2011 NCAA Tournament Scouting the Field: Duke Blue Devils

Mike ArrowsmithCorrespondent IJanuary 31, 2011

PORTLAND, OR - NOVEMBER 27:  Kyrie Irving #1 of the Duke Blue Devils goes for a layup against the Oregon Ducks on November 27, 2010 at the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Just a season removed from a national championship title, the Duke Blue Devils are looking to duplicate their success in 2011.  Duke currently stands at the top of the ACC standings and stands at number five in the country with a record of 19-2 (6-1 ACC).  Up until this past weekend, Duke looked to be almost a lock for a repeat final four appearance.  Last night, disaster struck for the Cameron Crazies as the Blue Devils fell at Madison Square Garden to unranked St. Johns by a score of 93-78.  The Red Storm handed Duke their most lopsided loss since their Sweet 16 loss to Villanova in 2009.

For some elite ball clubs, this would be the time to hit the panic button.  However, unlike those teams, Duke is coached by the legend Mike Krzyzewski.  In his tenure at Duke, Coach Kryzewski has led his team to 26 NCAA Tournament Appearances in the last 27 years.  He has also led Duke to 12 ACC Championships, 11 Final Fours, and four national titles. To top it all off, Kryzewski is credited with 887 career wins coaching at the Division 1 level which is good enough for second all time.  This information alone should tell you that one win alone will not tarnish the hopes of Duke bringing home another national title.  

The Blue Devils have one of the most potent offenses in the country with four players in double figures.  Senior Nolan Smith currently sits at 14th in the country with 21 points per game.  Fellow senior forward Kyle Singler has also been a huge asset to Duke with 18 points per game.  

Duke looks to be a lock for an NCAA tournament bid even if they don't win the ACC Tournament.  The Blue Devils have signature wins over Kansas State, Michigan State, Butler, UAB, and Boston College.  However, their schedule won't get any easier moving forward.  Their next game is against ACC rival, the Maryland Terrapins.  Less than a month ago, Maryland gave Duke all they could handle at Cameron Indoor Stadium, but Duke prevailed in a 71-64 win.  The Terps will be coming with all the confidence in the world while riding a three game win streak and could spell disaster on the road for the Blue Devils.  

Regardless of the outcome of their next game, Duke will be a huge threat to every team that sets foot in the 68 team field come March.

Up Next: Atlantic Sun: Belmont Bruins