What if I told you that Duke basketball wouldn’t be a top four seed in March Madness? You would probably think I am an idiot and rightfully so if you haven’t been watching college basketball this season. If you have been watching the season, you and me are asking the same question, “What is going on with Duke this year?”
Duke, as of January 28, is 9th in the whole ACC and they have a 15-6 overall record. For most teams that’s ok, but for a storied program like Duke, 15-6 is unacceptable.
It’s not even like all of the losses were against ranked opponents. Out of the six losses, four of them have been against teams that were unranked. Against the only two ranked teams they have played, they have lost by an average of 11 points. This is the first time in over 15 seasons that Duke has lost three straight games to unranked opponents.
If they keep up their losing ways, they could have the most losses in a regular season since the 1996 season, when they went 18-13. After Duke lost their last game against Miami, it is projected that the Blue Devils will not be in the Top 25 in the next rankings. If this projection comes true, this will be the first time the Blue Devils are unranked since the 2007 season.
The Blue Devils losing 7 out of their last 10 games is a little crazy, but they do play Louisville, Virginia, and UNC in the remainder of their schedule. Those 4 teams are all ranked in the top 20. They play both Louisville and UNC twice in those last 10 games. If they lose those 5 games, they will have the most regular season losses since the 2007 season, when they had 10 losses.
With only about three good wins out of conference, if Duke doesn’t get some big wins against some ACC foes, or win the conference tournament there is a good chance the NCAA Tournament could be Duke-less. The Blue Devils have appeared in 20 straight NCAA Tournaments! As long as I had been born the Blue Devils had been in the tourney.
Maybe this young team needs to find its identity, but it might be too late for them to salvage this season. Coach K’s 2016-2017 Duke Blue Devils team has nine freshmen and sophomores on the active roster and only four juniors and seniors. Almost 70% of this team is underclassmen.
Maybe this year is a rebuilding year for the Blue Devils, or maybe they are trying to make a Cinderella run for the title.