Duke basketball past losing streak wasn’t as bad as people thought

Duke basketball (Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images) /

The Duke basketball team snapped its losing streak on Monday night and the losses weren’t as bad as people were making them out to be.

Duke lost some basketball games and people absolutely freaked out and lost their cool, as in typical fashion.

Specifically, the Blue Devils lost three of four games in mid-to-late February, all on the road, and the panic buttons couldn’t be pressed hard enough in Durham from the passionate Duke fanbase.

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However, now that the losing streak is over, let’s take a look back at the losses Duke suffered, which aren’t as bad as once assumed in the midst of the slide.

The first defeat was never much of a game, as the Blue Devils fell to the North Carolina State Wolfpack, the same team Duke snapped its skid against. But the initial loss was 88-66, and Duke was never competitive in the game.

It was alarming that the entire country knew that NC State would come out firing in this game, as it was a game the Wolfpack needed in hopes of reaching the NCAA Tournament, but the Blue Devils didn’t show up and that’s perfectly normal when talking about college basketball players, most of which either are freshman or have not played significant minutes in their collegiate careers.

One of the main players that did show up was the seasoned sophomore Tre Jones, who tried to will the Blue Devils back in the game with freshman Vernon Carey Jr.

Duke responded with a resounding victory over Virginia Tech at home but then went back on the road to face a slugging Wake Forest team and the Blue Devils came out of the gates slow before ramping up the pressure in the second half.

With the game seemingly in hand, Duke checked out and was ready to get back to campus and focus on the Virginia Cavaliers, but the Demon Deacons had other ideas.

Wake miraculously got back in the game and forced overtime before winning the game in double overtime.

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Duke’s loss is almost identical to a Kentucky team that many were calling a Final Four caliber team, which just blew a 17-point second half lead at home to the Tennessee Volunteers.

Again, these things happen with young teams who are inexperienced and truly don’t know what it takes to win while playing an imperfect game.

So a non-competitive defeat and a brain-fart of checking out too soon. Yes, in the moment it seems like the world is coming crashing down on Cameron Indoor Stadium, but now with a chance to reflect, it’s better for the long-haul.

Which brings us to our final game of the stretch with the defeat at the hands of the aforementioned Virginia Cavaliers.

Well, what else did you expect to happen?

It was going to be a very close, back-and-forth game between two very good teams and programs, not to mention the Cavaliers had the benefit of playing on their home floor.

Virginia just made one more play than the Blue Devils and Duke suffered a loss. It was right there for the taking, and Mike Krzyzewski‘s team couldn’t make the play down the stretch.

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Again, it happens. It’s not like they didn’t show up again or collapsed down the stretch. No team led by more than seven points.

The scoreboard certainly didn’t show it was a good game, 52-50, but it was an extremely high-level college basketball game, and Duke just came out on the short end of the stick.

Duke got back in the win column with a second half explosion over NC State, and all is right with the world again as the Blue Devils found their swagger and Mike Krzyzewski showed his passion and dropped the mic on Duke Nation.

Also in the midst of the losing streak was the emergence of Justin Robinson, who looks to play a very important role for the Blue Devils in March.

Regardless of the final week of the regular season, Duke will have a double-bye in the ACC Tournament and in all likelihood a top-three seed in the NCAA Tournament, which is wide open this season.

The Blue Devils learned some valuable lessons along the way in their losing streak, gained a new asset for the stretch run, and are ready to flip the page to March to write another page in the long history book which is Duke Men’s Basketball.