OSU will lose Sullinger and Buford. Wisconsin loses Jordan Taylor. UNC loses virtually their entire starting 5. Syracuse loses their top 2 scorers and their PG, and they may also lose Fab Melo. Cincy lost 11 games this year and loses their best player and their second leading scorer. Texas lost 14 games this year and loses both of their centers and may lose their best player as well. MSU loses the only difference-maker on their team and also their 2 best perimeter shooters. Kansas loses the only 2 guys that could score consistently. Memphis lost 9 games this past year and may very well lose their difference maker. Michigan adds a stud big man but loses at least 3 of their six regulars (waiting to see about Hardaway and Burke). Florida lost 10 games this year and will lose at least 1 and possibly 3 of their starters (including their only inside guy and their best player). Arizona has a stud recruiting class but they lost 12 games in an awful Pac-12 and they lose 2 of their 3 best players.
I'm not saying we'll clearly be better than all of those teams. But I'd say that those teams are all likely to be facing the same challenges we'll be facing. So I think it's unfair to expect us to struggle and them to not struggle. Only UK (who will reload), Louisville (who returns almost everyone), NC State (if Leslie returns), and Indiana (if Zeller returns) are clearly ahead of Duke on your list. The rest all have substantial questions to address just like Duke.
Des Essientes writes:
Just so we're, like, super-clear here: you're talking about Duke University's men's basketball team next year? The one with so many top 30 recruits that a few of them will barely see the court, even if we sign no one else and Mason bolts? That team? Because if you are, Donny, I'm sorry but you're out of your element.
I am talking about that same Duke basketball team and I'm basing it not on the pre-college recruiting rankings of guys like Evan Goodman and Dave Telep, but what I've actually seen on the court. As I've made clear in my other posts, I believe based on what we all saw this year, that we're got a whole lot of questions about next year's team and very, very few sure answers. Most of the hope for this team comes from either (1) sheer faith in the unknown that is Gbinijie and MPIII and to a lesser extent Quinn Cook; and (2) unrealistic hope for improvement from experienced players who are at a point in their careers where big growth leaps just don't happen.
You're right that we've got plenty of talent to be a top 25ish team, but at the beginning of the season, until we prove it, I don't think we are.
I find it hard to believe that you know enough about Marcus Paige to call him more complete than a guy who the best coach in the country decided to start for the second half of the season. As far as his surrounding cast, I would have to disagree as well. In the post, he may get McAdoo back while we may get Mason back. I'd say both seem around equally likely to stay if not Mason has more to stick around for. Additionally, everyone assumes UNC is getting Oriakhi but that is far from a done deal and Duke could easily add either TP or Amile on top of their McD AA from last year. So front court would you rather have Mason/Kelly/Marshall or McAdoo/Oriakhi/James. I'd probably prefer our front court b/c Marshall should be better than James, and b/c of Kelly's versatility. And that appears to be best case scenario for UNC (well apart from them somehow getting Noels) while for Duke could still easily add another body even with the loss of Mason.
As for the back court, well again, I would take Cook who was 31 according to RSCI compared to Paige who is 29 according to RSCI and a year behind. I think Cook is the key to our offense. That said, UNC has two guards who are coming off ACL injuries and Dexter had his occur in late January so it is unclear if he would be ready to start the season. So there are two big question marks for this team. But both teams will need their back courts to do a lot more but Duke has guys returning like Curry who have had to shoulder the load a lot more than Bullock and Hairston. Duke also has more versatility with Sheed, Dre, Curry, TT, and Gbinije than UNC where Bullock and Hairston seem to be identical players and McDonald not far behind. Overall, UNC might have a slight edge for the other 4 positions but I'll take a guy who had a 3.5 A/TO ratio in his freshmen year over an unproven guard going into a system that relies and may not have a dominant big man.
I know enough about Tyler Thornton's offense to know that Marcus Paige is a more complete player. Much of what you write besides veers into a best case for Duke, worst case for Carolina. I'm not counting on Strickland in saying I think Paige would be playing with a better backcourt. Limited as they are, Bullock and Hairston are bigger, stronger and more athletic. Both have more room for growth in their games than our returning guards (save Cook). We add Sheed, who I like a great deal, but they add Tokoto to the mix. Even if James/Plumlee is a wash, if Carolina brings back McAdoo, they bring back the best player either team returns. With him, they're clearly better. Without, it's much closer.
I agree, for what it's worth, Cook is the key to our offense next year. With the skill sets that Andre and Seth have, they are a lot more effective when they have someone who can create for them. Cook's clearly the guy who brings that potential to the table. We have to have him playing well and playing a lot next year. Some caution: as good as his stats were last year, he couldn't crack the rotation with any sort of significant contribution and he couldn't beat out Tyler Thornton. Cook's defense has to improve a ton, and I think he's also got to get his knee fully and finally right. Counting on him in projecting the team is a gamble, because despite our need for his skills this year, he couldn't break into the rotation and give us what we need.
