Duke basketball: Blue Devils add to recent overtime woes

Duke basketball (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Outside of one stunning win, Duke basketball has stumbled in OT as of late.

Whether it is a matter of coaching, conditioning, overconfidence, or coincidence, there is no denying the trend across recent years: Duke basketball teams struggling in overtime play.

Those difficulties continued Saturday evening.

If the Blue Devils had pulled off a fifth straight victory by beating Louisville (13-5, 8-4 ACC) at home, then they likely would have entered the preferred side of the March Madness bubble. Instead, Duke (11-9, 9-7 ACC) has dinged its NCAA Tournament hopes coming down the homestretch of its regular season via an 80-73 overtime loss.


Now, dating back to the heartbreaking 85-81 L to Kansas in the 2018 Elite Eight, the Blue Devils have dropped five of their past six overtime outings. Granted, the one W along the way could not have been any sweeter (see: the 2020 Tre Jones miracles in Chapel Hill).

But then dating back to the 2015-16 season — following the 2015 national champs’ 2-0 overtime record — the program in Durham has come up empty in seven of its past nine overtime affairs.

Making matters more maddening for Duke fans, six of those defeats came at the hands of opponents who were unranked at the time: Louisville on Saturday, Wake Forest in February 2020, Stephen F. Austin in November 2019, Syracuse in January 2019, Notre Dame in March 2016, and Utah in December 2015.

Plus, three of the past four of those occurred inside Cameron Indoor Stadium. And the past two have been by a combined 19 points.


Up next for the desperate Duke basketball team

Duke now has precisely two weeks to state its case to the Big Dance selection committee. And the remaining slate consists of only two road contests to cap off regular-season conference play — against fellow bubble squad Georgia Tech (13-8, 9-6 ACC) and UNC (15-8, 9-5 ACC) — in addition to the ACC Tournament in Greensboro leading up to Selection Sunday.

The Blue Devils face the Yellow Jackets at 8 p.m. Tuesday and then the Tar Heels at 6 p.m. Saturday.

No more OT, please.

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