) combine for half of the points and 51 percent of the shots.
They're a team whose frontcourt players gladly fill roles and complement each other.
"They're obviously well coached and they're a veteran team," Duke coach
He mentioned that Morgan shoots a bit like NBA veteran Michael Redd. Pellum, he said, could be a good player in the
"They're deep," Krzyzewski said. "They play good defense, and they seem to have a pride of playing together and for their school. We'll play a very proud team (Friday) afternoon."
Duke, the ACC tournament champs, has its full complement of players, plus expects the return of superb freshman
. The 6-foot-2 guard has missed the past three months and 26 games with ligament damage in his right big toe, but will work his way back into the playing rotation.
Even without Irving, the Blue Devils have exceptional talent and balance. They're led by seniors
(21.3 ppg, 5.2 apg), the conference player of the year, and forward
(17.1 ppg), the Final Four MVP on last year's national championship team.
"We have to play as a team and will have to play extra hard," HU center Milade Lola-Charles said. "Nobody has to be a super-hero. We just have to stay together and play as a family."
Joyner enjoys a second consecutive homecoming week. He was born in Winston-Salem, N.C., site of last week's MEAC tournament triumph. He later grew up in
and attended Johnson C. Smith, where he played basketball for his uncle.
He grew up a Duke fan. He has studied Krzyzewski through the years and periodically uses the Blue Devils as an example for his own team of how to play and react. He watched Duke's Seth Curry and older brother Stephen grow up, since they attended J.C. Smith's camps.
Joyner said that he told his wife a couple of weeks ago he imagined a scenario in which he went to Winston-Salem and won the MEAC tournament, then was assigned to play Duke in Charlotte.
"What better picture can you write?" he wondered. "What better script can you write?"