What If: Imagining How Things Could Be Different For Duke

SI series looks at how things in sports could be different
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Since there are no NCAA Tournament games this year, fans are left to wonder "what if" and what might have been.

Sports Illustrated decided to take that idea and run with it, looking at some of the greatest What Ifs in March Madness history and speculating about how things would have changed if that moment didn't turn out the way it did.

As a March fixture, Duke obviously has plenty of What Ifs in its NCAA past. What if Laettner's shot(s)--against UConn in 1990 and Kentucky in 1992--didn't drop? What if Coach K didn't struggle with back problems midway through his Duke career?

And one that SI chose to look at in detail--What if Gordon Hayward's halfcourt shot in 2010 had dropped.

SI looked at how Brad Stevens' career at Butler would have changed if he'd won the title in 2010. Would he have left for the Celtics a few years later, or would he have stayed and made Butler the Gonzaga of the Midwest?

The shot falling might have had a major impact on Duke as well. It was Coach K's first Final Four in six years, and their NCAA title drought had reached nine seasons. Entering the 2010 tournament, he'd won three of his last six NCAA games, four of his last eight and five of his last 10.

If Duke fell short in 2010, would the whispers that come with any aging coach who hits a lull have gained steam? "The game has passed him by." Would he have still been able to attract the stream of one-and-dones, that began the following season with Kyrie Irving, to Durham if he didn't have the 2010 title?

And finally, what might have been this year, if the games had been played?