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Not since Kyrie Irving has Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski spoken this highly of a freshman leading up to the season – and he’s just as comfortable placing the same pressure on center Jahlil Okafor this season as he did on Irving four years ago.

Here’s hoping Rick Pitino wears his white Colonel Sanders suit to ACC basketball media day in Charlotte on Wednesday. It’s going to take that kind of showmanship right off the hop if the Cardinals want to match the inaugural-season impact Syracuse had on the ACC.

Former Gov. Jim Martin’s 2012 investigation into academic fraud at North Carolina reached conclusions that were largely repudiated by Kenneth Wainstein’s independent investigation into the same topic. In his first public comments since the Wainstein Report was released last week, Martin defended his work.

While the Wainstein Report was largely complimentary of Roy Williams’ conduct, it provided new information about links between the men’s basketball program and North Carolina’s phony classes – questions the coach is going to be answering for a long time.

Last Saturday’s game between Florida State and Notre Dame, a ratings blockbuster, heralded the arrival of the Irish as an affiliate member of the ACC in football -- much to ACC commissioner John Swofford’s delight

In the wake of the academic-fraud scandal at North Carolina, the question must be asked yet again: Is excellence in big-time intercollegiate athletics fundamentally compatible with academic excellence at a national research university?

It wasn’t independent investigator Kenneth Wainstein’s presentation of the breadth and depth of North Carolina’s phony classes that really hit home Wednesday, impressive and staggering as it was. It was chancellor Carol Folt’s apology afterward, a long awaited, comprehensive institutional mea culpa that acknowledged the “shadow curriculum” that existed for almost two decades on campus and the collective failure to stop it.

With his 7-year-old brother hospitalized with a malignant tumor, Duke running back Shaquille Powell’s second-half running helped the Blue Devils to a critical 20-13 win over Virginia.

At this point, both North Carolina and NC State have to ask where the bar is set to still consider their seasons successful – and then figure out how to clear it.

Tuesday was the Carolina Hurricanes’ final home game of October as they hit the road for their annual state-fair road trip, this time playing five games in 13 days while swinging across Western Canada.

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Luke has worked for The News & Observer since 2000. He covered the Carolina Hurricanes and the NHL before becoming a sports columnist in August 2008. A native of Evanston, Ill., he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania.
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