Duke basketball program already outperforming preseason expectations

Duke basketball (Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball (Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Duke basketball program already seems to be outperforming preseason expectations.

A National Championship is the standard in Durham year in and year out, but the Duke basketball team is already exceeding expectations for the 2020-21 season.

As preseason polls slowly begin to be unveiled, many expect the Blue Devils to start the season as a fringe Top-10 team, which is nothing to slouch about, but many who support Duke are accustomed to seeing a preseason Top-5 team.

However, one metric, and perhaps the most commonly used ranking system, pegs Mike Krzyzewski‘s team as that upper-tier program to begin the season.

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Duke is ranked No. 3 in the KemPom Rankings by Ken Pomeroy, behind only Baylor and Gonzaga, neither of which the Blue Devils are scheduled to play in the 2020-21 regular season.

On the contrary, the Blue Devils were ranked at No. 12 in the preseason poll by Matt Norlander of CBS Sports.

In recent days, Krzyzewski has said that his team is young and athletic, per the usual from the Blue Devils in recent years, but the Hall of Famer is optimistic about his squad entering the strange season ahead.

Why the Duke basketball program will have serious questions in March

This Duke basketball team is in a strange position once the postseason comes around.

Its returning players, Jordan Goldwire, Joey Baker, Wendell Moore, and Matthew Hurt, have never truly played regular minutes in the postseason, specifically Moore and Hurt, who have not seen an ACC or NCAA Tournament at all.

A freshman class is expected to thrive in Durham, but clearly, nothing is known with the group outside of Jalen Johnson, the top-ranked recruit at Duke, who is anticipated to only last one season as a Blue Devil.

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There are many expectations on the shoulders of freshmen DJ Steward, Mark Williams, and Jeremy Roach, but all three players could potentially return to Durham for a sophomore season if things do not shake out favorably in terms of their draft stock.

Fans do not have to wait much longer to see their Blue Devils on the court as Duke opens its season in Cameron Indoor Stadium against Gardner-Webb on November 25.

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