Tag Archive: Kyrie Irving



The ACC is set to have an epic season battle for 1st place.  Too bad this battle will only be between two teams this year, North Carolina and Duke.  Although, Virgina and Virginia Tech have chances to pull some upsets against these two teams to make things interesting.  The rest of the ACC? Honestly, it’s one huge toss up to see who will finish between 4th and 12th.  Here is how I see it playing out in the ACC.

1. North Carolina

The Tarheels are ranked  #1 in all of the preseason polls.  I hate to follow the mainstream here but it’s hard to argue that North Carolina has the best team on paper.  Some would argue for Ohio State but lets get real.  North Carolina is returning all of their top 7 scorers from a year ago. This includes both Plumlee brothers and Tyler Zeller.  They’re also bringing in 2 ESPNU 100 recruits to add support. 

                                                                                                     2. Duke Blue Devils

I see Duke being an extremely difficult team to beat this season. They’ll definitely give North Carolina a run for their money.  The only set back Duke has? Losing Kyrie Irving, Nolan Smith, and Kyle Singler.  However, Duke is bringing in 5 extremely high quality recruits. Did I mention those 5 recruits were high quality? Try having the pleasure of bringing in 5 ESPNU 100 recruits in a single season. Good things are bound to happen. 

 

3. Virginia Vavaliers

Virginia has a pretty solid team this season. They’ll battle every game and give Duke and the Tarheels some nail biters! Though the Cavaliers lost Mustapha Farrakhan (second leading scorer with 13.5 ppg last year) they’re bringing in two ESPNU 100 recruits.  Experience and young talent will allow them to compete in the ACC this year.

4. Virginia Tech Hokies

The loss of Malcolm Delaney and Jeff Allen will really hurt the Hokies this year. But, they’re bringing in 3 ESPNU 100 recruits that’ll help them suceed this year.  Due to the lack of talent and experience elsewhere in the ACC this year I put the Virginia Tech up this high.

5. Miami Hurricanes—-> The Hurricanes have solid experience coming back to lead this bunch.

6. Maryland—-> Maryland lost many keys to success from last season but they have a stud returning in Terrell Stoglin. He’ll be able to carry this team to at least a 6th place finish in the ACC this year.

7. Boston College Eagles—> Losing most of their staff from last season they’ll struggle early on.  But, I see their recruiting class catching stride late in the season and pulling the Eagles out of the depths of the ACC.

8. Wake Forest Demon Deacons—> The Deacons are losing some good talent from last year.  Luckily Travis McKie is returning and looking for a breakout season.  They should be alright but will struggle with ACC oponents this year.

9. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets—> The loss of Iman Shumpert will hurt the Yellow Jackets significantly.  They do have 1 ESPNU 100 recruits coming in but, it won’t be enough to catapult this team into the top half of the conference.

10. Florida State Seminoles—> Losing one of the most feared defensive players and rebounders in the league from a season ago, Chris Singleton, should have a huge negative impact on this Seminole team.  Antwan pace (ESPNU 100 recruit) should be able to put points on the board but his lack of defensive and overall college experience will keep him from having the same impact as Chris Singleton had.

11. North Carolina State Wolfpack—> Not much going for the Wolfpack this year.  They’ll struggle throughout the entirety of the season.

12. Clemson Tigers—> The Tigers only have one double-digit scorer per game returning from last season. They’ll struggle just like the Wolfpack this season.

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After hearing about early declarations to the NBA draft and who will be staying in college for at least one more year I think I have  a pretty solid grip on who should be in the top 5 for the preseason.  And here they are:

North Carolina looks forward to a promising season bringing a top recruiting class and returning class

1)  North Carolina. The Tar heels may not have one of most dominating recruiting classes but they have a very solid recruiting class including 2 top 100 ESPNU recruits.  What’s more impressive for the Tar heels are the players returning.  After winning the regular season ACC Title and an Elite 8 appearance the Tar Heels will return their top 3 scorers AND rebounders from that squad.  Also, they return all 5 of their starters.  Tyler Zeller, John Henson, and Kendall Marshall all decided to return to North Carolina. This is said to have influenced Harrison Barnes decision to stay as well.  I won’t talk too much about North Carolina’s two McDonald’s All Americans they have coming in.  These two kids will supplement a well experienced and tough squad.  I like North Carolina’s chances this coming season.

