Duke Basketball: Blue Devils mock critics by finishing as decade’s best

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Though neither an official ranking nor trophy exists, statistics suggest Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski bested all his peers this decade — despite critics concocting a narrative to the contrary.

One observation of the one-and-done era is understandable: the quick departures of top players diminish the overall product of the college game. An asinine argument, though, is the Duke basketball program has continuously fallen short of expectations during the era after hauling in an abundant supply of one-and-done recruits.

Although the “one-and-done rule” started in 2006, the freshman exodus to the NBA didn’t kick into high gear until the beginning of this decade.

It is true that Duke, second only to Kentucky with 17 players this decade who cashed in on their talents after one season, has thrice been No. 1 in the preseason AP Poll since the 2009-10 season.

But is only winning the national championship twice in the same time period a sign of drastic underachieving?

A sign of success is far more accurate.

Add to the titles the decree as the best program of the decade.

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In terms of college basketball, the current decade is complete — unless one counts the first half of the upcoming season. And not only did Ball Durham determine prior to last season Duke would be this decade’s king if the season played out the way it ultimately did, but both simple and advanced statistics now agree.

ALSO READ: What will it take for Duke to be decade’s best program?

Simple stats show that among the three programs to have won two national titles this decade — Duke, Villanova, and UConn — the program from Durham compiled the most wins (299), NCAA Tournament appearances (10), Sweet Sixteen appearances (7), and Elite Eight appearances (5).

Advanced stats — at least those Bart Torvik of BartTorvik.com published via a tweet this week — show that the Blue Devils also excelled this decade in terms of adjusted offensive and defensive efficiencies.

In short, Torvik’s “Top 25 of the 2010s by T-Rank” formulated the average percentage chance each program had of beating an average Division I team since 2010; Duke’s 95.6 percent chance of doing so bested Kansas’ 94.9 for top honors:

So the next time Tar Heels — or some other fans still jealous over Zion Williamson forever being a member of #TheBrotherhood — snarkily praise Duke for winning the most preseason national championships, point to the above numbers (UNC finished sixth).

ALSO READ: Duke should now pay Zion Williamson millions to teach class

And snarkily finish them off with the following stats pointing to an obvious flaw to their criticism of Duke:

Across the past 30 seasons, not only have Coach K’s Blue Devils won the most preseason national championships of any program (No. 1 in the preseason AP Poll on seven occasions since 1990), but they have also won the most actual national championships (the four from both UNC and UConn since 1990 fall short of Duke’s five).

So pick a count — preseason or actual — and the Blue Devils finish on top in the time since the first George Bush took office.

And if all this doesn’t settle the argument of Duke’s superiority in both the modern and one-and-done era, point out that dating back to 1990, Duke has now won two of the past three team-of-the-decade titles.

Next. Three reasons Duke sweeps UNC next season. dark

All this looks a lot like the definition of success at the highest-of-all level.