Duke basketball: Four features fueling underappreciated Blue Devils

Duke basketball freshman Cassius Stanley (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Duke basketball freshman Cassius Stanley (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /
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Duke basketball
Duke basketball mascot (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Duke basketball groupies have kept giddiness in check this season, but four strengths of the Blue Devils signal a sufficient arsenal to hunt banners.

Blame the Cameron Crazies. Blame the one-and-done strategy of head coach Mike Krzyzewski. Blame the departure of Zion Williamson. Or blame the disappointing end to last season. Just don’t blame the current Duke basketball bunch for the inexplicably uninspired support from students, the noticeably reserved hype from fans, or the relatively quiet vitriol from trolls.

Maybe some are still blaming their ho-hum expectations on Duke’s Nov. 26 loss in Cameron Indoor Stadium to Stephen F. Austin. Nonsense now, for the Lumberjacks are 22-3 and could be a prime Cinderella pick come March; in retrospect, that “L” hardly looks like an embarrassment.

Plus, recognize the Blue Devils (21-3, 11-2 ACC) have no more losses to date this Valentine’s Day than did four of the program’s five national champions. And with Louisville’s loss at Georgia Tech on Wednesday, Duke is now tied for first in the conference loss column, honing in on the program’s first finish atop the standings since 2010 (not outright since 2006).

After Monday’s impressive home win over No. 8 Florida State, following the soul-snatching victory at North Carolina two days prior, Duke hasn’t lost in almost a month with Notre Dame heading to Durham for Saturday’s 4 p.m. tipoff (ESPN).

ALSO READ: Duke’s five most heartwarming Dean Dome wins

But how has Krzyzewski’s 40th Duke basketball squad managed to often thrive and sometimes survive? Well, the following four traits suggest the Blue Devils are deserving of both a ranking higher than No. 7 and a fanbase exhibiting a higher quantity of goosebumps…