The Duke Blue Devils have one of the all-time greatest basketball coaches, one of the best guards in the country and a top-five ranking in the national polls.
However, the defending national champion Blue Devils will not repeat. In fact, Duke will not even make the Final Four.
When looking at Duke's lineup, there is a big gap. More specifically, a 7'0" 260 pound gap left by Brian Zoubek. Zoubek came alive in last year's NCAA tournament—scoring well, rebounding better, and filling the lane with his big, physical and slightly dirty presence.
This year Duke has the Plumlee brothers, who are both big, athletic and highly capable on the glass.
However, Duke does not have the big defensive workhorse to stop other bigs like Purdue's JaJuan Johnson, Syracuse's Rick Jackson or Wisconsin's Jon Leuer, just to name a few.
Furthermore, Duke does not have a consistent scorer on the block. In close games, especially in the one–and–done style of the NCAA tournament, teams with solid post scorers have a greater chance at winning because they can dump the ball down low for quick baskets or play the inside-out game for open jump shots.
Duke is a good three point shooting team, and they shoot them often. Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler, Seth Curry and Andre Dawkins have taken more than 500 three-pointers this year.
Live by the three, die by the three, as the annoying saying goes.
Duke is limited offensively. They will have to rely on good shooting for four or five games in a row.
That puts a lot of pressure on Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler. Both are talented players, but the two can't carry Duke to another National Championship.