NCAA tournament 2011: Are the Duke Blue Devils overrated?
I am not one to overreact to Duke's double-digit loss at St. John's. It is one game. But when you look at Duke's body of work to this point, the true quality victories seem to be lacking for a team in contention for a No. 1 seed, or perhaps even a No. 2 seed, in the NCAA tournament. And when you consider that Duke is not nearly the same team without Kyrie Irving, it will be particularly interesting to watch how the selection committee views the defending national champions.
I want to compare Duke's resume to that of BYU because both have identical records against Division I teams and both hail from conferences that are ranked about the same this season (fourth or fifth). BYU, even though it possesses a potential national player of the year favorite in Jimmer Fredette, also lacks the name recognition of Duke. So with all that in mind, take a look at their resumes: Both have similar records against top 50 and top 100 teams. BYU's worst loss -- at New Mexico -- is slightly worse than Duke's worst loss -- at Florida State. The real difference I see is in the quality victories.
Duke has not beaten a top 30 team in the RPI. Its best wins are against Michigan State (36), Alabama-Birmingham (37), Boston College (38), Kansas State (41), Butler (42) and Marquette (59). Which of those teams is a definite NCAA tournament team? MSU and K-State are among the most disappointing teams in the country. Butler has faded. UAB is on the bubble. Boston College and Marquette may be in at the moment, but neither is on solid footing.
BYU, on the other hand, has beaten San Diego State (5), Arizona (21), Utah State (30), UNLV (32), St. Mary's (33) and Colorado State (49). So it has five wins over teams ranked higher than any of the teams that Duke beat.
So why is Duke ranked fifth in the polls, a few spots ahead of BYU? I'd give BYU an edge at this point, albeit a slight one.
Vs. top 50: 5-2
Vs. top 100: 10-2
Best win: Michigan State (36)
Worst loss: at Florida State (50)
Road-neutral court: 7-2
Vs. top 50: 6-1
Vs. top 100: 9-2
Best win: San Diego State (5)
Worst loss: at New Mexico (63)
Road-neutral court: 11-2
| February 1, 2011; 11:44 AM ET
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