Embarrassing outcomes in late February against teams with losing records offer little encouragement for March, but three notes about Duke basketball’s latest dismal outing do provide some pain relief.
Oftentimes, especially after a Duke basketball loss, I’m loud — both in print and in person. More times than not, I’m negative and opt for temper tantrums over level-headed thinking.
Occasionally, though, I like to surprise myself and those who know me by displaying an inexplicably optimistic calmness. That is the case in response to Tuesday night’s 113-101 defeat in double overtime at the hands of lowly Wake Forest (12-15, 5-12 ACC).
However, so as not to confuse and provoke the legions of down-in-the-dumps Dukies who now can’t go one tweet without either blaming the officials or attacking the players, I have — until now — refrained from proposing the few takeaways that keep both my hands gripping my pom-poms.
Don’t get me wrong, what the Blue Devils did — namely, blow a nine-point lead with 82 seconds remaining in regulation to a squad they’d beaten by 31 only six weeks prior — was inexcusable. Plus, the fact that No. 7 Duke (23-5, 13-4 ACC) had just gained control of its own destiny in the ACC standings adds a scoop of disappointment. Equally disturbing, of course, were the game’s total fouls, 59, and the no-call(s) with 25 ticks on the clock as the Demon Deacons tackled Jordan Goldwire.
OK, hold on, for I evidently require this self-reminder right about now: this article is supposed to be uplifting. On that note, I’ll begin listing my three rah-rah observations, starting with the one that Duke basketball faithful should forever embrace as the forgettable contest’s most delightful byproduct of all…