Throughout the college basketball season, I’ll give my observations on random teams and players, assessing where they are at that point of the season, and looking ahead to where they could be in March. We’ll give it the highly creative name of “Charting A Course to March.” If nothing else, it could eventually be used for help in filling out those brackets.
November 27th: #7 Duke 68, UConn 59, at Madison Square Garden
As usual, Coach K’s team will be led by the perimeter players (whatever happened to the Shelden Williams, Carlos Boozers and Elton Brands?). Kyle Singler is being called a National Player of the Year candidate, but he might be slightly over-rated. Senior PG Jon Scheyer might be the best player on the team and should have a great year. Nolan Smith is getting a lot of hype, but there’s a reason he was benched last year. He’s been moved off the ball, but is still a big of a question mark in my book. The big men are nothing special but look improved from last year, and they’ll add a highly-touted freshman, Mason Plumlee, when he returns from an injury in a few weeks. They have only 3 scholarship guards on the roster, and one is a freshman, so depth could be an issue there.
Best-Case Scenario: Final Four appearance. I don’t think the Singler/Scheyer duo is championship material.
Best Guess: Sweet 16. It will be interesting to see what Plumlee brings to the table, though.
A lot of talent has left Storrs, but there’s still a fair amount left. Kemba Walker is a championship-caliber PG, and will be one of the most exciting players in the country. Jerome Dyson is a steady veteran with him in the backcourt. Stanley Robinson is an NBA-level athlete, but isn’t very skilled. The rest of the frontcourt is inexperienced, but with Gavin Edwards and Alex Oriakhi, they could make a run at leading the nation in blocks for a ridiculous 9th straight year. This team’s biggest weakness will be outside shooting, as they made ZERO 3’s in this game. But if Jim Calhoun can work his magic, they could be tough enough defensively to win a lot of games.
Best-case scenario: Final Four appearance
Best Guess: Sweet 16