Despite popular opinion, the selection committee didn't conspire to give Duke the easiest path to the Final Four. Anyone who watched Baylor, Saint Mary's and the newly inspired Purdue play last weekend can attest to that. So the Blue Devils are no lock to cut down nets in Houston. That said, Duke is different this year, and it's not difficult to imagine the Blue Devils cutting down nets in Indianapolis.
So what makes Duke different in 2010? Take it away, coach
Indeed, the improvement of 7-foot-1 center
And that's what makes Duke dangerous. The big three don't have to dominate for the Blue Devils to win. "This team has so much talent and so much potential," Smith said. "Every game somebody steps up, and that's the exciting thing about this team. We might not shoot good every game, but we play defense and play hard, and any game somebody is going to surprise you."
It almost doesn't seem right to call Saint Mary's an underdog, but considering the resources available to the other three programs left alive in the region, the Gaels are certainly in a different tax bracket. "There were more people at the game for Villanova [Saturday] than we have students at Saint Mary's," Gaels center
But if the past weekend taught us anything, it's that size doesn't matter. By beating Villanova, Saint Mary's proved it can play with any of the other three remaining teams. With Samhan scoring inside and
Most of us wrote off the Boilermakers after star
The Boilermakers have the defensive chops to keep Duke from blowing the game open Friday. The question is whether Purdue's new offensive contributor will chip in enough to propel the Boilermakers to the Elite Eight.
Scheyer had a miserable shooting day against Cal. He's due to bounce back. In fact, Scheyer seemed certain he would find his shooting stroke. "I'll find it in Durham," Scheyer said. "And it'll come with me to Houston."
Not many teams left in the tournament have the personnel to match up as well with Saint Mary's as Baylor. Samhan will face a huge front line that includes 6-10
Saint Mary's guards will have to chase
Baylor should have a home-court advantage. Waco is only a 186-mile drive from Houston, so Bears fans have an easy trip. Unfortunately, cavernous Reliant Stadium may negate Baylor's advantage somewhat.
Purdue has averaged 24.5 more points in its two NCAA tournament games than in its first two games against tourney-bound teams (Michigan State and Minnesota) after Hummel's injury.
The Blue Devils don't seem capable of getting rattled, be it by Purdue's defense, St. Mary's mania or Baylor's athleticism.