It is no secret that Duke basketball has had success at Indianapolis when they host the Final Four. The last two times Indianapolis has hosted the tournament, Duke has won the National Championship; both in 2010 and 2015. History seems to be on their side.
Another case for Duke history being in favor of this team is that they are ranked 9th in the AP Top 25 poll; the last time they started out 9th was in the 2009-2010 season when they won the National Championship, in Indianapolis. This team is loaded with new freshman that are eager to get onto the court, but what is more important to this team is their depth. Duke has seven returning players and Patrick Tapé, who was a transfer student; making that a total of eight returning players. Duke basketball will have depth which will only help them in the long run for the Final Four.
What Duke basketball lacked last season was depth and veteran leadership; both are two things the team as a whole has improved on. There are a lot of good teams in the NCAA this year, and teams that will surprise fans across the nation, but for Duke what they need to focus on is playing as a team if they want to go to the Final Four. They lost star PG, Tre Jones who went to the NBA draft. Jones led the team in assists with 6.4 APG. The only other player who was close to Jones’ average was Jordan Goldwire who averaged 2.3 APG. Goldwire is a key component to this team, the 6-2 Senior Guard, can easily contribute to igniting a run only pushes the Blue Devils further. That is what is so special about March Madness and the Final Four, it is the players who make a name for themselves; like Grayson Allen who made his emergence against Michigan State in the 2015 Final Four. Goldwire is the guy to do it for Duke, potentially coming off the bench and giving them the extra push to make them a National Championship contender.
The young freshman core is giving Duke a lot of youth and energy. The six freshman, are very talented on the court, “Six incoming freshmen are coming to Duke and all of them provide Duke basketball with something they did not have last season: height and depth”. To play in College Basketball at this level, especially wanting to make a run to the Final Four, Duke will need to be able to size up and have the height advantage at both ends. Also they need to have depth, the depth going into a late March run will only benefit them. Having depth on a team like Duke means more rest for the starters, so they can play in the final minutes. Also, if anyone is in foul trouble Duke will have established a next man up mentality off the bench. There is a lot of hope in this team, and they are very optimistic on heading deep into March and into early April, “We don’t know a lot of things, but we know we’re going to have March Madness. We know we’re going to have a regular season.” Mike Krzyzewski said. A young core and veteran leadership, mixed in with one of the greatest coaches of all time; that is a recipe for success to make it to the Final Four.
Lastly, three words to describe this Final Four run for Duke basketball; Sights. On. Six.
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