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Feb
23
2012

Time to start believing in the Duke Blue Devils.

The Duke Blue Devils might have been the most underrated 23-4 #4 ranked team in recent memory. Listen to the college basketball analysts and they heaped deserved praise on Kentucky and Syracuse. No one argues that, but after those two you got into the next group of teams that could get to the final 4 and win the national title.

Kansas, Michigan St, and North Carolina were the teams most often mentioned. Despite Duke’s record and wins over the previously mentioned Kansas, Michigan St, and North Carolina, most felt the Blue Devil’s apparent lack of athleticism and some shaky defensive numbers should keep them from being named one of the country’s elite teams. You can throw me in that group too. I didn’t think Duke could reach the Final 4 without a really forgiving tournament draw. I was wrong. This is one of the best teams in college basketball and they are getting better each week.

Duke went to Florida State Thursday night with first place in the ACC on the line. It wasn’t that many weeks ago that the Noles visited Durham and defeated the Blue Devils. It was considered the biggest basketball game ever to be played at Florida State. It was a sellout Seminole crowd, national TV, home court final score – Duke 74 Florida St. 66. This wasn’t a case of the Seminoles playing all that poorly either. Was it their best, no… but Duke got up early and led Florida State the entire game.  Each Seminole run was answered by a timely 3 point shot. That was a very good FSU team that Duke beat. It was the Blue Devils nation leading 5th RPI top 20 win.

A few weeks ago I considered Duke’s frontline a liability. They couldn’t handle athletic physical frontlines, but the Plumlees and Ryan Kelly have elevated their games to at least hold their own in such matchups. Remember when everyone thought Brian Zoubek was the weak link on Duke’s 2010 National Title Team? He turned into one of the blue collar glue guys that was vital to that team’s success. Of course we have to talk about Austin Rivers. Rivers is becoming one of the most feared shooters in the ACC. Guards Andre Dawkins and Seth Curry are also big time contributors.

From their comeback wins against UNC and NC State to the victory at Florida State, this is a poised team that rarely gets rattled. If they win the ACC regular season and ACC tournament you can’t convince this isn’t a number 1 seed. ESPN’s Andy Katz suggested that Michigan St. and Kansas were more deserving if they all win out. Strange… I think Duke beat both of those teams. I’m done doubting this team. Can you find some holes still? yea probably but outside of Kentucky and Syracuse everybody has some issue. It’s time to start believing in these Duke Blue Devils as a legit Final 4 threat



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