In offering 25 fearless predictions for the upcoming (well, almost) college basketball season, SI.com’s Luke Winn makes a point that will undoubtedly delight Duke haters and incense Blue Devil loyalists:
21. Duke will look, statistically, like a national-title contender … and yet fall short of the Final Four once again.
The jab implicitly references Duke’s early-season success of 2007-2008, when the Blue Devils knocked off North Carolina in Chapel Hill in early February to prove their mettle, and also cites the struggles down the stretch, when Duke squandered a two-game lead in the ACC, lost in the semifinals of the conference tournament and failed to advance to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year. Stewart Mandel, Winn’s SI.com colleague, wrote a long piece about how Duke has recently dominated in December and January before slumping when it matters most–an analysis that proved prophetic.
So make your fearless prediction: Will the Blue Devils still be alive for college basketball’s final weekend next season? And don’t worry. You still have many months to make up your mind.
–by Ben Cohen