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Champions Bracket: 2008 Kansas vs. 2010 Duke

tournament

3) 2008 – Kansas Jayhawks (37-3)
G – Brandon Rush, Jr (13.3p, 5.1r, 2.1a)
F – Darrell Arthur, So (12.8p, 6.3r, 0.8a)
PG – Mario Chalmers, Jr (12.8p, 3.1r, 4.3a)
F – Darnell Jackson, Sr (11.2p, 6.7r, 1.1a)
G – Sherron Collins, So (9.3p, 2.2r, 2.1a)
G – Russell Robinson, Sr (7.3p, 2.8r, 4.1a)
C – Sasha Kaun, Sr (7.1p, 3.9r, 0.3a)
14) 2010 – Duke Blue Devils (35-5)
PG – Jon Scheyer, Sr (18.2p, 3.6r, 4.9a)
F – Kyle Singler, Jr (17.7p, 7.0r, 2.4a)
G – Nolan Smith, Jr (17.4p, 2.8r, 3.0a)
C – Brian Zoubek, Sr (5.6p, 7.7r, 1.0a)
F – Miles Plumlee, So (5.2p, 4.9r, 0.3a)
F – Lance Thomas, Sr (4.8p, 4.9r, 0.9a)
G – Andre Dawkins, Fr (4.4p, 1.1r, 0.3a)
F – Mason Plumlee, Fr (3.7p, 3.1r, 0.9a)

Their 2010 squad put Duke back on top of the college basketball world in a wild NCAA tournament. They were a No. 1 seed but it was supposed to be either Kansas or Kentucky cutting the nets down. But surprising upsets helped easy Dukes’ path.

But the 2008 Kansas squad had to beat the best teams around and while they needed a huge, clutch shot to get into overtime, it was there that they ran away with the title.

Duke had to play a No. 8 California, No. 4 Purdue and No. 3 Baylor to reach the final four and when they got there they were able to demolish a talented No. 2 seed West Virginia, though granted the Mountaineers were missing one of their top players, Darryl Bryant. Then Duke barely got past a very hard-nosed, blue collar surprise Butler.

Brandon Rush - Kansas

Brandon Rush – Kansas

Kansas has a bit of a deceivingly tough road to the championship. In the Sweet 16 they faced a surprise 12-seed Villanova, but they were playing some of the best basketball in the tournament and led by the incredibly tough Scottie Reynolds. Then they advanced to play Davidson, a No. 10 seed, but they upset three top opponents and were being carried by a future NBA superstar Stephen Curry. In the Final Four they topped North Carolina, a team that may have been the favorite, and then an incredibly talented Memphis squad that was led by another future NBA superstar, Derrick Rose.

Kansas was building to their title for a while. As freshmen and sophomores Brandon Rush, Mario Chalmers, Darnell Jackson and Sasha Kaun showed a lot of promise but then they added Darrell Arthur inside and Sherron Collins on their backcourt and things looked like it was only a matter of time. Finally in 2008 the Jayhawks did it.

They had a great mix of forward and guard play. Bush and Chalmers were a dominant backcourt that could score in a variety of ways. Chalmers was primarily the outside shooter while Rush was a deadly slasher who powered his way inside. Arthur, Jackson and Kaun were a very tough trio inside that could score, rebound and defend.

Duke was a much weirder squad. Build during the down years of Duke’s program under Coach K, Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith were a very dynamic backcourt but the key was Kyle Singler. He was a wing forward with tremendous passing ability. He was like another guard but he had the height to get inside and make plays. The dirty work on the boards and defending were mostly left to senior Brian Zoubek, sophomore Miles Plumlee and his brother, freshman Mason Plumlee. The Plumlee’s were slid but still fairly raw as freshmen.

A game against each other would mostly be a battle outside but it would be very interesting to see how Zoubek and the Plumlee brothers would hold up against Arthur, Jackson and even Kaun, who really stepped his offense up in the tournament.

Scheyer, Singler and Smith would dominate and put up a lot of points but it just seems that Duke’s offense would only really come from three guys. Duke probably had the better top end players but Kansas just seems far more balances and full of a lot more high-end players. Kansas has more guys who could carry the load and that depth would probably help them edge out a victory in an otherwise close game.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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