Tag Archive: Nolan Smith



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!

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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!

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).