2)  Ohio State.  I like the Buckeyes here because they have some young talent coming back in Deshaun Thomas and Jared Sullinger.  They also have Aaron Craft coming back, who ran the point for the Buckeyes for most of last season, also a freshman (going to be a sophomore).  Even though they’re losing some senior leadership in David Lighty, Dallas Lauderdale, and Jon Diebler they have William Bufford to step up and take on the leadership role.  They also have a very solid recruiting class coming in including 4 ESPNU top 100 recruits, 2 of which are McDonald’s All Americans.  I look for the Buckeyes to reload and pick up where they left off and can see them possibly winning 30 games for the second straight season in a row.

3)  Kentucky.  The decision hasn’t been made quite yet on whether or not Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones will return to the Wildcats squad. Doron Lamb has also stated that he’ll be back for his sophomore season.  As of right now they have the top recruiting class according to ESPNU signing 4 top 100 recruits.  All of which are McDonald’s All Americans.  John Calipari seems to reload every season with an outstanding recruiting class, which I find a little questionable.  However, Kentucky is my favorite to win the SEC this coming season and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them make another run to the Final Four.

4)  Texas.  With Jordan Hamilton and Tristan Thompson making the decision to come back Texas is going to be tough to beat.  Not to mention the return of J’Covan Brown (possibly the best 6th man of the past season) who can score lights out when on.  Texas also has the 5th best recruiting class according to ESPNU.  They have one McDonald’s All American joining there already tough squad.  I have a feeling with all the Kansas Jayhawks players leaving early Texas is the favorite in the Big 12.  I can also see Texas making a run to the National Championship game.

5)  Duke.  Even though the Blue Devils are losing Kyrie Irving, Nolan Smith, and Kyle Singler I feel the Blue Devils will be just fine.  They still have Mason Plumlee, Andre Dawkins, and Seth Curry coming back.  I can’t forget to mention Duke’s incredible recruiting class.  They have the 3rd best recruiting class according to ESPNU.  They’re bringing 5 top 100 high school recruits.  Including Austin Rivers and Mason Plumlee’s little brother, Marshall Plumlee (both are McDonald’s All Americans).  4 of Duke’s recruits are McDonald’s All Americans.  Here’s my equation that will produce Duke’s success for next season:

  • Incoming Talent (Recruits) + Returning Talent (Mason, Andre, and Seth) + Top 5 best all time coaches in the game (Coach Mike Krzyzewski) = Contender for ACC Title and Final Four appearance

I know that equation is pretty intense but it’s the most accurate and accepted equation amongst basketball fans, coaches, players, and so called experts.  I came up with it myself just so you all know.

These are my top 5 preseason picks for the upcoming 2011-2012 season.  Soon I will have up my 6-10 followed by my 11-25 preseason picks.  Hope you all enjoyed reading and I thank you for stopping by. Also, I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on preseason picks!


One of the most surprising news threads of the college basketball off season would have to be all of the early declarations to the NBA draft.  With the possibility of an NBA owners/players lockout you would think most if not all non-seniors would stay at their respective schools.  In this post I’m going to run down the list of people that I’ve heard that have declared for the draft (with or without signing an agent) and why I think they should go for the NBA or stay in school.

The Morris Twins have declared for the 2011 NBA Draft

1) Markieff and Marcus Morris.  The junior twin forwards for Kansas have been a force during their time as Kansas Jayhawks.  This past season they seemed to be unstoppable all the while leading Kansas to a 35-3 record losing to the VCU Rams in the Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament.  Although posting 35 wins in a season is remarkable some Jayhawk faithful feel letdown as they had hopes winning the National Championship this year.  Personally, I think the twins have something to prove. I think they’ve underachieved during their time at Kansas and have really disappointed their fans by not bringing them a Final Four appearance during their stay at Kansas. They owe something to the Kansas faithful and to themselves.

