Duke Basketball

NCAA Tournament 2011: Duke Blue Devils' Chance at Back-to-Back National Titles

GREENSBORO, NC - MARCH 13:  Nolan Smith #2 of the Duke Blue Devils celebrates after being named MVP and defeating the North Carolina Tar Heels 75-58 in the championship game of the 2011 ACC men's basketball tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum on March 13, 2011 in Greensboro, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Alex MonacoContributor IIMarch 15, 2011

The Duke Blue Devils under coach Mike Krzyzewski have an opportunity to win back-to-back national championships in this year's NCAA tournament.  Back-to-back tournament championships for one team has only happened a handful of times.  

Teams that have won back to back NCAA championships dating back to 1939, the first year the tournament began, include: Oklahoma A&M in '45 and '46, Kentucky in '48 and '49, San Francisco in '55 and '56, Cincinnati in '61 and '62, UCLA in '64 and '65, and then again from '67-'73, Duke in '91 and '92, and most recently Florida in '07 and '08.  

Duke hung onto a 61-59 point lead in a thrilling victory over Butler in the 2010 tournament.

Now, with Singler and Smith back at the helm, the Blue Devils sit back after a 30-4 season with relatively the same approach as last season: Team basketball equals positive execution.

If there's one thing that Duke is constant with, it's breeding knockdown shooters.  On this team Nolan Smith, Kyrie Irving, Kyle Singler, and Seth Curry are arguably the best tandem you could ask for in a tournament like this.  

Smith and Singler combined are the highest scoring duo in the ACC and for good reason.  Smith has 25-30 feet range, and Singler hits from just about anywhere Smith feeds him the ball.  

Duke has all the tools and making for a 5-0 run resulting in their fifth tournament championship.  However, it's going to take more than just the starting five if they want to repeat.  

This tournament, big men Miles and Mason Plumlee will play a big part in aiding the leading scorers of the team.  Also, Ryan Kelly is going to need to provide a spark off the bench with his three-point shooting and timely presence.  

This tournament, Duke is a No. 1 seed in the West.  They face Hampton first round, Michigan or Tennessee in the second round, and on down the list.  

However, this year's bracket is loaded with talented teams.  If Duke is going to make a run, they have to get through San Diego State or UConn, and Texas before coming out of their bracket on top.

It's going to be a tough road to the Final Four as it is every year for any team trying to win the tournament, let alone repeat. 

What Duke has up against them is a true test, but if they persevere, it will surely be monumental.  

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