DISCLAIMER- Forget everything I’m about to say if Kyrie Irving comes back..
Duke is still the best team in the ACC, a top 5 team, and has every chance of getting a 1 seed. But please, they are NOT the best team in college basketball. Ohio State, Pitt, Kansas, Texas, and UConn all have more upside. If Duke has on off game shooting the three (see Sunday vs St. John’s) its game over against a quality opponent. Nobody gets offensive rebounds and nobody faces the basket inside.
Now these “off” games are still rare occurrences. The Devils have the greatest coach on earth and Coach K always knows what buttons to push. Plus, 90% of the time Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler are going to score so much that their deficient interior doesn’t matter.
But lets say Duke is playing Kentucky in the Sweet 16 in New Orleans. If the Devils are building a house from the perimeter Mr. Jones, Knight, and Lamb could easily knock them off. That’s the difference between last year and this year. Center Brian Zoubek and Forward Lance Thomas were true big men, got their mates extra shots, and played great defense. Most importantly, they were seniors. This year Duke has none of those in the front court.
So Duke MUST have an average to good shooting performance to win games. Otherwise their season may end a little earlier than you think. Then again, forget all of this if Irving comes back and I’m betting….he is……