Here's Thursday's Dear Gary ...
Dear Gary: I appreciate you showing UNLV some respect in the preseason Top 25 (and one). We have one of the best coaches in the nation in Lon Kruger and a great roster coming in. But I just have one question: Why is Duke rated so high? I have a feeling Duke is to basketball as Notre Dame is to football ... overrated.
Duke basketball is Notre Dame football?
You should know that the Blue Devils have won at least 26 games in 10 of the past 11 seasons and never won less than 22 in that span. So while they have missed the Sweet 16 the past two years -- after making it in nine straight -- the idea that Duke is "overrated" is just silly. I mean, Duke finished 28-6 last season and played North Carolina on the final day of the regular season with the ACC title on the line. That's undeniably strong. And four starters from that squad have returned, meaning the core of a team that went 13-3 in the ACC last season is back (and joined by McDonald's All-American Elliot Williams).
Is this Duke team flawed?
The Blue Devils could certainly use Shelden Williams in the middle, and not having a prominent big man could be their downfall. But either way, this is a 28-win team from a major conference with four returning starters. So that leads me to believe Duke is about where it belongs, and I'll be surprised if Coach K doesn't approach another 30-win season fresh off his gold medal-earning summer.