The Sophomore Williams will forego his next two seasons at Arizona

2) Derrick Williams.  This kid had one of the best all around performances during this year’s NCAA tournament.  Not to mention the outstanding season he had.  Williams was named the Pac-10 player of the year as a sophomore while posting 19.5 points per game and 8.3 rebounds per game.  I like this kid.  Many people I talk to don’t like him claiming, “he got way too many calls his way during the tournament”.  My argument to that is didn’t Micheal Jordan get a lot of calls, I recall so.  Doesn’t Kobe Bryant get a lot of calls his way, I know for a fact so.  The same goes with Lebron James and all the big time names throughout the NBA and Collegiate levels.  The point is when you’re good like these players listed you’re going to get calls. Simply because you put yourself in a position to make plays and when that happens you’re going to get some help.  I think Derrick should leave for the NBA draft. Honestly, I do not feel like he has much more to accomplish at Arizona.  He has already won Pac-10 POY honors and I do not see Arizona has a National Title contender in the next 2 years.  He will go as a lottery pick and make some very good money.  Why not go?

Lee has made the decison to leave early by hiring an agent for the NBA Draft

3) Malcolm Lee.  I didn’t get the opportunity to watch Lee too much during this past season.  From what I’ve read and know about the kid it’s obvious that he has a very solid skill set.  I don’t always like to base my thought’s and opinions on numbers and like to watch players to see what I think but, I’m not too impressed with Lee’s 13.1 points per game and only contributing 2 assists per game.  BUT, then I remember who he played with.  Tyler Honeycutt and Reeves Nelson.  Honeycutt averaged 12.8 points/game while Nelson contributed a team high 13.9 points/game.  Two other players contributed both 9.1 and 10.9 points/game.  That’s good team basketball and means that everybody could score, as a coach you have to love that.  As for his decision to enter the draft, I would stay if I was him.  With there being so many unknowns about the immediate future of the NBA and some of the questions he has to be asking himself I think it’s a no brainer to stay in school and finish out his collegiate career and earn his degree. This way he could work on his jump shot and his perimeter shot as well as his basketball IQ, which seems to be some of the question marks NBA scouts have.

Mack has yet to sign an agent for the NBA Draft

4) Shelvin Mack. Unlike the others listed above Mack has yet to sign an agent. This means he has the option to opt out of the draft and remain eligible for his senior season at Butler.  To me this is a fantastic decision.  I think Mack and his fellow teammates have accomplished more than they could ever dream of.  Mack has made it to back to back National Championship games, unfortunately falling short both times.  Shelvin averaged 16 points per game and shot just around 40% from the field this past season.  I think Mack would make a great fit in the NBA. He has decent size for a guard at 6ft. 3in. and 215lbs.  However, Mack has made it clear by not signing an agent that he could come back.  Shelvin is a smart player and person.  He knows the of the questionable future of the NBA and wants to know how high he will get drafted before he makes a decision.  At this point in his career I think the only thing for Mack to do at the collegiate level is to work on his game or move on to the next level.  Either decision for Mack will be a good one.  However, I look for him to actually stay at Butler and get his degree while leading Butler back to the NCAA tournament.

Singleton won the ACC Defensive Player of the Year in this 2010-2011 season

5) Chris Singleton.  The Florida State Junior Forward has led the Seminoles to 3 straight NCAA tournament appearances and won the ACC Defensive Player of the Year award. Singleton has great length and is an awesome defender.  The same for Derrick Williams I think Singleton has nothing else to prove at Florida State and I don’t see the Seminoles as a National Championship Contender in the next few years.  I think Singleton is ready for the NBA and should leave school for the NBA.

6) Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones. These two freshman helped John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats to their first Final Four appearance since 1998. Brandon Knight averaged 17.3 points/game and Jones had 15.7 points/game.  The two freshman

The two standout freshman have yet to decied whether or not to enter the draft

accomplished more in 1 year than many senior classes across the country accomplish in their 4 years at their programs.  Honestly I think it’s probably a good idea for these two guys to stay in school just in case the NBA locks out.  Their skill sets are solid enough to go in the late first round and early second round of the draft.  It’s just a safe decision to stay in school for one more season and possibly make another trip to the Final Four, which I think is a good possibility.  As of right now neither of these two guys have declared for the draft.  But, Calipari has said he thinks both kids should leave for the draft and doesn’t think they should come back to school.

Kyrie joins a stud freshman class that could leave early for the NBA

7) Kyrie Irving. I think Kyrie proved he was one of the best freshman this year.  If he would have been healthy the entire season I could see the logic in him leaving for the draft. However, I think it would be a more intelligent decision to stay and get another year of experience while questions of an NBA lockout fly around.  I like Irving’s athleticism and his basketball IQ.  I think the decision to stay would benefit both Duke and Kyrie.  However, he’s already signed an agent and there’s no way he’ll back.  I think this is an interesting move and I think Kyrie will go in the early in the first round.

Kemba Walker was the most exciting player during the 2010-2011 season

8) Kemba Walker.  No brainer, go to the NBA.  In my eyes I think he should have won Player of the Year (the Naismith Award) and he won the Big East Player of the Year.  And let’s not forget to mention the National Championship he now has under his belt.  He made so many last second shots to win games and had the most successful season of any player at the Division I level.  Also, He’s graduating in May. So, he has a few awards, a National Title, and will have his degree within the next few weeks.  It’s a no brainer that he should leave for the NBA.

With the chance of an NBA lockout I think things should be interesting for Shelvin Mack, Terrence Jones, and Brandon Knight especially.  I look forward to hearing the decisions these young men make.


If you ask me this tournament blows.  Honestly I want to watch the best teams from the entire year not just who got hot for a week or maybe even two! However, I’m here to give my thoughts on the upcoming Sweet 16 match-ups. Hope you enjoy!

East Region:

  • Ohio State vs. Kentucky: Ohio State has been the most consistent and dominating team this season.  Winning the regular season Big Ten title and the Big Ten Conference championship.  Although Kentucky has shown some toughness and good play I don’t see much hope for the Wildcats.  As much as I hate to say it, Ohio State will most like dominate the Wildcats and move on to the Elite 8 with another very impressive victory.
  • Marquette vs. North Carolina:  Marquette has been a surprise this tournament (just as every other team left besides a few).  I had Marquette losing 1st round but they’ve proven me wrong not just once but by also beating Syracuse.  Everybody wants to talk about playing close to home…I don’t think that means anything come tournament time. Marquette took down Syracuse in Newark, New Jersey and Purdue got pounded by VCU in Chicago.  And UCN barely escaped Washington in their own back yard, Washington had traveled somewhere close to 2,000 miles compared to UNC only going about 140 miles.  If you watched the UNC/Washington game you’ll agree that UNC didn’t win that game but Washington lost that game.  I’m still not impressed with the TarHeels but think they have just as good of a shot as anybody but, I think Marquette will prevail in this one by playing tough defense and breaking down UNC’s almost non-existent defense at the other end of the floor.  Marquette > UNC in a close game.

West Region:

  • Duke vs. Arizona: Duke escaped Michigan by a two point margin, which nobody expected to happen. Arizona took down Texas on a 3 point play by Derrick Williams in the closing seconds of the game.  Two close games that two good teams won.  But, Duke has been here before in more recent history.  I think Nolan Smith and Kyrie Irving will be able to lock down Arizona’s guard but the opposite will not happen.  Duke needs a hot shooting night from Seth Curry if they don’t want to make it interesting.  I think Derrick Williams will have a big game but Duke wins.  I think Coach K’s squad wants to be the team that ties Bob Knight’s all time wins record for Coach K, just a little extra motivation.
  • Uconn vs San Diego State: I feel bad for anybody who has SDSU going any further than this game.  One of my friends has BYU and SDSU in the final game with SDSU winning it all.  He knows nothing about college basketball but might be on to something.  I don’t usually like to be proven wrong but hey it happens.  However, I think Uconn is just too tough and has better big game experience.  Plus, Uconn has Kemba Walker, whose in the running for Player of the Year (POY).  I don’t see SDSU’s luck making it past the Sweet 16.  Uconn wins by 9.

