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Posted at 11:44 AM ET, 02/ 1/2011

NCAA tournament 2011: Are the Duke Blue Devils overrated?

By Eric Prisbell

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.

Duke
Record: 19-2
RPI: 12
SOS: 62
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

Brigham Young
Record: 19-2
RPI: 2
SOS: 10
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

By Eric Prisbell  | February 1, 2011; 11:44 AM ET
 
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Comments

Yes, I've been saying this all year

Posted by: Barno1 | February 1, 2011 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Duke is overrated almost every year.I know they won it all last year buy Duke and Michigan State both are media favorites.Duke was rated#1 and Michigan State was rated#2 to begin the season.I would love to see Duke play Texas.Texas is the best team i have seen this season.

Posted by: goodeedward | February 1, 2011 1:35 PM | Report abuse

"Texas is the best team i have seen this season."

Is this the same Texas that lost, at home, to the 4th place team in the Big East? Not quite as bad as Duke losing to the 11th place team in the Big East. But neither Duke nor Texas plays in a tough conference, so they'll be fresh for the Tournament.

Posted by: mcstowy | February 1, 2011 2:04 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if they're overrated, but between events in NYC and Hartford, it's a good day, fellas!

Posted by: info_stuporhighway | February 1, 2011 2:12 PM | Report abuse

The pattern continues. Duke was blown out by Georgetown on 1/30/10 and then won the national championship. Duke was blown out by St. Johns on 1/30/11 and then??? Never count out coach K. Ps. After the Georgetown loss last year, Prisbell said Duke could not win the national championship.

Posted by: sportsfan2 | February 1, 2011 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Is it Duke's fault that when they beat a top 25 team they fall into a disasterous downward spiral trying to recover from the Duke loss? MSU and K-State were top 5 in the country when they played Duke. Butler was probably overrated, but none the less, in the top 25. I believe Marquette was in the top 25 when the 2 squared off as well. People can thank Duke for exposing how to beat the likes of MSU and Kstate on a regular basis.

Posted by: covertops26 | February 1, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Like nearly every season since they had Boozer, Duke's soft and not athletic enough inside (didn't matter much last March though). This is why they lose to teams like FSU and St Johns. They're still a legitimate top 10 team though. With Irving they were top 5. More vulnerable than OSU, Texas and Kansas - but I wouldn't dismiss them.

Posted by: Kev29 | February 1, 2011 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Duke is, and will always be, a well-oiled machine. BUT they are rated higher than needed.

Duke doesn't have the toughness to play certain teams and they've already been exposed to having a weak interior despite their big men.

Coack K coaches a "system" that works. The problem is that "system" gets exposed when better "players" break it down.

He will always have success with his teams as long as the "system" is in place...one reason he won't be leaving Duke for a VERY long time. Coack K may just as well have his coffin built in the arena because if Dookies love Duke's success, he can't go anywhere.

Leave them in the Top 10 and let the tourney show who really deserved the top rankings throughout the season.

Posted by: cbmuzik | February 1, 2011 4:00 PM | Report abuse

I loves me some Duke (I'm an alum), and, yep, we're a little overrated at this point. We'll still give MD a tough game, though.

I didn't have a problem starting the season #1: if you win it all, you start there and stay till you lose. But #5 is a little high for a team that wasn't even competitive on Sat.

Hope we get KI back before the ACC tournament! We could be harder to beat then ...

Posted by: DCUnited2 | February 1, 2011 8:23 PM | Report abuse

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