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View Full Version : Vitale's Final Four Picks-2010



BlueinBlo
05-28-2009, 11:55 AM
http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/dickvitale/news/story?id=4209994

SupaDave
05-28-2009, 12:36 PM
http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/dickvitale/news/story?id=4209994

I love Dickie V. Hope above all else is the motto...

whereinthehellami
05-28-2009, 12:45 PM
I'm no Dickie fan but that is a decent 4. I think Duke is a stretch. Duke will be strong at the beginning of the season but the lack of depth and athletiscm is going to take a toll late in the season.

UNC has some holes but more talent than anybody else. They will be dangerous at the end of the year. If they can get Drew to play at a higher level and get a consistent outside game going they will be a load. i wouldn't be suprised to see UNC in the final 4 next year.

quickgtp
05-28-2009, 12:52 PM
At the bottom he states there could be news that affects this list.....I wonder if the UK situation may affect his selection? Maybe Wall leaving to play overseas or Bledsoe asking for a release? LOL, j/k. But hey, who knows?

RockyMtDevil
05-28-2009, 12:54 PM
I am not sure how anyone in their right mind believes this years team will be a final four contender sans Henderson. We struggled mightily last year against athletic teams, we still do not have a true center or a point, and we lost our most talented player. Yep, that is a great equation for being better by leaps and bounds...C'mon, let's be realistic.

Wander
05-28-2009, 12:55 PM
Putting Duke ahead of a team that completely humiliated us in March, returns most of its key players, and brings in a recruiting class better than ours is stupid.

mcdukie
05-28-2009, 01:06 PM
I am not sure how anyone in their right mind believes this years team will be a final four contender sans Henderson. We struggled mightily last year against athletic teams, we still do not have a true center or a point, and we lost our most talented player. Yep, that is a great equation for being better by leaps and bounds...C'mon, let's be realistic.

Love my Dukies but I agree. We could and should be good but the athleticism piece scares me. Also I feel we are being set up because people keep talking about our incoming recruits like they are one and done players, but real Duke fans know they are going to need a little time.

gvtucker
05-28-2009, 01:12 PM
Putting Duke ahead of a team that completely humiliated us in March, returns most of its key players, and brings in a recruiting class better than ours is stupid.

Sounds like Duke/UNLV, 1990.

Greg_Newton
05-28-2009, 01:29 PM
I'm no Dickie fan but that is a decent 4. I think Duke is a stretch. Duke will be strong at the beginning of the season but the lack of depth and athletiscm is going to take a toll late in the season.

I also think it's a stretch, but I actually have the complete opposite opinion of how I expect next season to play out. Yes, we're very shallow at the guard spots, but we're very, very deep at the forward/post positions. As far as athleticism, we only have one scholarship player that doesn't play above the rim (Scheyer) and tons of length. I'm also hopefully optimistic that Mason's ridiculous wingspan and bounce will help counter any quickness disadvantages we may have on the defensive end.

I'm expecting us to take a while to find our identity as a team - the PG situation could be tricky, the rotation/style of play will be constantly changing, and it our young guys won't all immediately step in and play to their potential within the system. That said, I think we could potentially be peaking come March. The key to this will be either or both of EWill or Nolan developing into bona fide stars as and 2-3 out of the Plumlees/Kelly/Czyz developing into legitimate contributors (especially Mason), as Elliot was able to do towards the end of this year.

IMO, we'll have more raw talent and size across the board than in the past couple years, and I'm hopeful that this will bode well for us come March.

Memphis Devil
05-28-2009, 01:34 PM
I am not sure how anyone in their right mind believes this years team will be a final four contender sans Henderson. We struggled mightily last year against athletic teams, we still do not have a true center or a point, and we lost our most talented player. Yep, that is a great equation for being better by leaps and bounds...C'mon, let's be realistic.

I'm gonna have to go ahead and disagree with you here. While I don't whole heartedly think that Duke will be a FF team, we will certainly be a more athletic team sans Henderson if a couple of things fall in our favor. MP1 and MP2 are far more athletic than Z and should they surpass Z and earn the PT that alone makes us much more athletic. Also, E-Will, Nolan and Jon are no slouches either. E-Will is freakishly athletic (ala Henderson) and will be seeing more PT. Net result, increased athleticism. Throw in a possible Olek sighting and Duke has the potential to put one hell of an athletic team on the floor. While Jon and Kyle won't be throwing down any awe inspiring dunks, they make up for a lack of athletic ability with basketball IQ. Having said all of that, I'm not so convinced that Duke will continue to struggle against athletic teams. Also, keep in mind that Duke doesn't have to be better by leaps and bounds next year, just 4 games. It's not like we didn't make it to the second weekend of the tourney and win 30+ games!

