Duke’s Cinderella Story

… We’re ACC Tournament Champs. Wow. What happened? Duke came back from deficit¬†in their four wins in order to secure an ACC title. There was a point in the Notre Dame game where I almost changed the channel. Duke was getting destroyed with steals to fast breaks to layups. I was already drafting a bitter roast article where I’d compare Vasturia’s face to the face of a child who stole a cookie from the cookie jar when their mommy wasn’t looking. But there’s no need for that now, since Duke came back. So let’s talk.

Seeing Matt Jones make that huge three in the end to secure the win was unbelievable. I was beyond thrilled, and so was everyone in that stadium. It’s never Matt. Matt never gets the big plays. No one passes it to Matt to make the big shot. Usually, Matt’s on the bench by the end. But he got it this time. What a great senior moment. You can’t help but flash back to all of the great but unspoken things Matt has done for this team. He’s been a leader since sophomore year, not by play but by attitude. Matt is the grounding spirit of the team, and always has wise words to give to his teammates. He also stepped up sophomore year after Rasheed Sulaimon was booted out. Matt’s the gravity that holds the team together, and it was nice to see him get to be the big star for once.

Duke may have clinched a one seed in the NCAA tournament. It’s unheard of, but many sources see it as a legitimate¬†possibility. They’ve beaten UNC two out of three times. They’re also title holders in the ACC. Duke’s showing promise, and there’s no doubt that the NCAA has taken note of that. Duke’s stock is soaring after the last four games. They are shaking up college basketball. Duke could be the first eight loss team to earn a No. 1 seed. Success is looking inevitable for the Blue Devils.

However, did Duke’s conference win ruin their chances for the National Title? Let’s look back at the curse of the conference over the years. Last year, it was UNC vs Villanova in the finals. UNC was the ACC tournament champion, while Villanova had lost to Seton Hall in the Big East tournament. Villanova ended up winning. And the year before that, it was Duke vs Wisconsin in the NCAA championship. Duke had lost to Notre Dame in the ACC semifinals, while Wisconsin had won the Big Ten tournament. It’s basically a curse. If you win your conference, you don’t win the national title. However, Duke’s been breaking records and standards all season. I wouldn’t put an NCAA championship out of the question for them.

Notre Dame aka the leprechauns wore the same jerseys two times in a row for good luck and still lost, never forget that.

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Don’t Sleep On Duke

If I’ve learned anything in all my years of watching basketball, it’s that Duke is never the underdog. Never switch the program when Duke is down. Don’t doubt Coach K. And never, and I mean never, assume Grayson Allen lost his talent. Tonight’s game against UNC proved a lot about Duke’s grit, intentions, talent, and determination. They went from being down eleven most of the game to being up eleven. I’m still not sure what all happened, but I am sure that Grayson was a huge part of it. If he wasn’t making a huge three, he was making a huge assist. He doesn’t change the play, he changes the game. No one can hate on him now. Now I could hate only UNC for the rest of this, but I think there playing spoke for itself. I will say, though, Roy Williams babies his players too much. They quite literally pout and cry when they get behind. UNC can’t pick themselves up from a deficit, since Roy has allowed them to become privileged and sheltered. That’s all I’m gonna say. So back to Duke. Winning tomorrow would be tough. In fact, no team has won four straight games to grab the ACC title before (maybe out any conference, don’t quote me though). All I know is, here are some things to for tomorrow:

Fatigue. Duke’s three tiresome games in a row. It’s gonna be a fight to the finish. Shots will be missed, lazy fouls will be called, and Duke will get beat to the rim. Duke plays like 7 people, and that includes Matt Jones. The Blue Devils are going to have to dig deep to find some energy. Their legs will be burning.

Notre Dame? The Irish are my pick for the finals, despite the fact that they have no discernible talent. There bigs will give Duke’s small and weak posts trouble. However, when it comes to the perimeter, anything they can do Duke can do better. Their coach may look like a Father Leprechaun, ready to cast a spell on the opposing team, but I’m not too threatened by the Irish. It’s also to Duke’s favor that the Irish have had two late games.

So let’s get that dub.

Roy Williams puts his deepest bench players in when he’s about to lose so the starters don’t take have to take responsibility for their failures, never forget that.