I tend to usually think that the media and the public overrate Duke.. but suddenly the Blue Devils are underrated. Perhaps the most underrated team in the country.
First off, they will make the NCAA Tournament. Lets all just calm down. The #10 Pomeroy, #14 Sagarin, #18 RPI, and #26 AP team will make the NCAA Tournament. If the Tournament started today, not only would they make it, but they'd still probably deserve a 5 or 6 seed.
The ACC is solid. Look at Maryland.. just 4-6 (8th) in conference play, but they'd probably be the 3rd best team in the Big Ten. Look how they beat Illinois in Champaign and Michigan State on a neutral court. There's only a few easy games in the league.. and the problem for Duke is that they don't have the lower tier teams left on the schedule. Only BC, GT, Clemson, Maryland, and UNC left.. and only 2 of those 5 are at home. So going 3-2 or better in those games will be very hard, especially since you figure the game at UNC is basically a guaranteed loss. But I think they'll win the road game at BC, then the home games against Maryland and GT which would put them at 8-8 in the league. That should still be good for a very favorable seed.
Since I missed Monday's Dribble.. I decided I'll do something a little special and discuss all 29 games on the schedule. Okay, its not really special, and its not really any longer than usual.. but I felt like mixing things up.
Here's Monday's recap.. in order of the games starting times and not importance: Surprising William & Mary won again, beating Georgia State 57-43. At 10-4, the Tribe have already hit the double-digit mark for the first time since the 02-03 season. Also in CAA play, Delaware's horrible season continued as the Hens fell to 2-13 and 0-2 in league play. Delaware lost to Towson (7-7), who bounced back from two tough overtime losses in conference games.
I wouldn't say Tuesday was a wacky day of colege basketall.. but it was certainly an odd day. Appalachian State over Virginia is certainly the day's shocker. Virginia was 6-1, including a win over Arizona, heading into the matchup with then 7-3 Appalachian State in Puerto Rico. Perhaps inspired by the football team's good run in the 1-AA Football Tournament.. the Mountaineers basically controlled Virginia from the tip. App State comes out of the game with an 8-3 record.. but don't be deceived, this team hadn't done anything before Tuesday. 3 of their wins were against non-D1 teams and they had losses of 30 against Clemson and 32 against Virginia Tech. This is not just the most shocking win of the day, but arguably the most shocking win of the year. North Dakota State over Marquette got some headlines, but this is twice as surprising.
Polls on Monday were relatively standard.. perhaps the placement of Notre Dame and Michigan State were most interesting. The Spartans received 87 votes in the Coaches Poll, good for 25th spot, while Notre Dame was right behind with 57 votes. In the AP Pol though, Notre Dame was 20th, a full 16 spots ahead of the 36th ranked Spartans. Whats odd is that the placement of these teams doesn't correspond to any sort of Big Ten/Big East bias in the polls. Despite the slap to 8-1 Notre Dame in the Coaches Poll, fellow Big Ten team UCONN is ranked 11th, 3 spots ahead of its spot in the AP. Further, despite the love for MSU in the Coaches Poll, Wisconsin is a spot lower at 5th in the Coaches..
I took a slow Thursday of college hoops to watch some NBA Basketball on TNT. Adam Morrison and the Charlotte Bobcats faced JJ Redick and the Orlando Magic in the battle of the new white hopes (at least until Chase Budinger comes along). Morrison came through with 22 points off the bench to help lead Charlotte to a rare win. Morrison is coming off one of the worst shooting slumps of not just his young NBA career.. but of his life.. anybody's life for that matter. From December 3 to December 10, Morrison put up some the worst numbers I've seen in NBA history. December 3: 1-5 shooting, 2 points, 19 minutes. December 6: 1-10 shooting, 4 points, 35 minutes. December 8: 1-11 shooting, 2 points, 30 minutes. December 10: 1-8 shooting, 3 points, 26 minutes. Add it up.. 4 for 34 shooting (12%), 11 points, 110 minutes.. Awful. At least Morrison has shown flashes and is averaging 13 per game.