Anyhow, just my $0.02. I am pretty excited about what could be next year. And that is realistic.

grossbus
05-28-2009, 01:42 PM
"Sounds like Duke/UNLV, 1990"

except that the Duke team the next year had a legit point guard. my hopes are not high if we have to play jon at the point again.

gvtucker
05-28-2009, 02:27 PM
"Sounds like Duke/UNLV, 1990"

except that the Duke team the next year had a legit point guard. my hopes are not high if we have to play jon at the point again.

I see no reason why Nolan Smith cannot make a similar leap between his soph and jr years that Will Avery made between his frosh and soph years.

Similar skill sets, similar size, similar flashes of brilliance surrounded by flashes of youth.

Wander
05-28-2009, 02:53 PM
Sounds like Duke/UNLV, 1990.

I don't see any similarities at all, except that both Duke teams were blown at the previous year. By that logic, let's put Radford in our preseason top 10s.

The UNLV team that beat Duke was one of the best teams ever in college basketball, and that Duke team got blown out in the title game, not the Sweet 16. Duke also added, arguably, the best player in school history to its roster in 1991, and with all due respect to Mason Plumlee...

Back to my original point, it makes no sense at all to put Duke ahead of Villanova right now. They were better last year, lost less, and gain more. Could Duke go farther in the tournament than Villanova? Of course, stranger things have happened, and lots of crazy things are possible when you have a legit NPOY candidate on your team. But it's not smart to predict that knowing what we know now.

NYDukie
05-28-2009, 03:31 PM
Do I think Duke can make the Final 4???? Yes, I do. Would I put them in the Final 4 this minute? Probably not! Again, like many have said, a few issues that have plagued the team recently may come back again in the tourney to haunt them. Without getting into deep analysis of each, they include lack of true PG play, lack of a proven post presence and overall average team athleticism. Matchups will always be the determining factor in tourney, so these issue may or may not come into player or to various degrees.

It will be interesting to see how each of these "weak" areas evolve next year. I personally think the PG play will be what holds us back the most come deep in the tourney as there is no pure distributor of the ball or driver to the rim to create. There will be enough bigs to hold our own on the boards and possibly develop a post presence (MPII providing the most upside with Z giving a good 10-12 minutes based on matchups). Athletically they can be exposed against an exceptional athlectic team but there are enough solid athletes to hold things down.

Overall, this is a Elite 8, Sweet 16 team that can with development of a few aspects of the team can develop into a Final 4 contender.

ACCBBallFan
05-28-2009, 08:04 PM
I don't understand all the agita over Nolan vs. Jon at PG. Duke only has 3 eligible guards, count em. So Nolan and Jon and elliott will play 90 or more minutes and 80 of those by default at PG/SG.

It's not totally outragous but assumes a lot from the frosh and the lack of guard depth. At this point I view elite 8 as high water mark but anything can happen once a team gets that far.

Why annoint other teams' frosh and not Duke's and why dwell on loss of G when lots of other teams lost more than one really good guy.

Lots of teams finished below Duke last year in NCAAs, or did not even make the tourney. So much more improvement needed from them than a Duke team that returns most of its guys.

gvtucker
05-28-2009, 08:59 PM
I don't understand all the agita over Nolan vs. Jon at PG. Duke only has 3 eligible guards, count em. So Nolan and Jon and elliott will play 90 or more minutes and 80 of those by default at PG/SG.
Singler can and will play guard.

InSpades
05-28-2009, 09:35 PM
Putting Duke ahead of a team that completely humiliated us in March, returns most of its key players, and brings in a recruiting class better than ours is stupid.

Villanova loses more than Duke and potentially a lot more. As far as I know Scottie Reynolds hasn't pulled his name from the NBA draft yet. He's definitely not ready for the NBA but he may see this as his only chance to get drafted and go for it. If so they lose their 2nd best player (along w/ already losing their best player) and 4 of their main 8 (and 3 of their starting 5). That's a lot more than Duke. If they lose Scottie then they will be very unproven next year.

