Over the past few years Duke has seen the same thing happen over and over. Their top players play great throughout the year. They then play well through the ACC, and do well if not win the ACC Tourney.
In 2004 I was just about to go on my second deployment with the Navy. My father (huge UNC fan) took me to the regional round so that we would have the chance to see Duke vs. UNC. UNC lost early but duke pushed forth and made the final four. They haven't made it since and have been ridiculed time and time again.
The 09-10 version of the Blue Devils is a special one. Special that it is a team that was supposed to make a push for the ACC title, not be the only team ranked in the top 25 for most of the year...
This team is made of a compliment of upper and underclassmen that can play. Their defense is tough and their big men can actually rebound. Something that a Duke team has done in some time.
Duke is primarily known as a team with a triple threat. Jon Scheyer, Kyle Singler, and Nolan Smith are a part of a trio that is at worst second in the nation in scoring. While this is a very good stat for the bar, it is not a good one for March.
See, this is something that Duke has struggled with. For several reasons, they have not been able to dress a deep team since their last final four run. As a result their top players hit a March Madness of their own, the simply wear down and get tired.
If you don't believe me check out the production of sharp shooter J.J. Redick in the ACC Tourney and NCAAs his senior year.
This year they have more than just one scorer, but the results are still the same.
The big three play almost all of every game with little rest. This team is quickly getting used to their strong play, and if they aren't prepared for a big three scoring draught this team could be in jeopardy of an early exit in March.
However, the opposite is actually a possibility too. If the big three continue to play well, and one or two of the other players step up, this team could beat anyone in the country.
The same could also be said about their offense. When they hit their shots and play D, then they are one of the top teams in the nation and can play with the Kansas and Kentucky types!
The answer to the title question is simple, no. The big three are not enough to win a national title. However, if Zoubek continues to be a rebounding force (which he may not), and if they can any type of scoring from the Plumlees, Thomas, or anyone else then this team can be something special.
Duke has three games remaining. They play Virginia later tonight, at Maryland on the 3rd, and UNC at Cameron on the 6th. They need to run the table and stay hot. A hot Duke team is someone no team in the nation wants to step onto the floor against.
A hot team is something that needs to happen if Duke hopes for anything oher than an ACC title. They not only need their big three to step up, but someone else off of the lineup! If the big three turn into the big four or five, then this could be a final four team.
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