On last Tuesday night’s Jerry Tarkanian Show, our guest was Billy Packer. During his interview with Jerry, Billy made a statement many prognosticators, including Tark, have said - “Duke is not only the best team in the country, they’re head and shoulders above everybody else.”
I’ve blogged previously that the difference between this Duke team and the others is that freshman Kyrie Irving is unlike any of the point guards who’ve played for the Blue Devils - including Jay Williams. He’s not just savvy and tough like Hurley, Wojo, Dawkins and the rest. He’s more like a guard you see on the roster of Kentucky, UCLA or Kansas. Lightning quick, impossible to stay in front of, with the ability to get others great open looks. And now, according to the release from Duke, he’s out indefinitely.
Some may say that with Coach K at the helm the Blue Devils are still the team to beat. Possibly, but with the way Kansas, Ohio State, Syracuse, UConn and Pitt are playing, “head and shoulders” might no longer be applicable. Don’t count out Michigan State either. The Spartans have to have played not only the toughest schedule in the country but the toughest ever by a team that doesn’t have to, e.g. Coppin State where head coach Fang Mitchell (who doubles as the school’s AD) sacrifices his basketball team in the preseason so that their other sports - men and women - can exist. Tom Izzo and Sparty have no such monetary problems.
When Josh Selby becomes eligible for KU, there might be a new sheriff in town and if UK’s appeal for Enes Kanter goes through, the Wildcats just might surpass both Kansas and Duke. No doubt, even with Kyle Singler, Nolan Smith and the Plumlees, Duke will feel the loss of their precocious floor leader. As far as Irving’s return goes, I imagine Mike Krzyzewski shares the same feeling expressed by Sandra Knell, who said:
“I’m looking forward to looking back on all this.”