Predicting Duke in the final 4 is a huge stretch though. If the freshman are better than expected and the returning players all improve a bunch then it is certainly possible but there's definitely a few times in line ahead of Duke.

gep
05-28-2009, 09:40 PM
... Again, like many have said, a few issues that have plagued the team recently may come back again in the tourney to haunt them. Without getting into deep analysis of each, they include lack of true PG play, lack of a proven post presence and overall average team athleticism. ...

It will be interesting to see how each of these "weak" areas evolve next year. ...

I was thinking that this is the first summer in last 3-4 years that Coach K has essentially the entire summer to concentrate on the Duke team. Maybe he can come up with a few new twists... like when Carlos went down in 2001, and like putting Elliot in the starting lineup... at least, he has a lot to work with:) It should be an exciting and fun year...:D

Greg_Newton
05-28-2009, 09:44 PM
Singler can and will play guard.

I'm pumped for the inevitable Singler at point-forward experiment next year. I think he could be quite effective in a Turkoglu-like role, and it would simultaneously solve most of our lineup issues.

Jarhead
05-28-2009, 10:23 PM
I don't understand all the agita over Nolan vs. Jon at PG. Duke only has 3 eligible guards, count em. So Nolan and Jon and elliott will play 90 or more minutes and 80 of those by default at PG/SG.

It's not totally outragous but assumes a lot from the frosh and the lack of guard depth. At this point I view elite 8 as high water mark but anything can happen once a team gets that far.

Why annoint other teams' frosh and not Duke's and why dwell on loss of G when lots of other teams lost more than one really good guy.

Lots of teams finished below Duke last year in NCAAs, or did not even make the tourney. So much more improvement needed from them than a Duke team that returns most of its guys.


I was thinking that this is the first summer in last 3-4 years that Coach K has essentially the entire summer to concentrate on the Duke team. Maybe he can come up with a few new twists... like when Carlos went down in 2001, and like putting Elliot in the starting lineup... at least, he has a lot to work with:) It should be an exciting and fun year...:D
Positive thinking helps, and it's only May. Nobody can predict accurately until... Well, it's all guess work. So, I will, as I do every year, hope, and maybe even expect a final four team. I've seen more than a few go to the final four, all the way back to the sixties. I expect it again this year, and I won't start worrying until the ACC season is over. Then -- It's Business Time.

johaad
05-28-2009, 10:31 PM
I'm pumped for the inevitable Singler at point-forward experiment next year. I think he could be quite effective in a Turkoglu-like role, and it would simultaneously solve most of our lineup issues.

This would be interesting. I just wonder, does he have the handles to pull this off? (I'm not saying he doesn't, I just want other's opinions as well)

Greg_Newton
05-28-2009, 11:00 PM
This would be interesting. I just wonder, does he have the handles to pull this off? (I'm not saying he doesn't, I just want other's opinions as well)

Supposedly improving his guard skills is his number one focus this summer, and he's dribbling a tennis ball around everywhere he goes. I wouldn't necessarily put him up against a PG in a full-court press all game, but I bet he'll at least have the handles to run a half court offense pretty well by next winter. I don't know, we'll see what K decides to do...

UrinalCake
05-29-2009, 05:12 AM
From the article: "Wall could do for Kentucky what Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans did in their one-and-done seasons at Memphis under Calipari. "

In light of the recent allegations, Kentucky better hope not!

UrinalCake
05-29-2009, 05:15 AM
Supposedly improving his guard skills is his number one focus this summer, and he's dribbling a tennis ball around everywhere he goes. I wouldn't necessarily put him up against a PG in a full-court press all game, but I bet he'll at least have the handles to run a half court offense pretty well by next winter. I don't know, we'll see what K decides to do...

I expect a lot of teams to full-court press us next year due to our lack of a true PG, and I also expect we'll do a lot of passing up the court rather than dribbling. Having mobile, athletic big men will help a lot with this. Once in the half-court, there's really no need for a "pure" PG operating in our motion offense.

whereinthehellami
05-29-2009, 07:24 AM
Once in the half-court, there's really no need for a "pure" PG operating in our motion offense.

