After two years of not winning the ACC Regular Season or ACC Tournament, including two years of missing it past the second round of the NCAA Tournament; the Duke Blue Devils Men's Basketball Team is primed to make a run at the postseason.
But will they?
Fresh off his gold-medal at the Beijing games, Coach K has his Blue Devils at 15-1, currently No. 3 in the AP Poll. They have key victories over Purdue and Xavier, and a Maui Invitational Title under there belt, and one of the most versatile players in the country in Kyle Singler. Their squad is so deep, three-year starter Greg Paulus is coming off the bench and no player averages more than 17 points per game. So what is it that these Dukies lack?
A presence on the inside.
Duke relies on intense ball pressure and the ability to create turnovers that lead to points. It's when a shot goes up that they're in trouble. Look back at the tapes from their last two postseason exits and it's plain and simple to see what caused them to lose those games. They routinely got beat on the glass, and not being able to throw it into the post to run their offense meant jacking up way too many three's and having to create off the dribble with an athletically average cast.
They missed Brian Zoubek last year no doubt, but is he really going to be the solution? He's only averaging seven points and five rebounds this season. He's the only Center listed on Duke's roster. Uh-oh!
When they go up against Connecticut or North Carolina, how are they going to be able to stop Thabeet or Hansborough?
The pride of Cameron Indoor has more play makers than in years past, but if they can't control the paint...we could be looking at another early exit and another disappointment.