Sunday, March 15, 2009

Tudor's Take: Duke could go far

Duke hasn't won three games in an NCAA Tournament since 2004, but that should change during the next two weeks.

En route to a 79-69 win over Florida State for the ACC championship Sunday, the Blue Devils left the Atlanta Georgia Dome with all the markings of a national contender.

Mike Krzyzewski doesn't have a tall roster and there's little muscle. But with Nolan Smith back in the rotation and contributing important minutes, Duke again has enough depth, talent, accurate outside shooters, defensive tenacity and lineup options to reach a regional final and maybe a Final Four.

The team that shut down Boston College, Maryland and the Seminoles over the weekend was the fruition of much tinkering and patience by Krzyzewski since early February.

When the Devils lost by 27 at Clemson, by 14 in Durham to North Carolina and by six to Boston College during a four-game stretch at the outset of February, there was no reason to envision a 17th league championship for the program.

But Krzyzewski pulled strings, inserted freshman Elliot Williams into the lineup, moved Jon Scheyer to the point and put the leadership onus on Gerald Henderson. Once Smith eventually recovered from a head injury suffered in that Feb. 15 loss at Boston, the Blue Devils emerged with a tougher, more productive playing style.

Against a hot opponent and with much of Dome audience rooting for the underdog Seminoles, Duke on Sunday looked a lot like the Duke of old. -- Caulton Tudor, (Raleigh) News & Observer

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Smith's speed and defense really helped us capture the conference title. Wish he could've played at the Dean Dome!

Anonymous said...

0-2 vs HEELS

jlgoodnite said...

Heels? Who won the ACC Championship? Enough said! GO DUKE!

jlgoodnite said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Looks like Lawson will be GREATLY missed by the Tarholes next year after seeing their performance in this tournament.

Tarheel Paul said...

UNC won the conference title. Duke won the tournament title with the most valuable player for the ACC season sitting out. Thanks Felony U for helping Duke to a higher seed than they would have had if they played UNC in the finals. Hansbrough owns Duke. Celebrate while you can. Your days are numbered.

Anonymous said...

No, Hansflop's days are numbered - see how you do next year without most of your starting lineup. The last time I checked, the champion of the ACC is the team who wins the ACC tournament. No one but cryolina hangs banners for mythical "regular season championships".

Anonymous said...

UNC may have had a pretty regular season record, but Duke is the conference champion.

Tarheel Paul said...

Next year the UNC win streak will continue. # 1 recruiting class and a strong supporting class.When Duke has a player to match Hansbrough in the record book, come back and speak. Otherwise talk to the hand JJ.

Michael said...

Talk to the hand, ha! Haven't heard that one in a while.

As for Hansbrough, you can't argue with the record-setting career he's had, but the most important number on his resume is zero, as in number of National Titles he's won. Granted, most players never do win one, but when you're playing on the deepest, most talented team in the country for your third consecutive season, you need a ring if you're really that great.

It's the same reason J.J. will never have quite the legend of guys like Hurley, Hill, Laettner, Williams and Battier, despite all the points he put on the board.