Duke basketball not even on bubble for NCAA Tournament

Duke basketball (Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball (Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports) /

The first NET rankings of the 2020-21 season are unkind to Duke basketball.

While there are a little more than two months to go before Selection Sunday on March 14, the debut of the updated version of the NCAA Evaluation Tool on Monday doesn’t bode well for the Duke basketball squad (3-2, 1-0 ACC) at the moment.

According to the NET rankings — which the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee has used since 2018-19 to evaluate the strength of resumes and thereby aid in constructing the March Madness bracket — there are 114 teams currently more deserving than the Blue Devils of an NCAA Tournament bid.

Yes, despite Duke sitting No. 21 in the latest AP Top 25 Poll, the 41st bunch of Blue Devils under Mike Krzyzewski comes in at No. 115 on the first NET rankings of the season.

ALSO READ: Ranking the first 40 Duke teams under Coach K

Eleven ACC foes are ahead of Duke: Clemson (15), Syracuse (25), Louisville (33), Virginia Tech (34), NC State (38), Virginia (45), Florida State (60), North Carolina (64), Wake Forest (69), Pittsburgh (75), and Georgia Tech (95).


Some of this is not Duke basketball’s fault

Though Mike Krzyzewski remains out of commission due to contact tracing, not a single positive COVID-19 test has come from the Duke program.

Nevertheless, after the postponement or cancelation of three non-conference games due to positive COVID-19 tests within scheduled opponents’ programs, the Blue Devils made the decision in December to nix their remaining non-conference slate altogether in order to give the players a longer break for the holidays.

Then ever since beating Notre Dame on Dec. 16, Duke has yet to return to action after postponements to its outings against Pitt and Florida State (originally on tap for Dec. 29 and Jan. 2, respectively).

In other words, the Blue Devils haven’t seen an opportunity for resume-building the past three weeks. Meanwhile, no other AP-ranked team has played fewer than seven games this season.

Duke is set — for now, anyway — to host Boston College (2-7, 0-3 ACC, No. 132 NET ranking) at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday (ACC Network).

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