Overall, I'm pretty pleased with the way the bracket shook out. Duke actually has a decent chance to reach the Elite 8, where beating UCLA would be quite the feat, although it's possible. I know UCLA has a great big man in Love, but they really struggle to score at times, esp. from the perimeter.
And since our Devils probably won't win the whole thing, I'm glad that UNC has a pretty tough road to the title. Getting through Indiana, ND/Wazzu, then Louisville/TN will be a challenge.
As for how our team actually looks right now, I'd say that we're in much better shape than last year. We're fairly healthy, most of our players have improved considerably from a year ago, and we're pretty deep. Of course, the biggest key will be our 3-point shooting. We can't really afford to have a cold night once we start seeing the better teams.
Personnel-wise, Zoubek has definitely improved, but he still hurts us more than he helps. He has hands of stone and can't move his feet for the life of him. The best thing he does for us is gives us a few minutes and fouls to protect Singler from all the banging down low. And as I've said all year long, we're better off with Mcclure playing as an undersized big. At least he's active and quick and smart.
I'm not too worried about Singler. I think he'll get his legs back under him with a few days off and perform well. I do wish we had worked Nolan Smith into a bigger role, though. We're going to really need him to stop quick point guards like Lavender and Collison. Paulus is tough-minded and a competitor, but he can't stop people.
Well, hope everyone enjoys the tournament. It's probably my favorite 3 weeks of the sports year. And by the way, if anyone wants to join a pool, I'm running one for $5/entry on espn.com under group name brianpaik, password duke, and Eric is running his free one under NC Connection, password bracket.