I think Duke's offense works best with a traditinal PG, one that sets up other players, putting them in a position to score. Not only does Duke not have that kind of PG for next year, they also don't have a replacement for the one player who could seemingly penetrate/create his own shot at will. Maybe Ewill develops into that role but Ewill (like the younger Henderson) doesn't have the consistent handles and outside shot yet. So what you are left with is a bunch of talented players with only decent athletiscm trying to create shots. In other words, one of the better teams in the country but not athletic enough to be a national title contender. Also Duke isn't a great shooting team for a team that is going to rely on alot of challenged shots.

gvtucker
05-29-2009, 09:03 AM
I think Duke's offense works best with a traditinal PG, one that sets up other players, putting them in a position to score. Not only does Duke not have that kind of PG for next year, they also don't have a replacement for the one player who could seemingly penetrate/create his own shot at will. Maybe Ewill develops into that role but Ewill (like the younger Henderson) doesn't have the consistent handles and outside shot yet. So what you are left with is a bunch of talented players with only decent athletiscm trying to create shots. In other words, one of the better teams in the country but not athletic enough to be a national title contender. Also Duke isn't a great shooting team for a team that is going to rely on alot of challenged shots.

Duke's offense worked very well with a point forward, also. See "Ferry, Danny" and "Hill, Grant".

_Gary
05-29-2009, 09:53 AM
I see no reason why Nolan Smith cannot make a similar leap between his soph and jr years that Will Avery made between his frosh and soph years.

Similar skill sets, similar size, similar flashes of brilliance surrounded by flashes of youth.

If Nolan makes that leap and is anything like Avery then I agree with you this Duke team could be a FF sleeper. But I'm not sure I see all the similarities that you do. I think Nolan will be a very, very solid PG for us but not quite in the same class as Avery, who I always felt was a little underrated for us (probably because of the way he left and his questionable academic situation).

gvtucker
05-29-2009, 12:27 PM
If Nolan makes that leap and is anything like Avery then I agree with you this Duke team could be a FF sleeper. But I'm not sure I see all the similarities that you do. I think Nolan will be a very, very solid PG for us but not quite in the same class as Avery, who I always felt was a little underrated for us (probably because of the way he left and his questionable academic situation).

Will Avery, 6'2", 180 lbs.
stats from his freshman year: 8.5 ppg, 2.5 apg, A/TO 1.45, FG% 43%, 3 pt FG% 30%., 34 steals, 2.0 rpg

Nolan Smith, 6'2" 185 lbs.
stats from his sophomore year: 8.4 ppg, 1.7 apg, A/TO 1.05, FG% 43%, 3 pt FG% 34%, 32 steals, 2.2 rpg

A few less assists, and a better 3 pt shot and a few more rebounds. They had very similar years, and I think it is completely reasonable to think that Nolan can improve to the degree I envision.

Highlander
05-29-2009, 12:28 PM
I am not sure how anyone in their right mind believes this years team will be a final four contender sans Henderson. We struggled mightily last year against athletic teams, we still do not have a true center or a point, and we lost our most talented player. Yep, that is a great equation for being better by leaps and bounds...C'mon, let's be realistic.

I disagree with some of this as well. You say Duke does not have a "true" center. It remains to be seen how well the Plumlee brothers and Kelly can play with their back to the basket, but lamenting Duke's lack of a true center sounds like a talking point that is a year outdated. Duke has 4 guys who are 6'10" or taller on next year's team (Zoubs, Plumlee x2, Kelly), and two more who are 6'8" (Thomas, Singler). That's a TON of size, and every one of those guys is tall enough to play center at the college level. If Kelly can play on the perimeter as well, we now have two guys that can create a significant mismatch by playing outside.

I expect us to play very differently next year than we did this past year because we will be much bigger at the 3-5 positions, and should have more of an inside game than we have in quite a while. So comparing us to last year's team is like comparing Villanova to FSU. Both had good teams, but their style of play and their personnel was very different. It will be interesting to see how K chooses to play perimeter defense. If we have a decent shot blocker underneath, he can help compensate for our guard's lack of quickness and we can overplay the pass.

mo.st.dukie
05-29-2009, 01:29 PM
I am not sure how anyone in their right mind believes this years team will be a final four contender sans Henderson. We struggled mightily last year against athletic teams, we still do not have a true center or a point, and we lost our most talented player. Yep, that is a great equation for being better by leaps and bounds...C'mon, let's be realistic.

Duke has an odd mixture of talent next year. As stated, not a whole lot of proven players other than Scheyer and Singler, no true PG, and no proven big man. So while it would be extremely difficult for Duke to get to a FF next year I wouldn't say it's totally unrealistic to see them as a FF team.

