Duke basketball flirting with low not seen in Durham since 1983

Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

Duke basketball could end this season with fewer points than its opponents.

The Duke basketball program has reached every NCAA Tournament since bouncing back from a dismal 13-18 record the previous year to earn a No. 8 seed in the 1996 Big Dance.

However, as detailed here at Ball Durham on Monday, the present-day Blue Devils (5-5, 3-3 ACC) need a turnaround — and fast — or they will have to hear the inevitable comparisons to the March Madness-less 1994-95 squad.

But even that not-so-clutch bunch in Durham from a quarter-century ago didn’t wind up with a negative scoring margin for the season (+4.0 at 77.7 to 73.7). No, we have to rewind all the way back to the second and third campaigns with Mike Krzyzewski at the helm (1981-82 and 1982-83) to find the last Dukies who failed to total more points than the competition.

Is 2020-21 Duke basketball at risk of joining the club?

Coming off a three-game road losing skid and entering their home game against Georgia Tech at 9 p.m. Tuesday, the relatively inexperienced Blue Devils are averaging 73.6 points to their foes’ 72.1 per game.

Although the Yellow Jackets (7-4, 3-2 ACC) aren’t likely to win by more than 15, that is all it would take for Duke’s season point differential to dip into the red.

Also, keep in mind, with 14 ACC contests comprising the rest of its regular season, the group’s remaining schedule appears to be a tad more daunting than the completed slate. Therefore, it’s certainly conceivable the Blue Devils will indeed finish with a negative scoring margin if they don’t soon improve.

To be fair, though, the nixing of three non-conference outings in December against lower-tier teams didn’t do Duke any favors in this regard. Of course, those cancellations also didn’t help in the development department.

Right now, the 1981-82 Blue Devils (10-17, 4-10 ACC) still hold the title for being the worst of Krzyzewski’s tenure with an average of 64.0 points — ouch — while giving up 70.0 per game.

Related Story. Ranking the first 40 Duke teams under Coach K. light

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