Duke Basketball: Looking Forward To The ACC and NCAA Tournaments

Sam TastadCorrespondent IIIMarch 10, 2010

DURHAM, NC - MARCH 06:  Lance Thomas #42 celebrates with teammate Nolan Smith #2 of the Duke Blue Devils during their game against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Cameron Indoor Stadium on March 6, 2010 in Durham, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

It's March and you know what that means, the madness is just beginning.

The regular season is over for the Duke Blue Devils, but the ACC and NCAA tournaments are just ahead. 

The big three (Scheyer, Smith, and Singler) have been playing extremely well leading this team to victories, and Zoubek and Thomas' rebounding and defense have been key for the Blue Devils. 

The Blue Devils must also improve on the road. They went 17-0 at Cameron Indoor Stadium this season, but struggled on the road. They have to get used to hostile environments, and play to their strengths on the road by scoring, rebounding, making their free throws, and by playing great defense. 

Duke's main strength is getting the big three to score, and score a lot. They can drive the ball, shoot the three, and can play intimidating defense at times.

Brian Zoubek and Lance Thomas also play great defense and get big rebounds at big times. Miles and Mason Plumlee are also good contributors when Zoubek or Thomas get into foul trouble. Andre Dawkins must also help this team when they get in foul trouble, and be prepared to play at all times. 

Duke also has some weaknesses. The big three score most of their points, and at times they do not get many points from the rest of the team.

To be successful, they are going to have to spread the ball around more and get everyone involved so that they are balanced and have more scoring threats for teams to deal with.


ACC Tournament

Duke is the number one seed in the ACC tournament, and will play the winner of Boston College and Virginia on Friday.

Duke is probably the front runner for the final number one seed in the NCAA tournament, but needs an ACC Conference Championship to help ensure that postion.

In the ACC tournament, it will be tough, and Duke will have to bring its A-game every night, no matter who they face.

They could face Maryland in the championship, forcing a third meeting between the two teams this season. Virginia Tech could also be tough, as they will be trying to make the NCAA tournament themselves. Miami, Florida State, and Clemson could also be sleeper teams to watch out for in the ACC tournament.


NCAA Tournament

In the NCAA tournament, there are many teams that have a chance at winning the NCAA title.

Duke will have to watch out for Syracuse, Kansas, and Kentucky, the top seeds in the tournament and early favorites to take home the title.

Teams that could also go far are Maryland, New Mexico, West Virginia, Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Villanova, Kansas State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Purdue.

Duke will need to be prepared to face anyone, and have the mindset that they can win every game no matter who they face. 

Duke just needs to go into the tournament playing really well, and so far they are, including good play in the ACC tournament.

If Duke does that, they could go far, surprise some people, and show the nation how good they really are.