Don’t think, not for a second, that since it’s the NCAA Tournament rosters are set.
Whether it be the preseason, the regular season, the postseason, or the offseason, kids get hurt. They get healthy. They do dumb stuff to get themselves suspended. It’s just like college for the rest of us. Whether it is finals week spring break or summer vacation, you are probably still going to wake up Thursday through Sunday with a hangover. And when you throw a party with a DJ and six kegs and invite every freshmen girl, odds are pretty good that you’ll end up with cops knocking on your door.
So keeping that, and the success of your bracket, in mind, here are a couple of important rosters moves that have taken place over the last two days:
Kyrie Irving: On Saturday, it was Irving, in uniform, heading out to the court to do some rehab drills.
This afternoon? Irving participated in some drills in practice while Mike Krzyzewski set twitter ablaze when he said “There is a chance Kyrie will play.”
“He’s not going to start if he does play,” Coach K said. “And he wouldn’t play for extended minutes at any one time.”
Now, there are a couple of different things that could be going on here. Irving could very well be close to coming back from the injury. There was talk he would be back for the tournament earlier in the season. But that quote could also be for the benefit of the coaches currently preparing for the Dukies. If there are rumors that Irving will be back in uniform, then Duke’s opponents must take time to prepare for him and what he would bring to the Duke attack. This could be nothing more than just gamesmenship, using Irving as a decoy.
If he does end up playing, there are some risks — is he 100%? What does this do to the team’s chemistry? How does Coach K handle having Seth Curry’s and Andre Dawkins’ minutes cut?
But those risks are far outweighed by the benefits of Irving potentially being Kyrie Irving. It wasn’t that long ago that Irving was considered a favorite to win national player of the year.
A slowed-down, rusty version of that Irving is still a weapon.
Kelsey Barlow: Barlow, key cog in the Purdue attack, was suspended for the NCAA Tournament on Tuesday for conduct detrimental to the team. Barlow was a bit of a poor man’s Chris Kramer. He could score getting to the rim, he’s a decent three point shooter, and he’s a solid defender. Without him, expect guys like Terone Johnson and Ryne Smith to have to step up their games.
Chris Wright: Georgetown’s starting point guard should be back in action. If he is back to 100%, that is huge for the Hoyas, who lost every game in which he sat out with a broken hand. Wright gives Georgetown some offensive creativity that they were severely lacking.
Chris Singleton: Singleton is arguably the best defender in the country, and after breaking his foot late in January, he has been back practicing with the Seminoles this week.