I've seen Katz's top 25, and I think that in addition to the 14 he's got ahead of us, Texas, Creighton, Gonazaga, Wisconsin, VCU, SD St and UNLV should be ranked ahead of us. That puts us 21, at best, in my poll. And there are a lot of teams that would merit consideration, at least, as being ahead of us. Maybe we've got a little more upside than some of those teams thanks to Cook, G, Sheed, Murphy and MPIII, but right now, that's a lot of unknowns and what are knowns aren't good enough to merit ranking in my opinion.
Last edited by Chicago 1995; 04-03-2012 at 09:57 AM. Reason: embarassing typo
The reality of college basketball is that turnover is a huge problem for nearly everyone. The fortunate thing for Duke is that we have a coach who (a) still recruits well and (b) does an EXTREMELY good job at putting together a gameplan to maximize his team's strengths.
We'll be a top-15 team with or without Mason. With Mason, we'll easily be a top-10 team. That's not to say that next year's team won't have some potential flaws. It's just an acknowledgement that the rest of the good teams from this past year will also have flaws to overcome.
And in looking at Katz's list, I think he's being overly generous to some teams. For example, for MSU he says "don't overlook a Tom Izzo team" even though they return basically nothing noteworthy. For Kansas, he says the same thing (again, even though they return very little of interest outside of Withey). And Memphis without Will Barton just isn't going to be very good. And Syracuse without Joseph, Waiters, Jardine, and Melo is also pretty questionable.
Last edited by CDu; 04-03-2012 at 10:13 AM.
Mason comes back, it's a whole different story. Pretty hard to rank us without knowing that.
Wisconsin without Taylor was substantially worse than Duke without Rivers. And we bring in a better replacement for Rivers than they do for Taylor. Even if Mason leaves, I think we're better than Wisconsin. That team was scrappy, but Taylor was the straw that stirred their drink. If we keep Mason, it's not close.
So we return, at minimum, and All-ACC senior guard, a senior 6'10" forward who will likely be All-ACC, a senior shooter who will likely top 1000 points next year, and possibly a senior All-ACC center, and two likely impact freshmen in Murphy and Sulaimon. And that's ignoring anything that Gbinije and Cook (two sophomores who were hampered by injury and inexperience last year) bring to the table, or any role player skills that juniors Thornton and Hairston offer, or anything that Marshall may provide.
We definitely have questions. But we have a lot of talent, too.
I kind of laugh at this Andy Katz article right now because there are so many uncertainties for next year, and those of you who know me outside of DBR know that I think rankings are pretty much meaningless until the beginning of March.
Anyway, here's the link. It gives us something to talk about until October!
In a way, I think it may be a good thing for Duke to be ranked outside the top 10...lends to some more realistic expectations and reduces pressure on the team....Frankly, as a fan, I'd rather see the team lose a couple of games, but look happy playing together and growing, than to see them win a bunch during the regular season, but never really look like they enjoy playing together and never grow through the season.
I'm not sure where this team will go next year. I have high hopes for Curry and some of the younger guards on the perimeter, but frankly am thinking that Andre would need a drastic change in attitude to be reliable...IMO he makes the entire perimeter weak defensively when he is on the floor, and that as a result of foot speed and attention/effort. So if he isn't REALLY on target offensively, it was at best difficult for Duke to keep up with teams with even average quickness on the perimeter.
Right now, I think 15 is about right...and hope a team can grow out of the talent.
Without Mason I wouldn't be comfortable putting Duke in the top-10. But I wouldn't be comfortable with putting any of those teams in the top-10 either.
The biggest reason to have confidence that Duke is a top 25 team, even in some of the worst-case scenarios, is simple: Duke kills the regular season.
I mean, if someone wants to place a friendly wager on whether Duke is top 25 at the end of next season (in the polls, in computer rankings, in seeding, whatever the case), I will gladly accept. Heck, we probably get a 1 seed, knowing us :-)
In any case the lower ranking may be more reflective of the team and may be beneficial.
I'm not surprised people here disagree. We're a fan site, after all. We're all -- well other than Wheat -- Duke fans. I just have more concerns about what we bring back than most do, obviously, and am not willing to make the leap of faith that our unknowns are going to make huge leaps, at least not right away.
Further, I'm betting - well, really, we can pretty much take this to the bank - that ChicagoHeel has also been talking with our other Heel-posters [shoutingncu and ClosetHurleyFan], and they've got inside info that McAdoo's gone, so they're so totally fed up that they're coming over to our side, too. The good news just keeps on coming.
I hope they can persuade Wheat that UNC's glory days are over. That would make it a clean sweep: four great posters, all of whom would presumably retain some Heel-contacts and would thus be able to dish the dirt on player transfers [several, no surprise here, to UCLA] and Roy's coming collapse. I'd think Jerod Haase will apprentice a couple of years at UAB, and be named Roy's replacement in April 2014.
Edit: Sorry, thread relevance: with Mason, preseason consensus #9; without, #13.
Last edited by gumbomoop; 04-03-2012 at 12:22 PM.