Well, I'm still getting over our 2nd round exit from the tournament, but at least I was more emotionally prepared for it this year. After last year's debacle and our showing against Belmont, I wasn't surprised that we fell to W. Virginia. Plus, finding out that half our team had the flu made it easier to accept.
Coming into the season, we all knew that we had no real post presence and would struggle at times. Still, we had a remarkable run through the first 2/3 of our schedule, knocking off some really good teams like Wisconsin, Marquette, and Davidson. Not only that, we split with UNC in a year that they were vastly superior to us, talent-wise.
Of course, it's hard to end the season like we did - losing at home on senior night to the Heels, then leaving both the ACC and NCAA tourneys early. But overall, it was still a fun team to watch. I think we probably got the most out of our roster this year, and we were clearly better than last year. Once the NCAA starts, anything can happen to anyone. We weren't the only 2 seed that struggled - Georgetown lost to a 10 seed and Tennessee could have easily lost their game. Even UCLA could have lost in the 2nd round. Only UNC seems to be truly dominating, a bit of a sore spot for Duke fans, I know.
For me, I can accept the season we had. The hard part is looking to the future of the program. I don't see us getting much better next year barring some unforeseen events. Losing only one player and returning a lot of good players will help. And our 2 recruits seem solid, but I don't know if we have the really special player(s) that we need to return to the glory days. Where are the Grant Hills and Jason Williams and Carlos Boozers? I know we won't get most of the Mayos and Beasleys out there, but we used to be able to find those rare guys that were good students and also very smart and athletic ballers. I don't know. Maybe Singler or Gerald will develop into special players, but most of our guys seem to have fatal flaws in their game. Demarcus was a great Dukie - committed, athletic, well-mannered, but he never developed a consistent stroke, a must for a 6-4 guard. And Scheyer and Paulus are McDonald's AAs and good players, but they'll never be the superior athletes that they have to guard all the time.
Maybe it's just all a cycle and we have to be patient. We have certainly been spoiled over the years as Duke fans, but I can't help wonder when and if we'll ever return to being a perennial powerhouse. UNC's doing a good job of it right now. How the heck do you get a guy like Psycho-T who wants to play for 4 years? He's the kind of guy we need to start finding again.
Sorry this is so long, y'all. I just needed to get it all of my chest.
Go UCLA! Go Davidson! Go Texas!