#12 Duke Blue Devils: College Basketball 111 in 111

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Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series.  Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.

We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

Here’s a major reach of a statement; The Duke Blue Devils are going to be good this year.  (Although they were good last year and shocked in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament by 15 seed Lehigh.)  Do they have enough talent to be a true title contender though?  I just don’t see it.

DUKE BLUE DEVILS
Last Season: 2nd, 13-3 in ACC, 27-7 overall
Predicted ACC Finish: 2nd

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Mason Plumlee (Sr)/Marshall Plumlee (Fr)
PF: Ryan Kelly (Sr)/Josh Hairston (Jr)
SF: Alex Murphy (Fr)/Amile Jefferson (Fr)
SG: Rasheed Sulaimon (Fr)/Seth Curry (Sr)
PG: Quinn Cook (So)/Tyler Thornton (Jr)

Gone: G-Austin Rivers, C-Miles Plumlee, G/F-Michael Gbinije (transfer-Syracuse)

2012-2013 Outlook:
Because they primarily used a three-guard line-up, Duke was a bit soft last season especially on the defensive end.  They only lose two key contributors from last year but will need to tighten things up defensively as a team to exceed expectations.

That all begins in the middle with the lengthy duo of Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly.  Mason has been known for his athleticism and ability to rebound the basketball but hasn’t developed his offensive repertoire like many would have hoped.  Kelly brings more size but not a whole of physicality as he best served playing a face-up four role due to his ability to shoot the triple.

The youngest Plumlee, Marshall will suit up after redshirting last year.  The 6-11 big man will be sidelined until at least the start of December though as he recovers from a stress fracture in his left foot.  Until he returns, energy role player Josh Hairston is the only true big body coming off the bench.

Mike Krzyzewski does have some flexibility with small forward Alex Murphy and Amile Jefferson who are each capable of playing some four if the Dukies decide to use a smaller line-up.  Murphy used a redshirt season in 2011-12 as well and is an inside/outside threat with surprising athleticism.  The McDonald’s All-American Jefferson was a late signee but brings needed explosiveness to the wing.

Austin Rivers is gone which could actually be addition by subtraction a bit in the backcourt since he never truly subscribed to the team mentality.  Rasheed Sulaimon brings his sweet stroke to Durham and it appears he will start at the two while Seth Curry nurses a leg injury that has limited him some during the preseason.  That’s a duo capable of lighting it up from deep and they could share the floor at the same time if Coach K does decide to utilize a three-guard look at times.

The point guard position straight up needs to improve.  Curry and Rivers both dabbled at that spot last season but now Duke needs Quinn Cook to emerge as the guy.  Cook was eased into the college game a bit last season but the position seems to be his to lose since he is more skilled than his competition, Tyler Thornton.  Rather than having a revolving door between the two this season, I truly believe Cook needs to own that position for the Blue Devils to reach their peak potential.

Duke has a couple of talented players sitting out this season.  Andre Dawkins will use a redshirt this year to preserve his final year of eligibility because as Coach K put it, “he needs to step away from the game.”  Mississippi State transfer and future NBA lottery pick Rodney Hood will be able to practice this season but is not allowed to play.  The athletic lefty with a smooth jumper elected to leave the Bulldog program after Rick Stansbury stepped down and will be a huge addition in 2013-14.

The ACC is going to be intriguing to watch this year with the typical powers Duke and UNC battling it out once again along with league favorite, N.C. State.  The Devils should have solid balance and plenty of scoring options but their intensity on the defensive end will be the difference maker between them being good or potentially making a deep run into March.

Player to Watch: Mason Plumlee
The captain of my All “Anti-Boy” Team, the middle Plumlee has yet to find a consistent mid-range game or true back-to-the-basket ability to complement his athleticism and explosiveness at the rim.  He is at his best in transition or putting back tip-ins.  His older brother, Miles was the same way yet somehow a first round pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.  Mason can really do wonders for his draft stock and Duke’s overall finish if he can display more versatility on the offensive end.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/13 vs. Kentucky (in Atlanta)
11/22 vs. Minnesota (Battle 4 Atlantis)
11/23 vs. Memphis/VCU (Battle 4 Atlantis)
11/24 vs. Louisville/Northern Iowa/Missouri/Stanford (Battle 4 Atlantis)
11/28 vs. Ohio State (Big Ten/ACC Challenge)
12/8 vs. Temple (at Barclays Center)
1-2 vs. Davidson (in Charlotte)

 

OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#14 Arizona Wildcats
#15 North Carolina Tar Heels
#16 Michigan State Spartans
#17 UCLA Bruins
#18 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
#19 Cincinnati Bearcats
#20 Marquette Golden Eagles
#21 Creighton Bluejays
#22 Gonzaga Bulldogs
#23 Minnesota Golden Gophers
#24 Memphis Tigers
#25 Baylor Bears
#26 Wisconsin Badgers
#27 Tennessee Volunteers
#28 Pitt Panthers
#29 New Mexico Lobos
#30 St. Mary’s Gaels
#31 Georgetown Hoyas
#32 North Texas Mean Green
#33 Ohio Bobcats
#34 Texas Longhorns
#35 Miami Hurricanes
#36 Purdue Boilermakers
#37 Alabama Crimson Tide
#38 St. Joseph’s Hawks
#39 Murray State Racers
#40 VCU Rams
#41 Davidson Wildcats
#42 Stanford Cardinal
#43 UMass Minutemen
#44 St. John’s Red Storm
#45 Butler Bulldogs
#46 Florida State Seminoles
#47 Drexel Dragons
#48 St. Louis Billikens
#49 West Virginia Mountaineers
#50 BYU Cougars
#51 Temple Owls
#52 Washington Huskies
#53 California Golden Bears
#54 Kansas State Wildcats
#55 Nevada Wolfpack
#56 Colorado Buffaloes
#57 Iowa State Cyclones
#58 Northern Iowa Panthers
#59 Colorado State Rams
#60 Iowa Hawkeyes
#61 South Florida Bulls
#62 Valparaiso Crusaders
#63 Illinois Fighting Illini
#64 Arkansas Razorbacks
#65 Wichita State Shockers
#66 George Mason Patriots
#67 Virginia Cavaliers
#68 Villanova Wildcats
#69 Maryland Terrapins
#70 Marshall Thundering Herd
#71 Iona Gaels
#72 Northwestern Wildcats
#73 Oklahoms State Cowboys
#74 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
#75 USC Trojans
#76 UConn Huskies
#77 Harvard Crimson
#78 Xavier Musketeers
#79 Ole Miss Rebels
#80 Clemson Tigers
#81 Oregon State Beavers
#82 Texas A&M Aggies
#83 Providence Friars
#84 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#85 Oklahoma Sooners
#86 Lehigh Mountain Hawks
#87 Washington State Cougars
#88 Long Beach State 49ers
#89 Belmont Bruins
#90 Vanderbilt Commodores
#91 Dayton Flyers
#92 Houston Cougars
#93 UCF Knights
#94 Old Dominion Monarchs
#95 Oregon Ducks
#96 LSU Tigers
#97 South Carolina Gamecocks
#98 Seton Hall Pirates
#99 Georgia Bulldogs
#100 DePaul Blue Demons
#101 Boston College Eagles
#102 Penn State Nittany Lions
#103 Arizona State Sun Devils
#104 Virginia Tech Hokies
#105 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#108 TCU Horned Frogs
#109 Mississippi State Bulldogs
#110 Utah Utes
#111 Nebraska Cornhuskers

David Kay is a senior feature NBA DraftNBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)

You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.

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