Southwest Region:

  • Kansas vs. Richmond: I think it’s fair to say that this region is a mess.  I hate it.  I’m not looking forward to watching these games.  I think this game in particular is going to be a blow out.  Kansas wins big, that’s all I have to say.  Actually, the Morris Twins are going to win this game with a bit of help from the guards (getting them the ball that is). Sorry Richmond, your Cinderella story is over.
  • VCU vs. FSU: I don’t want to watch this game. Maybe VCU will prove me wrong but I see them cooling off this round after 4 days off.  I strong feel that out of the 16 teams left that only 6 or 7 belong, and these two teams are not in that category.  Regardless FSU wins with good defensive and and rebounding.

Southeast Region:

  • Butler vs. Wisconsin: For once I’m actually looking forward to watching this game.  I think it’s going to be interesting watching the two different styles play.  I think Bo Ryan and his defense will be able to hold Butler in Check.  But, if Shelvin Mack stays hot he’s going to be hard to stop which could frustrate the Badgers.  But, I think Butler is at it again and pulls off another so called upset and advances to the Sweet 16 for the second straight year in a row on a buzzer beater by Howard!
  • BYU vs. Florida: I think Jimmer stays hot and frustrates Florida’s defense.  I like Florida’s team play and their ability to get open looks.  However, this is the one year where mid-majors have whooped big conferences butts so I’m going BYU in this game.

I’ve basically been wrong with every prediction.  But like I said before they’re only predictions.  So if you want your team to win that I have winning don’t hate me when they get beat.  And if I have your team losing and they win I don’t want to hear any smack talk about how wrong I was.  Like I said I’m not looking forward to watching too many of these games. I think once it’s down to the Final Four, when the best teams left weed out the undeserving competition, it’ll be much more interesting. Until then sit back and have a nice cold one to help you get through this weekends games.  I’ll be posting some more in depth reports later tonight and tomorrow before games resume on Thursday. Keep your eyes open for new posts!

Thanks for reading everyone!

Kelsey Barlow Suspension


It’s crazy how fast stories spread around the college basketball world come March.  I love it.  I was promptly informed that Kelsey Barlow had been suspended yesterday from about 12 people within a 20 minute time period. It was nuts. My phone rang non stop.  It began that Barlow was suspended for “conduct detrimental to the team”.  I’ve recently heard more details that he was suspended for failing 3 drug tests within a month time span. I’m not 100% this is the reason but it comes from a reliable source.  I also want to give a few thoughts on how I think this will affect Purdue and their chances at making a run to the Final Four.  I’ll have a piece on Kyrie Irving’s return as well later tonight.

1st of all I think Purdue will be just fine.  Yes, Barlow averaged 19 minutes a game and was a lock down defender but here’s what most people saw.  Kelsey Barlow was a turnover machine.  I can’t remember how many times I yelled at Coach Painter through my TV to get Barlow off the court and Lewis Jackson back in.  I think Barlow is a tremendous athlete and has the potential to blossom into a terrific player someday (and personally I do hope that is with Purdue).  I’ve heard rumors all season that he was a distraction to the team.  I don’t know if that’s true or not but if so that will be good for the Boilers.  When it’s a one and done deal you need to be focused with as little distractions as possible.

