Is Duke's offense unstoppable?

Five outstanding units to fear in the NCAA tournament

Originally Published: March 10, 2013
By John Gasaway | ESPN Insider

Ryan Kelly AP Photo/Gerry BroomeDuke's offense has been tremendous with Ryan Kelly in the lineup this season.

When we talk about college basketball, we're very often speaking in terms of entire teams. We say "Gonzaga" has been really good this season, or "Kentucky" is on the bubble. And, of course, we're perfectly right to talk this way. The Zags have been really good, and the Wildcats are indeed on the bubble.

But if we break this mode of speaking down further, we find that no team is a single undifferentiated performance unit. "Georgetown," for example, means something very different on defense (excellent) than on offense (so-so). Instead, teams are more like patchwork quilts, made up of several distinct performance characteristics.

With that in mind, I've picked five of the strongest such characteristics you'll see in the field of 68 teams next week. If your team runs up against a group that's on this list, here is the specific quality that you need to be very worried about. These teams are truly outstanding at what they do best.

Duke's offense with Ryan Kelly
When Kelly missed 13 games with a foot injury, it was well documented that what really suffered was Duke's defense. Fair enough, but it's no contradiction to say: (A) the Blue Devils' defense without Kelly is average; and (B) their offense with Kelly is excellent. Both A and B can be true. Indeed, that's exactly what we've seen from Mike Krzyzewski's team in the three games since Kelly returned.