Editor’s Note: Apparently I have great influence, because my dad, former college basketball coach Denny Carroll, has decided he needs to be a blogger. So I’m going to help him get some practice (we’re talking about practice).
Feedback is welcome, but only if it’s nice.
Prior to Duke freshman phenom Kyrie Irving going down with a toe injury, there were some rumblings among college basketball writers about the possibility of Duke accomplishing the same memorable feat Coach K’s mentor (General Robert Montgomery Knight) did with the Indiana Hoosiers in ’76, i.e. “Run the Table” (undefeated NCAA Champs!).
Now, Irving’s injury (and the uncertainty of its severity) have made people back off on such a bold prediction. But why? The factors that prompted such talk still exist:
1. Duke may have already faced its strongest opponents of the regular season (Kansas State and Michigan State) and took care of them in easy fashion, albeit with Kyrie.
2. The ACC is down. We are not looking at a year where the ACC is loaded from top to bottom. Carolina is going to have to improve tenfold (and find their own point guard) to pose a serious threat. The Florida schools have never really been a challenge – and, the League has 3 brand new coaches for the first time in memory (Clemson, Wake, BC). The Virginia teams are evenly matched with UVA already pulling out a close one at Tech – and, speaking of Tech – Ga. Tech is having a real hard time finding someone to score. That leaves long-time Duke nemesis Maryland (oh no it doesn’t – they already lost at home to BC, who already lost at home to POWERHOUSE Yale).
3. Duke is deeper than ever before. YES THEY ARE. Ergo, one injury will not impact as much as some people would like to predict.
With Coach K being such a genius – and able to turn negatives into positives – he will have the team even more evenly balanced and not need 30 from Irving to beat good teams. Pressure defense will continue to be their staple and they can play fast – slow – medium – anyway they want. AND, on Selection Sunday when they are the undefeated # 1 seed, and people start writing about them running the table, RUHIHF – “remember you heard it here first.”
PS – My dad really likes acronyms.