Is Duke's offense unstoppable?
Five outstanding units to fear in the NCAA tournament
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.
To read about Duke's offense and five other college basketball units to be scared of in the tournament, you must be an ESPN Insider.
MORE MEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL HEADLINES
- UNC inviting athletes back to finish degrees
- Ex-Baylor star Austin: NBA offered job too
- C-USA chief: 'Second 5' will still be relevant
- Source: Mudiay signs deal to play in China
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
Insider CBB content
• Greenberg/Telep: Kansas Jayhawks
• Greenberg/Finkelstein: Marquette
• Gasaway/Rankin: Indiana Hoosiers
• Gasaway/Rankin: Michigan Wolverines
• Gasaway/Rankin: Ohio State Buckeyes
• Greenberg/Finkelstein: Memphis Tigers
• Gasaway/Rankin: Florida Gators
• Greenberg/Telep: Kentucky Wildcats
• Gasaway/Finkelstein: Louisville Cardinals
• Gasaway/Finkelstein: Syracuse Orange
• Greenberg/Biancardi: NC State Wolfpack
• Biancardi/Gasaway: Duke Blue Devils
• Biancardi/Gasaway: North Carolina Tar Heels
• Biancardi/Gasaway: Arizona Wildcats
• Greenberg/Telep: UCLA Bruins
• Gasaway: Breakout second-year coaches
• Lunardi: Could Louisville repeat as champs?
• Greenberg: UVA tops list of surprise teams
• Fraschilla: How returning stars can improve
• Gasaway: Top title challengers to Kentucky
• Lunardi: Who will earn No. 1 seeds in 2014?
• Telep: Latest on No. 13 junior Theo Pinson
• Rankin: What Wiggins means for Kansas
• Biancardi: KU to prep Wiggins for NBA success
• Telep: Updated look at top recruits
• Roundtable: Most impressive on AAU circuit?
• Ford: NBA draft lottery preview
• Ford: Winners from the NBA draft combine
• Fraschilla: Burke the draft's top point guard?
• Ford: Measurements concern some GMs
• Ford: Why Wiggins would go No. 1 in 2013
Jay Bilas Blog
Jay's take on latest from around the nation
Analysis from Fraschilla, Greenberg and Lunardi
Get news and rumblings before anyone
Hollinger's College PER
College basketball's top players
Get wagering advice for every game