In this edition of Hot Take City, I attempt to make a bold prediction that is actually correct. UCLA let me down just days after I said they would go undefeated in the regular season. It seems that Butler is also going to let me down in the Big East conference race, and the Terps are going to prove me wrong and not only make the NCAA tournament, but get a high seed as well.
Looking ahead, we are moving to the point in the season where teams start to show their actual identity. The good teams, like Kansas, begin to separate themselves from the pack and the “fake good” teams are exposed by the grind of conference play. One of major headlines surrounding college basketball today is the struggles that Duke has had up until this point, especially in conference play. There have been many factors contributing to this including the Grayson Allen drama, the freshmen’s injuries, and especially Coach K’s absence. But guess what, Coach K is back tomorrow.
A team with every rotation player a McDonald’s All-American and quite possibly the greatest coach ever, in any sport, shouldn’t struggle this much, right? For whatever reason, they have struggled, but I’m here to restore faith in the 2016-2017 Duke basketball team. Duke will come from two games behind in the ACC and beat North Carolina for the conference crown, the deciding game coming on March 4th in Chapel Hill.
Kennard, Tatum, Allen are big time offensive talents. Amile Jefferson is likely the most experienced player in the NCAA. Don’t forget about Bolden, Jones, and Giles. That’s some big time talent to pair up with a Hall of Fame coach. If you’re a non-believer in this year’s Duke squad, I think you’re sadly mistaken. They have only 4 remaining games against ranked opponents while North Carolina has 6, including two games between each other. That puts Duke in a good position to gain ground on the Tar Heels by putting them in a position to control their own destiny. Plus, I think the Cameron Crazies will be pretty hyped up about the return of Coach K and an upcoming matchup with their arch-rival UNC Tar Heels.
Like I said, wait on it. Duke and North Carolina will be playing for the ACC title on March 4th, at a hostile environment in Chapel Hill.
Duke will win that game and secure a top 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.