The NIT Season Tip-Off certainly gives four teams the best
shot for the trip to Madison Square Garden, but it's no guarantee this year's
top quartet will get there as in other tournaments.
The potential is certainly there for a Final Four matchup in
late November. Duke headlines the event
with the Arizona Wildcats expected to meet the Blue Devils in the championship
game. The Blue Devils and Wildcats are
each favored to with their conferences with +175 prices on the NCAA basketball odds, Duke also sporting 8/1 odds to win the 2014 NCAA Men's Championship while
Coach K & Blue Devils Reload For Another Run
Reaching the Elite Eight is quite an accomplishment for most schools and coaches. But for Mike Krzyzewski and Duke, doing so in 2012-13 was something of a disappointment. The Duke Blue Devils were ranked second in the country when they bowed out of the ACC Tournament after just one game, and like that loss to Maryland, it was cold shooting from outside that cost them in an 85-63 setback to Louisville in the Elite Eight, the Cardinals laying 3.5 in that game.
The top three scorers are gone from last year's squad, and the two tough holes to fill will be in the frontcourt where Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly are missing. That is where Marshall Plumlee and Amile Jefferson will have to make huge strides and stay healthy to man the posts.
Duke did bring in forward Jabari Parker, part of our One-&-Done discussion earlier this week, but the heralded freshman isn't going to replace the big bodies of Mason Plumlee and Kelly. Two players who sat out last year, 3-point sniper Andre Dawkins and Rodney Hood, will be key, plus the development of freshmen Matt Jones and Semi Ojeleye.
In the South Region of this year's NIT Tip-Off, the Blue Devils host UNC-Asheville for starters before meeting the winner of the Norfolk State-East Carolina game.
Are Wildcats For Real This Season?
All things pointed to
This year's team should be better, and a Final Four
appearance is definitely in
One big key will be finding backcourt help for Johnson.
Toughest Challenge For Duke,
Rutgers should make it to
The Scarlet Knights should sail past Canisius in their NIT
Tip-Off opener at home, but they will likely have to face a fairly tough Drexel
team in the next game, assuming the Dragons can get past Elon. Bruiser
The Tide is going to start the season without Levi Randolph
who is nursing a sore knee, so his status throughout November is a question