Terone's ability to finish at the hoop will help the Boilers with their run in the tournament

Purdue still has Terone Johnson, who I think will be Purdue’s next E’Twaun Moore.  I thank God that Barlow isn’t a post player (Forward or Center) that’s where Purdue really lacks depth.  Terone has the ability to do something Barlow didn’t show that he could do.  Terone can hit jump shots! Sure Barlow could get up there and throw down some ferocious dunks and pump up the team once ever 6 games but, T. Johnson has stepped up huge knocking down 3’s, making smart decisions with the ball, and getting into the lane and getting to the free throw line. Plus he finishes at the rim.  Terone is also a very solid defender.  Maybe not as good as Barlow but he can do his job and play team D that’s needed for Purdue to be successful.  That’s all I really ask out of the young guy.  Play solid defense and make a few shots here and there, and Terone has done that and most of the shots he has hit have been huge.  I actually look forward to seeing Terone get some more playing time.

I haven’t heard the status on John Hart in a while but I’m sure he’s well rested and will be ready to play Friday.  For some of you who aren’t familiar with hart I’ll give you a brief history.  Last season (as a redshirt freshman) Hart came off the bench against the Fighting Illini when Purdue was struggling to get anything going.  Hart had played very few minutes and Painter was making a

John Hart could prove valuable with increased minutes due to the Kelsey Barlow suspension

statement to the older guys.  Soon John scored and all of a sudden there was a stoppage in play.  The coaches had forgotten to put Hart on the roster for that game.  He went on to scored 14 points and lifted the Boilermakers to a victory.  He has the ability to score in bunches and has a good perimeter jump shot.  Hart also scores at good times when either Moore or JaJuan are being shut down or off the floor.  Hart is also a very solid defender. He reminds me of Lewis Jackson, shorter with a good build and solid perimeter defensive skills.  Look for Hart to be a factor in the tourney.

Purdue fans should also keep in mind the adversity Purdue has played against all year.  Raise your hand if you thought Purdue would have finished the season 25-7 and earn a 3 seed after Hummel went down.  Not many of us did, I didn’t. I knew we would still do well but didn’t have these expectations.  Purdue plays what they call “TEAM” basketball.  It’s not just one player like BYU, SDSU, and Sometimes UNC with Harrison Barnes.  Of course we have our two stars but everybody knows their role and contributes when needed.  That’s what makes Purdue a good team and a tough team to beat even without Hummel or Barlow.  So for all you Boilermaker fans out there continue to BOILER UP and HAMMER DOWN on all who may get in their way!

Duke Meets the Criteria


As mentioned earlier today Duke was 1 of the 5 teams that have met the criteria for being a National Champion.  If you’ve forgotten what the criteria were I’ll remind you promptly:

  1. Team must have at least a 10 game winning streak at some point during the season
  2. Team’s Margin of Victory must average double digits. So +10 points/victory
  3. Team must have been ranked in the preseason top 10

Duke’s preseason rank: 1

Duke’s MoV (Margin of Victory): 20.7

Duke’s Record: 27-3 (13-2 ACC)

Duke’s RPI: 4

At the beginning of the season I thought Duke was a very impressive team.  They have two wins over 40 points (46 and 52).  I realize these wins were against bad teams but give some credit for playing some D and making shots/layups/and free throws.  As of late though I have lost a lot of confidence in Duke.  They’ve lost to Florida State whose a tournament hopeful, Virgina Tech who I think is one of the first four out as of right now, and St. Johns.  Florida State is a good team and I know when you’re expected to win every game and you lose people point fingers.  I’ll give Florida State credit of a well played game and not bash the Dukies for a loss that was bound to happen.  Virginia Tech was looking good for a little bit and making a case for themselves to the selection committee but this loss was unimpressive to say the least.  As for the St. Johns loss, who hasn’t St. Johns beat?  Enough said on Duke’s losses.  Their very few and not much to fuss about.  I think Duke’s success is in the hands of Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler, obviously.

Coach Krzyzewski

Coach K needs these two to step up and be the leaders they can be.  The loss of Kyrie Irving dampers their ability to win title.  I see Duke making it to at least the Elite 8 and think they’ll make the Final Four, but that’s the end of the road for the Blue Devils.  Like I said in a previous post, predictions are just predictions.  It’s great when you get them right but when you’re wrong who really cares, unless you’re betting on the games….That’s just wrong anyway! I look for Coach K to have his team ready to perform well but not able to prevail and win another title.

