Repeating as NCAA tournament champions is not an easy feat. Florida did it in 2006 and 2007 thanks to an unusual set of circumstances -- namely, that an entire title-winning team decided to forgo the NBA for a season and come back for one more chance at a title. That doesn't happen much anymore, which is why Florida was the first school to win back-to-back titles since Duke's legendary 1991 and 1992 squads.
With Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith returning for 2010-11, though (and with talented players like Kyrie Irving and Seth Curry joining Coach K's backcourt), Blue Devils fans have their eyes on another repeat. Can it happen? How so? Is it talent? Luck? Hard work? A favorable NCAA tournament draw?
According to Brian Davis, a Duke forward who averaged 11.2 points per game in 1992, it's mostly just about getting angry. And swearing. Swearing seems to help, too. From the Duke Chronicle:
“We didn’t appreciate all the s—t everyone was talking about us,” Davis said. “[Christian and I] were pissed, and Grant was pissed, and we felt we had something to prove. We said to ourselves, ‘We’re going to win this s—t again.’”
How ribald! The problem, of course, is that the 2010-11 Devils won't have all that many people talking [guff] about them; as of this writing, Duke is the consensus No. 1 team in pretty much everyone's preseason rankings. How, then, to get motivated? Hopefully Duke will have something else to focus their energy toward. Or maybe winning another title will be enough. Winning feels pretty awesome, even if you can't say "Nobody believed in us!" with anything approaching a straight face.
"Everybody believed in us! And we still did it! Woo-hoo!" It doesn't have quite the same ring to it, but I'm betting the champs don't care.