NCAA Bracket Preview: Complete Duke Blue Devils Tournament Primer

The Duke Blue Devils are the No. 1 seed in the West Region of the NCAA Tournament, where they'll face the 16th-seeded Hampton Pirates in the first round in Charlotte, N.C. But the defending national champions head into the 2011 NCAA Tournament with a few more questions than usual, despite an ACC title game victory on Sunday over North Carolina.

Foremost on Coach K's oversized brain: "How to get Kyle Singler untracked and where to find interior scoring?" Singler is fine when the Devils have the luxury to move him to four to punish the opponents slow footed power forwards. When the hybrid wing is tasked with playing the three due to size matchups evidenced by the UNC game, Singler struggles if he's checked by a similarly sized athletic wing (See Harrison Barnes).

From a back to the basket standpoint, the Blue Devils lack that true threat to run offense through, allowing Coach K the luxury of playing inside-out.  Duke is fine running up and down the floor for easy buckets and secondary threes, but put them in a half court to half court grinder versus a team with an athletic front court and solid guard play and they’ll likely struggle.

Key wins: Michigan State (pre-collapse), Temple, UNC.

Key losses: St. John’s, Virginia Tech, UNC.

Players to watch: POY Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler, Mason Plumlee (X-factor)

For more NCAA Tournament coverage of the Duke Blue Devils, head over to Duke Basketball Report.

Duke Profile by Kevin Berger.

Click here to download a printable 2011 NCAA Tournament bracket.

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