I’m interested in hearing what other people have to say and their opinions on how far they think Duke will make in this year’s March Madness Tournament!

Duke Blue Devils


Many of my friends have asked me what’s most surprising about this years college basketball season so far.  Two things that have really surprised me are the Duke Blue Devils(10-0) and The San Diego State Aztecs(10-0).  I’ll talk about the Aztecs in a later post after I’m able to watch them and read up on them a bit more.  Duke so far has really caught my attention.  Yes, they did win the National Championship last year and I expected them to be good once again this year.  But, I did not expect them to dominate as they have so far this season.  Thus far into the season they have only played two top 10 teams, #4 Kansas State University and #6 Michigan State University (rankings are at the time the game was played), and have blown out every other opponent in very convincing fashion.  They stomped #4 KSU by 14 points and beat #6 MSU only by 5 points.  I’ll admit KSU didn’t bring they’re “A” game that night and looked shell shocked, but I have to give Duke credit, Duke took care of business and came out of that game with a very convincing victory.  Some might look at the score of the MSU game and say, “5 points. That’s not that impressive”.  If you watched that game you know that Duke dominated every facet of the game.  They out-rebounded, out-hustled, and all around out-played the Spartans.  They forced MSU to play their game and in turn Michigan State looked uncomfortable to say the least.

That leads to more questions, what makes Duke so good? How are they able to crush the competition?   Ladies and gentleman, the answer is Kyrie Irving.  Irving, a freshman, leads the team in scoring with 17.4 ppg.  Kyrie Irving is shooting 45% from behind the arc and 90% from the free throw line.  He is also getting to the charity stripe more than any other Duke player.  Coach Mike Krzyzewski changed the offense to make sure Kyrie was the focus point of the offense.  That’s saying a lot considering he has Kyle Singler and the Plumlee brothers (Mason and Miles).  Irving’s talents and skills complement his knowledge of the game perfectly.  This combination allows Irving to make split second decisions and to follow through making very explosive and exciting plays. Unfortunately for the Blue Devils Kyrie suffered a big toe injury and is out indefinitely.  When asked if Kyrie Irving could be out for the season Coach Krzyzewski responded, “He could be, he could be”.

So what does Irving’s injury mean to Dukie nation?  Quite frankly I think Duke fans can rest easy.  With the amount of talent Duke has and a nonthreatening upcoming schedule Duke should be fine.  Nolan Smith, who will be Irving’s replacement, is second on the team in scoring (16.6 ppg).  He’s also shooting 30% from 3-point land and 75% from the free throw line.  Yes, Smith can at times play out of control and isn’t the player that Irving is but he’s a serviceable point guard on a squad that has more scoring threats than some conferences.  Kyle Singler has shown the ability to single handedly take over and win a ball game.  Throw in Nolan Smith, Mason and Miles Plumlee and you still have a solid 4.  Compliment those 4 with Andre Dawkins or Seth Curry and you have a good 6 man rotation.  The only immediate threats I see on Duke’s schedule are Maryland(Jan. 9th), Florida State(Jan. 12th), and Virginia(Jan. 15th).  However, I still think they’ll handle these squads with ease and will continue to prove that they are the #1 team in the nation.  They play Boston College on Jan. 27th and Maryland again on February 2nd.  If Kyrie Irving isn’t back by then the Blue Devils should have enough game experience to be comfortable playing together and should prevail holding on to the top spot in the nation.  If Irving is back by those games I see no chance for any team in the Atlantic Coast Conference(ACC).  Other important games to keep in mind for the Blue Devils are on Feb. 9th and the last game of the year on March 5th against the North Carolina Tar Heels.  Rivalry games always make for good contests and the outcomes are unpredictable.

Just because I think the Blue Devils are the best team in the nation so far doesn’t mean they won’t slip and open up the #1 spot for someone else to take over.  This early in the season the only team I’ve seen play consistent enough to give Duke a run for their money is the Kansas Jayhawks(9-0).