Duke Basketball Doesn't Have To Just Wait Until Next Year

Mike KlineAnalyst IOctober 16, 2009

BOSTON - MARCH 26:  Jon Scheyer #30 of the Duke Blue Devils drives against the Villanova Wildcats during the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament East Regionals at TD Banknorth Garden on March 26, 2009 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

So here we are in the middle of October, football season is just hitting its stride, and it is already time to start talking college basketball.

The Duke Blue Devils kick off their basketball season tonight with their opening practice— A summer of prognostication and anticipation seems to always lead up to this.

And really it is all a bit anticlimactic; after all it is only just a practice.

But in the world that is Duke Basketball, this day is truly the beginning of a maddening five months that culminate with the NCAA Tournament in March.

This year, despite the obvious excitement from the Blue Devil loyalists, Duke hasn't drawn much anticipation from the media. Most experts are billing this as another ho-hum year for the Devils.

Luke Winn from Sports Illustrated has Duke coming in at No. 12 in his preseason pole. Yet, he still believes they will compete for the ACC title this season. How often is the favorite for the ACC title not in the top 10?

While he doesn't allude to the UNC Tarheels chances it is pretty much a given that if they are his No. 9 team then they are in the running too.

He also suggests that if a bunch of "ifs" happen in recruiting then Duke will be his preseason No. 1 next year.

That is nice and all but what about this year.

I'm more of a live in the moment type guy so I’d rather focus on Duke this year. And I’m not quite ready to chop this year up to being a bridge year leading up to the possible good things that are to come next year if certain elements fall into place.

I truly believe Duke will create some noise this year. Maybe, and probably not, National Championship noise, but they are going to win a lot of games.

They will be a much different team though, and I think it will take everyone a while to adjust to their new look.

First of all, Duke is big for once. And they aren't all just big, lumbering guys like Brian Zoubek. Both Mason and Miles Plumlee are fairly athletic and worth keeping an eye on.

Ryan Kelly will be an interesting player to watch and see what direction Mike Krzyzewski takes his game. And of course Kyle Singler's move to the perimeter will be an adjustment, but a rather interesting one at that.

The bottom line is while this team may not be sexy, like say Kentucky or Kansas, especially with all that Desperate-Housewives Drama in Lawrence, the Blue Devils should still be good.

They will win a lot of games and should be fun to watch. So fans should be happy not many are expecting much from this team. Because if they do surprise some people, and I think they might, it makes it all that more rewarding.

Especially since some already want Duke to wait until next year when this year is just getting started.