Duke basketball heaven: Nothing finer than historic ACC standings

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Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

This is just a reminder that there's nothing finer than the historic sight of Duke basketball sitting alone atop the conference while defeated North Carolina owns sole possession of dead last.

Never this late in the season — not even when Matt Doherty delighted Duke basketball faithful from the North Carolina bench — has the ACC standings glimmered with so much beauty.

With Saturday's 94-60 splash party at home over Notre Dame, in combination with Louisville's loss at Clemson, No. 7 Duke (22-3, 12-2 ACC) would now be the No. 1 seed in the ACC Tournament if the regular season ended today.

Hours after Mike Krzyzewski and his bunch won their seventh straight, eight miles away, rival UNC (10-15, 3-11 ACC) again came up empty in crunch time, falling to Virginia, 64-62, and thereby tallying its eighth home loss.

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If the 15-team conference began its tourney tomorrow, then the Tar Heels would be the No. 15 seed. And without an automatic bid — now seems certain to require five wins in five days — Roy Williams and his gang won't be in the NCAA Tournament, which would mark the program's fourth such embarrassment this century (Duke hasn't missed the Big Dance since 1995).

Without running the table in their final six games, UNC will travel to Greensboro in a few weeks either with no path to even the NIT (which requires entrants to have won at least half their games) or needing to advance multiple rounds to get there. Meanwhile, the Blue Devils boast a program-record five ACC wins by a margin of at least 30 points.

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The Tar Heels have now dropped 14 of 18, including a loss to Clemson that snapped a 59-game home win streak in the series and a home overtime loss to Duke that relinquished any Dean Dome dignity that might've remained. In comparison, never with Coach K in charge have the Blue Devils suffered more than 12 losses across any 18-game stretch.

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But whether you relish UNC disappointments or root for the Heels to do better, this update was just a courtesy. As for this Duke basketball fan, at this historic moment, there's no doubt:

Nothing finer than to be in Carolina.

Stay tuned to Ball Durham for more updates, analyses, and opinions regarding the 2019-20 Duke basketball season.