I’ve got Duke winning it all. Who you got? Sound Off in the Comments…
I won't go through my usual long spiel about why I'm picking Duke to win it all, but I'll leave you with just a few points before things really get underway tomorrow. Duke's drive-to-the-hoop-first, shoot-the-three-second style of offense against Carolina on Sunday in the ACC Championship was pretty much unstoppable. As long as the Blue Devils don't start chucking up threes — particularly in tight games — their offense will be incredibly difficult to contain. Likewise the defense from Sunday's game: If Duke can keep their intensity up and their opponents as near to the three-point arc as possible, opponents will be hardpressed to score many more points than the 58 that Carolina managed. And finally, Kyrie Irving probably won't and shouldn't start a single game during the tournament but by the second weekend he'll be the most dynamic sixth man in the field. I don't expect him to be the floor general — Nolan Smith, Seth Curry, and Andre Dawkins have settled comfortably into those roles — but he'll add a spark when Duke needs it and help the Blue Devils cut down the nets (before jetting off to the NBA).
Three things scare me: the full-court press, a dominant big man who can get the Plumlees in foul trouble, and Kemba Walker. You might tell me I should be most afraid of the Morris brothers or Jared Sullinger, but it's Walker in a tied game with 30 seconds to go that scares the hell out of me. If Duke can avoid that scenario and advance to the Final Four, I think they win it all.
I know, you think I'm crazy. So Sound Off below with your predictions. Who will win the 2011 NCAA Tournament?