For a recent example, Florida won a national championship on the backs of players who were very unproven one year earlier. They had lost their top 3 players and nobody, not even Florida fans, thought guys like Green, Noah, and Horford would make such improvements in one year.

So you never know, maybe Nolan shocks everyone and becomes a good PG and Elliot improves dramatically to give us 12ppg/4rpg and maybe Miles or Mason become good defensive players with some offensive production (7ppg, 8rpg, 2bpg for one of them). I know it's difficult for some people to view things that way, to think about the potential improvements and alot easier to view things based on what they've seen in the previous season. But if there's one things I've learned in all sports it's that some of the most unrealistic things can actually become realistic in a very short period of time (e.g. the Arizona Cardinals going to the Super Bowl, George Mason in 06, etc).

blueprofessor
05-29-2009, 02:06 PM
Will Avery, 6'2", 180 lbs.
stats from his freshman year: 8.5 ppg, 2.5 apg, A/TO 1.45, FG% 43%, 3 pt FG% 30%., 34 steals, 2.0 rpg

Nolan Smith, 6'2" 185 lbs.
stats from his sophomore year: 8.4 ppg, 1.7 apg, A/TO 1.05, FG% 43%, 3 pt FG% 34%, 32 steals, 2.2 rpg

A few less assists, and a better 3 pt shot and a few more rebounds. They had very similar years, and I think it is completely reasonable to think that Nolan can improve to the degree I envision.

Avery's talent and stats as a sophomore were rewarded with 2nd team all-ACC and the 14th overall draft position/pick.
He had a great year:Besides hitting team season-high 8 3-pointers vs. Florida and having season--high 11 assists vs. Michigan, he started all 39 games (37-2;16--0) ,shot 48.1% from the floor (201/416), 41.1% from 3 (76/185) ,81% from the charity stripe (102/126),averaged 14.9 ppg( 3rd to Brand's 17.7 and Langdon's 17.3), averaged 3.5 rpg, averaged 5 assists per game, and had 1.46 steals per game. In addition, Avery (called Jet) was the fastest player on the floor.
On a team with 6 excellent to great players,Avery was a better % shooter than Langdon and Carrawell, 2nd in steals to Battier, 3rd in 3-point % ( 41.1% to Langdon's 44.1% and Battier's 41.5% who took half of Avery's shot total), 2nd in foul shooting % , 3rd in scoring,and 1st in assists.
Avery was a tremendous all-around player.
What levels,in comparison to any one of Avery's sophomore totals, do you project for the junior Smith?

Best--Blueprofessor:)

_Gary
05-29-2009, 02:41 PM
Avery's talent and stats as a sophomore were rewarded with 2nd team all-ACC and the 14th overall draft position/pick.
He had a great year:Besides hitting team season-high 8 3-pointers vs. Florida and having season--high 11 assists vs. Michigan, he started all 39 games (37-2;16--0) ,shot 48.1% from the floor (201/416), 41.1% from 3 (76/185) ,81% from the charity stripe (102/126),averaged 14.9 ppg( 3rd to Brand's 17.7 and Langdon's 17.3), averaged 3.5 rpg, averaged 5 assists per game, and had 1.46 steals per game. In addition, Avery (called Jet) was the fastest player on the floor.
On a team with 6 excellent to great players,Avery was a better % shooter than Langdon and Carrawell, 2nd in steals to Battier, 3rd in 3-point % ( 41.1% to Langdon's 44.1% and Battier's 41.5% who took half of Avery's shot total), 2nd in foul shooting % , 3rd in scoring,and 1st in assists.
Avery was a tremendous all-around player.
What levels,in comparison to any one of Avery's sophomore totals, do you project for the junior Smith?

Best--Blueprofessor:)

Thanks. I wasn't going to go to all the trouble of looking upon Avery's sophomore stats, but I figured they were a good bit better than his freshman year. This is a perfect example of how stats can be made to say what you want them to say.

Look, I love Nolan and think he'll be a fine point for us. I'm rooting like heck for him to continue to improve, and I thought he had a wonderful season for us last year. Having said all that, I don't see him having exactly the same skill set as Avery. But I hope I'm wrong and Nolan has the kind of year next season that Will had in '99. It would be fantastic!

GO DUKE! GO NOLAN!