PHILADELPHIA -- No other team in the country could play the role of villain in the NCAA tournament while simultaneously having on its potential hero on the roster.
Duke, the No. 2 seed in the Midwest region, will look to avoid being upset by a No. 15 seed for the second straight season at Wells Fargo Center on Friday against Albany (24-10). Of course, Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski acted Thursday as if last year's shocking defeat against Lehigh never happened.
"Well, you know, if we keep looking back at our experiences, then we would really get overconfident," Krzyzewski said when asked about the Lehigh game. "Because we've won four national championships and been to 11 Final Fours. There's no need to go back to good or bad experiences because not all these guys were involved in that."
Krzyzewski has a point. Senior forward Ryan Kelly helped Duke win a national title in 2010, too, and he sat out last year's postseason with an injured right foot.
"I feel like there can't be many people more excited than me," said Kelly, who wasn't as selective with his memory as his coach. After missing 13 games this season due to problems with the same foot, Kelly admitted his fairy-tale return with a career-high 36 points against Miami on March 2 was hardly a foregone conclusion. Humility, it would seem, suits Duke's most likely knight in shining armor.
"I think what happened [vs.] Miami was kind of an amazing thing, the fact that I made all those shots," Kelly said. "Thank goodness I did. But now it's time to just play our best. All that's in the past."
- Craig Stouffer