Over on Fox Sports, Yoni Cohen takes a stab at Duke, arguing
the Devils won't win the national championship. It's pretty easy to
say why any team won't win, and odds are that you'll be right. It'd
be tough for Duke to win this year, more so than some others. But that
said, he doesn't quite understand this team.
Greg Paulus has indeed been rehabbing, and has been erratic. And he did
have a nice statistical game against Gonzaga. But stats don't show how he
affected the game. It was a remarkable performance on a number of levels.
He was incredibly dominant as a leader. There's no way to quantify that,
but if he keeps playing that way, it's a great trend for Duke.
And while Josh McRoberts has not been as dominant down low as people might
like, part of the reason is that he's had to take on a lot of Paulus's
responsibilities as point guard. You can't do both at the same time.
Moreover, in many ways, McRoberts is having an amazing season. People
tend to focus on his scoring, which he doesn't seem overly concerned about, but
he's a brilliant passer. It's also overlooked quite often, but as a
freshman, he wasn't a particularly imposing defender. This year, he's gone
from a mediocre defender to someone the team can build a defense around.
It'd be nice if he were a dominant scorer down low, but then again, Duke can
build a pretty loose, open offense around his and Paulus's passing skills.
One other critical point: in the NCAA Tournament, games grow much more
conservative, and defense is extremely critical.
In a close tournament game, strong defense usually prevails.