For the first time in a long time, the Duke Blue Devils appear Final Four-bound at the very least, and Mike Krzyzewski’s bunch may very well be headed towards a title contest with Bill Self’s Kansas team come early April.
Yes, it’s early—the only matchup to tip off thus far has been the play-in game between Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Winthrop on Tuesday evening.
But Coach K’s Blue Devils appear loaded and ready for a title run in 2010, led by senior Jon Scheyer and juniors Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith—encompassing Duke’s “Big Three.”
And, oh yeah, this team is really deep too.
“For our senior class I am so happy,” Krzyzewski told Duke’s official athletic site. “Not many teams in my 30 years in the ACC have won both the regular season and the [ACC] Tournament, and I think because they did it, and we played such a tough schedule these kids were rewarded with a No. 1 seed.”
Forget being called the weakest link of the No. 1 seeds; Duke is destined for the title game in 2010 and not much is standing in its way.
“We have a pretty tough bracket, but I think we are capable of beating anybody,” senior captain Lance Thomas said. “As long as we play our game as far as defense, rebounding and just finishing, I think we will be fine against anybody.”
Outside of the high-rising Baylor Bears led by what I’d like to call Coach K-protégé Scott Drew, the South is Duke’s for the taking (just don’t tell that to Drew and the green and golden Bears).
Here’s the point: For years now I have viewed Coach K and Duke basketball as the pinnacle of greatness in college basketball.
And this year, Coach K has a chance to return his Blue Devils to the greatness Duke last truly tasted in 2001.
This year, Duke is deep enough.
Duke is talented and tall enough.
And Duke is strong enough and has enough leadership to win the whole thing.
“It is very rewarding [to be a top seed], but at the same time you just move on, no matter who you are playing, where you are playing, you know you need to be prepared,” senior captain Scheyer said.
Watch out, basketball world. Coach K and the Blue Devils are on a mission for the title in 2010—and they aren’t going to stop until they reach their final destination in a matchup with the Kansas Jayhawks.
Denton Ramsey may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org