Yes, we’re a few days late commenting on this…but it’s the “slow season.” Anyway, SFN knew more than a few Duke fans who were almost excited to have ultra-soft Josh McRoberts bolt for the NBA. “Trade McRoberts for Patrick Patterson – I’ll take that any day” was the hopeful rallying cry.
Well, Mr. Patterson will join Billy Gillispie at Kentucky instead – an early sign that the reclusive Texan is indeed ready for primetime and national recruiting wars. Side note – remember SFN has a history of noting the accomplishments and potential of Gillispie.
Just as notable – Duke is back to recruiting rather than “selecting,” it seems. It’s not like the Devils are hurting for talent – by our count, they will have 6 or 7 McDonald’s All-Americans on next year’s roster. But really – does their 2007-08 roster scare you? For the second straight year, Duke looks light years behind UNC, with the potential to be in the middle of the pack in conference play. Before ABD fans get too excited, the middle of the ACC looks much weaker than in past years. Duke may very well use their overall talent to rack up 10, 11, or even 12 ACC wins – if conference foes aren’t able to exploit Duke’s numerous weaknesses:
- Poor rebounding (here is where Duke will miss McBob the most)
- Possibly poor interior defense (Duke has always played good defense, but who can reasonably be expected to fill this void?)
- Lack of a “go to guy” late in close games (this killed Duke in conference play and in March last year)
- No low-post scoring threat (Zubek? That’s a good one!)
- Extremely vulnerable to fast PGs (thanks to VCU for providing the blueprint for 2007-08 foes)
Now tell us, does that sound like a team that’s built for March? We certainly don’t think so. Yes, Duke has lots of shooters and will be very tough to beat when hot from the perimeter. State fans have played that game before, without any ACC titles or Final Fours to show for it.
We still caution against overly aggressive expectations for next season (2008-09 is another story), but SFN thinks it’s safe to say that the only roster demonstrably better than the Wolfpack’s is Roy’s bunch in Chapel Hill (probably pre-season #1). And we know that Sid’s boys won’t back down from that fight, either – and can hold their own. This is a hell of alot of fun, isn’t it?