CBS Broadcaster Dan Bonner may not have believed that the Blue Devils were the top team in the ACC at the beginning of the season, but after last night’s 74-53 Duke victory over the Clemson Tigers, he is a believer now.
“I didn’t think Duke was this good,” said Bonner. “To my mind I think Duke has demonstrated that they are a cut above everybody else in the ACC.”
Meanwhile, the Blue Devils have risen from seventh to fifth in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today Polls, currently sitting behind the four remaining unbeatens (Kansas, Texas, Kentucky and Purdue).
In this week’s edition of ESPN Analyst Joe Lunardi’s “Bracketology” page, in which he tries to predict the entire NCAA tournament bracket, he says, “I took the easy way out for the four No. 1 seeds. There are four undefeated teams remaining in Division I — Kansas, Texas, Purdue and Kentucky — and it would be difficult to justify dropping any of them off the top line. Don’t ask me yet if they are the four best teams, as the “eye test” would have you include Duke and Syracuse.”
Sports Illustrated columnist Seth Davis gave the Blue Devils the greatest praise in his column today:
Is it me, or is this team (Duke) flying under the radar a little bit? Perhaps it’s because Duke is a little bit boring compared to some of the glitzy guys in the top 10, but mostly the low buzz results from the nagging feeling that we’ve seen this before from Duke — a talented but soft team whose stellar regular season will be followed by a humbling pre-Elite Eight exit. I disagree, for two reasons. First, this is a bigger, stronger, tougher team than in years past, and that is really manifesting itself at the defensive end. (They’re ranked in the top 25 nationally in field goal defense and defensive efficiency.) Moreover, the ACC is not as strong as I thought it would be entering the season. Only four of the league’s 12 teams are ranked in this week’s top 25, and Duke is the only one that looks like a bona fide national championship contender.