Three humble pies Duke basketball overate at NC State

Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /
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Duke basketball
Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Andy Mead/ISI Photos/Getty Images) /

Replaying Duke basketball’s lackluster losing effort from the last time out reveals three fixable flaws the Blue Devils must have mistakenly viewed as strengths.

It’s extremely salty. Hard to chew. A bitter aftertaste. Regardless, Wednesday night in PNC Arena, the Duke basketball team just devoured, down to the last crumb, all the humble pie NC State gladly served.

Maybe the Blue Devils were just being polite guests, acting as if they almost enjoyed the 40-minute buffet of easy-as-pie buckets the Pack shoved down their throats. Either way, before hosting unranked Virginia Tech (15-11, 6-9 ACC) at 8 p.m. Saturday (ESPN2), No. 6 Duke (22-4, 12-3) must properly digest all that went down.

Not only does the 88-66 blowout go down as Duke basketball’s largest margin of defeat since the 2013 Elite Eight loss to Louisville, but it is also now the biggest whooping, period, at the hands of an unranked opponent across the 40 seasons with Mike Krzyzewski at the helm.

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So what happened to those dazzling Dukies who entered the game on a seven-game win streak after wiping the floor with Notre Dame only four days prior? More specifically, what are the primary Duke weaknesses the Wolfpack exposed that the Blue Devils must now figure out how to either correct or hide before the Big Dance begins only a few weeks from now?

Well, hold your nose, for this list isn’t rosy. But without adequately breaking down these tough-to-swallow truths, they are sure to linger as toxins inside the Duke basketball body, potentially causing everything from here on out to reek of disappointment.

In other words, without addressing the following three shortcomings — all seeming to stem from the type of complacency that comes with overconfidence — they are likely to result in a season-ending loss in mid-March to some hungry double-digit seed…