Duke's Jabari Parker has been as good as advertised after entering the season as one of the country's top freshmen.
While it wasn't as expected, transfer Rodney Hood has come up huge, too.
Parker and Hood try to help the No. 6 Blue Devils extend their non-conference winning streak at Cameron Indoor Stadium to 106 games Sunday against Vermont.
After blowing out UNC Asheville 91-55 on Monday, Duke (4-1) pulled out a tougher-than-expected 83-74 victory over East Carolina the following night in the NIT Season Tipoff. Hood led the way with a career-high 30 points and Parker added 21 for the Blue Devils, who have outscored non-conference foes by an average of 26.9 points during their 105-game home winning streak, the NCAA's longest active run.
"The last two nights, we've played our butts off," coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "This is not about Duke not playing (well). ... Don't undersell what they did. We were ready and we played hard.
"Now we've got to rest. I mean, our guys are dead."
Parker, just the second player in school history to score at least 20 in the first five games of a season, is averaging 22.4 to rank second in the ACC. Hood is right behind him with 21.8 thanks to an incredibly efficient shooting display.
Hood, who averaged 10.3 points during his 2011-12 freshman season at Mississippi State, has gone 34 of 47 (72.3 percent) from the field - including 8 of 11 from 3-point range. While he has posted 24.5 points per game in Duke's wins, Hood was held to 11 on 3-of-8 shooting in a 94-83 loss to then-No. 5 Kansas on Nov. 12.
"When I'm aggressive, we're a hard team to beat," Hood said. "Jabari's going to be who he is, probably the most talented guy in the country. Me, I got to be me.
"If I'm passive, we're not as good a team. If I attack, we're very dangerous. That what I've been doing, and I'm going to keep doing it for the rest of the season."
While the Blue Devils are set to take on Alabama at Madison Square Garden in the NIT semifinals on Wednesday, they will first try to get by Vermont (1-4). Duke has taken both previous matchups by an average of 21.0 points, though these schools haven't met since 1979.
The Catamounts, in the midst of a season-high seven-game trip, are hoping to avoid opening 0-4 on the road for the first time since 2005-06 after falling 68-61 to Wagner on Thursday. Vermont was limited to 38.8 percent shooting and outscored 35-22 over the first 20 minutes.
"We had a poor first half that cost us again," coach John Becker, whose team went 0 of 12 from 3-point range, told the Catamounts' official website. "We have to shoot the ball better and execute better down the stretch."
Senior Clancy Rugg, averaging a team-leading 15.4 points, scored 18 to go along with nine rebounds.
Vermont fell 67-49 at then-No. 23 Connecticut last Nov. 13 in its only matchup against a ranked team in 2012-13. The Catamounts have dropped five straight to Top 25 opponents by an average of 23.4 points.