Why Duke Will Bring Home the Title: 2010 NCAA Basketball Championship

Matthew CohenContributor IApril 4, 2010

HOUSTON - MARCH 28: Nolan Smith #2 of the Duke Blue Devils celebrates a win with a teammate over the Baylor Bears during the south regional final of the 2010 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Reliant Stadium on March 28, 2010 in Houston, Texas. Duke defeated Baylor 78-71. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

In what has been deemed as a "David vs. Goliath" matchup by the national media, the No. 5 seed Butler Bulldogs will square off with the No. 1 seed Duke Blue Devils with title dreams on the line.

Don't let Butler's No. 5 seed fool you though.

The Bulldogs came into the 2009-10 season ranked in the top 10. Throughout the season, Butler dominated the Horizon League, and ran the table in 18 conference games.

Coming into the NCAA tournament, the Bulldogs had tallied 20 straight victories, leading the NCAA in active winning streaks.

Coached by Brad Stevens, a rising star in the coaching world, Butler throws hard-nosed defense along with consistent scoring at their opponents. This fundamentally sound style of play has allowed them to advance through the grueling NCAA Tournament.

After five tournament games, Butler has yet to give up more than 60 points in a game, taking pressure off their offense and allowing them to slow down the game. 

On the other side, the Duke Blue Devils have been a mainstay in the NCAA tournament and the Final Four under coach Mike Krzyzewski. In 30 years at the helm of Duke basketball, Coach K has gone to 11 Final Fours, winning three titles.

This has been a different looking Duke team than in years past, however.

Duke features five players over 6'8". The Blue Devils have made up for poor shooting days with offensive rebounds and second-chance points.

Duke's senior center, Brian Zoubek, has emerged at the end of his career at Duke as an impact player on the glass.

During the NCAA tournament, Zoubek has averaged over 10 rebounds per game. On the offensive glass, Zoubek is smart enough to understand his limitations. He is not a good scorer, but is often able to kick offensive rebounds out to shooters spotted up on the three-point line.

With threats like Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler, and Jon Scheyer toeing the three-point line, Duke takes advantage of second chance points to beat opponents.

After assaulting the West Virgina defense, posting 78 points in their blowout win in the national semifinal, it appears that the offensive rebounding and outside scoring of the Blue Devils will be hard for any team to handle.

Furthermore, Butler's biggest scoring threat, 6'9" small forward Gordon Hayward, will most likely be guarded by junior standout Kyle Singler. While Singler stands at 6'8", he also contains the athleticism to guard effectively both inside and on the perimeter.

Though Butler is no David, it will be very difficult for the Bulldogs to score with Duke and to keep the Blue Devils from devastating the offensive glass, leading to second chance points.

If Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler, and Jon Scheyer shoot effectively from the three, look for the Blue Devils and Coach K to win their fourth national title.