5 Reasons the No. 2 Duke Blue Devils Will Make the Final Four
Blue Devils On Their Way To Atlanta?
The Duke Blue Devils Men’s Basketball team is one of those sport’s powerhouses that you either love or hate. If I had to guess, the majority of you would side with the Duke haters, unless you are a Duke University student or alumni, or from the North Carolina area. I myself am not a Blue Devils fan, but I can’t deny the tradition and greatness associated with Duke basketball.
With 15 Final Four appearances, four National Championships and countless former players with NBA careers, it would be a massive understatement to say Duke somewhat defines college hoops. Whether you want to admit it or not, the Blue Devils year in and year out are one of the most dynamic teams in the NCAA. With their last losing season dating all the way back to the 1994-95 season, Duke has been a force in college basketball since players began wearing their shorts past their knees.
This year is no different. Once again, Duke is one of the top teams in college basketball, and it’s beginning to look like they could be on their way to another Final Four appearance. After an impressive 66-50 victory over Doug McDermott and the Creighton Bluejays Sunday night, Duke is headed to the Sweet 16. While the Blue Devils haven’t punched their ticket to Atlanta quite yet, it seems as if they are well on their way. The only thing that stands between them and the Final Four are the Michigan State Spartans and the winner of the Louisville Cardinals and the Oregon Ducks.
Unfortunately, for Duke haters, I believe the Blue Devils are the best team in the Midwest Region and are Final Four bound. Duke has certain factors and reasons that make them my clear favorite to come out of the Midwest Region. With this in mind, here are the top five reasons Duke will make it to the Final Four.
5. Duke’s High Power Offense
Averaging 78.3 points per game, Duke is 6th in the nation in scoring. The Blue Devils out score their next opponent, Michigan State, by over ten points per game. Duke’s high power offensive attack will catapult them through the tournament’s next two rounds and into the Final Four.
4. Tyler Thornton’s Bench Play
In order to make a run in the tournament, a team needs at least one bench player to provide a spark. Tyler Thornton is that guy for Duke. In Duke’s first two tournament games, Thornton has scored 13 points. What’s most impressive of the junior guard’s play is he’s 4-for-4 from the field, including 3-for-3 from behind the arc. If Thornton can continue his hot shooting and outstanding bench play, don’t be surprised if Duke comes out of the Midwest Region.
3. The Return Of Ryan Kelly
Since Duke forward Ryan Kelly has returned from a right foot injury, the Blue Devils are 5-1. With his outside shooting and ability to score inside as well, Kelly makes Duke’s offense a force to be reckoned with. The senior figures to provide Duke with some inspired play this weekend, which will help lead the Blue Devils to Atlanta.
2. Senior Leadership
With almost all of college basketball’s top players leaving for the NBA draft after a season or two, it’s rare to see a power conference team with dominant seniors. However, Duke has the luxury of having not one or two, but three senior starters. Seniors Ryan Kelly, Mason Plumlee and Seth Curry all play a crucial role in Duke’s success. With plenty of tournament experience under their belts, these three seniors understand what it takes to make a Final Four run.
1. Coach K
Not only does Mike Krzyzewski have the most career wins of any Division I men’s college basketball coach, but he also has the most NCAA Tournament wins as well. When you add in the fact that he has 11 Final Four appearances and four National Championships, it’s easy to see that Coach K is the tournament’s top coach. Krzyzewski will be a big reason Duke finds themselves in yet another Final Four.