Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Will Duke Go Undefeated?

Coming off a seven point victory versus rival Maryland, the Duke Blue Devils travel to face Florida State tomorrow night.  The ACC is particularly weak this year, with only one team currently ranked (Duke), who is thought of as the favorite to win their second consecutive National Championship.  Other than Duke, no team in the ACC has less than four losses.  In comparison, the Big East has seven teams with 3 or less losses.  This poses an easier path to run the table for Duke.  They do have some tough games in the future, but Duke has a legitimate shot at going undefeated.  Here I have highlighted the five toughest games of the year, because although Duke will go into every game as a favorite, it is extremely difficult to win all of these games.  

1.  January 27th vs. Boston College.  BC is currently 12-4 and is a very good shooting team.  They are an efficient offense, shooting at 49% from the floor and 40% from long range.  Additionally, the Eagles have four players who average more than 11 points a game.  They are led by Junior G Reggie Jackson, who is averaging just under 19 points per ball game.  He is one of the best three point shooters in the country, making 35 of his 72 attempts.  Look for Boston College to give Duke everything they can handle.  

Chance at upset: 30%

2. January 30th vs. St. John's University.  St. John's is part of the mid-tier of the Big East conference and are 10-4 so far this year.  They have already beat Georgetown and are a tough team at home.  This game is the next contest after BC for Duke, so if they survive the Eagles, this game could be one of those hangover games, where a team comes off a big win and loses to a team they should take care of.  St. John's is led by Dwight Hardy and Justin Brownlee, who score about 30 points a game together.  

Chance at upset: 50%

3. February 2nd vs. Maryland.  The Terrapins have already shown they can compete with Duke, as they lost 71-64 a few days ago.  Maryland is a mentally and physically tough team, but they are young, which has cost them a few games so far this year.  If they can focus on their go to guy Jordan Williams, who is a force down low, averaging 18 points a game, they can beat the Blue Devils.  It was when Maryland shot a lot of three pointers, that Duke pulled away.  Maryland has the ability to play defense and make some noise in the ACC this season.

Chance at upset: 60%

4.  February 23rd vs. Temple.  The Owls are the only team currently ranked in Duke's remaining schedule.  Temple has also beaten Georgetown this season and stands at 11-3.  They are the favorites to win the Atlantic-10 conference and are led by a pair of guards: Ramone Moore and Juan Fernandez.  They both can catch fire from the perimeter and drain shot after shot.  The Owls are a mid-major school, but Temple is no pushover.

Chance at upset: 30%

5. March 5th vs. UNC.  This is probably the greatest rivalry in College Basketball and will be their second matchup of the year.  This represents a tougher task, because it will be played on the road for Duke.  No matter the rankings or records of the teams, Duke and North Carolina play each other as if they were battling it out for the title.  UNC has struggled the past few years, but with Tyler Zeller and Freshman standout Harrison Barnes, the Tar Heels have the talent to knock off Duke.  The importance in this game will be momentum.  If UNC can start the game off well, the crowd will keep the team going all night long.  

Chance at upset: 45%

Duke has the opportunity to go undefeated this year, but it will not come easy.  Out of the five remaining unbeaten teams, Duke has the best chance.  The last team to go undefeated and win the National Championship was Indiana in 1975-1976, when they went 32-0.  Keep an eye on the Blue Devils as they pursue perfection!

No comments:

Post a Comment