The Duke Blue Devils exemplify all three, and coming off their first national championship since 2001, they are primed to repeat — and start a dynasty of their own.
Led by Hall of Fame head coach Mike Krzyzewski, Duke opens the 2010-11 season as the No. 1 ranked team in both the AP and Coaches polls. The team also brings back several key members from its 2010 title-winning squad, in addition to some fresh faces that are sure to make some big noise.
Senior forward Kyle Singler and point guard Nolan Smith will open the season as Duke's top-two scoring threats, but they will be far from the only contributors on this Blue Devils team.
Seth Curry, younger brother of Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry, transferred to Duke last season after a stellar freshman campaign at Liberty, in which he averaged 20.2 points per game. Expect Curry, a 6-foot-1 guard who has a year of tutelage from Coach K under his belt, to be one of college basketball's premier shooting threats.
Last year, Duke's strength down low during its championship run was its ability to dominate the paint and the glass, led by senior big men Brian Zoubek and Lance Thomas.
While those two will be missed, Duke's frontcourt will now be dominated by not one, but two Plumlees — Mason, a sophomore, and Miles, a junior. Both are 6-foot-10, and both showed an innate ability to attack the boards when they had a chance to play last year. What's more, as brothers, the duo has a natural ability to communicate effectively in the post.
Duke's starting five is unrivaled by any team in the country, but it might be the Blue Devils' bench that ultimately makes them an unstoppable force this year.
Guard Kyrie Irving is one of the most highly touted freshmen in the nation, and he showed his skills in Duke's 97-60 season-opening win over Princeton with 17 points and nine assists. He'll get a chance to learn from Smith, arguably the country's best point guard, and will prove to be a major factor when the senior needs a rest.
Let's also not forget shooting specialist Andre Dawkins and the 6-foot-10 Ryan Kelly, who each saw playing time last year. Dawkins even made some huge three-pointers for the Blue Devils during the NCAA tournament.
This year's Duke team is a preseason favorite only reminiscent of the great North Carolina teams of the past few years (i.e. 2005 and 2009), but neither of those UNC squads entered those years as reigning national champions.
The 2010-2011 Blue Devils have an excellent chance of repeating as the nation's top team, and with Curry, the Plumlees, Irving and other top recruits set to continue at Duke after this year, this very well could be a college basketball dynasty in the making.
Do you think Duke will repeat as national champions this year? Leave your thoughts below.
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