Duke basketball: Three reasons officiating often favors Blue Devils

Duke basketball (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /
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Duke basketball
Duke basketball (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

3. Duke is often the aggressor

Duke basketball players typically demonstrate the type of fiery confidence that intimidates foes and attracts record numbers of viewers. Put simply, hate them or love them, their style of hoops has long been an irresistible sight for the masses (refer to ratings from most any season, but in this season, per the official Duke basketball Twitter account, the country’s two most-watched games are Duke-UNC at 2.7 million and Duke-Kansas at 2.4 million).

In most games, Duke’s ball movement is poetic and requires fouling to disrupt it. At its most intensely determined level, not even fouls can slow down the fine-tuned, uptempo attack.

Consequently, from one season to the next, the Blue Devils consistently land among the nation’s top 10 percent in scoring; this season, despite losing 73.7 percent of their scoring from last season, they rank No. 3 out of 353 teams at 82.6 points per game, with the 17.5 from bruiser Vernon Carey Jr. leading the bunch.

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In response, over the years, opposing coaches have thrown nearly every type of defense in the book at the problem — most of the time, to no avail. So one could logically contend that there is only one legitimate grievance with the whistles against Duke opponents when the Blue Devils have possession: an insufficient count. Besides, Basketball 101 says the team with the most relentless weapons on offense will, on average, wind up with the most drawn fouls.

In conclusion, don’t blame the officials for all the calls that benefit the Blue Devils. No, don’t blame anyone or anything at all. Rather, give credit both to the superior recruiting machine in Durham and to the supreme skills, schemes, and self-assurance of the beneficiaries themselves.

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Or — my realistic expectation for most — just continue to root for some other program’s inferior brand of basketball while incessantly criticizing Coach K, his players, and the officials every time the Blue Devils play.

Either way, whether you anti-Dukies decide to keep on futilely complaining or start genuinely trying to learn a thing or two during Duke basketball games, ratings point to one certainty: you are paying far more attention to my favorite team than I am to yours (decide for yourself what that means).

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