To put it simply, Duke Basketball hasn’t looked good this season, so where do they go from here?
Duke basketball has had a horrid start to the 2020-21 season, and it just keeps getting worse, the latest example being their loss to Virginia Tech. With the loss to the Hokies, Duke is now 0-3 against ranked teams on the season, and 5-3 on the season.
While they’ve handled their business against lesser opponents, it hasn’t exactly been pretty. Their five wins are by a combined 54 (beat Coppin State by 10, and Bellarmine by 22), which means their wins over Boston College, Notre Dame, and Wake Forest, were all ugly at times and Duke let their opponents hang in longer than they probably should have.
So all that being said, where does Duke basketball go from here?
Well unfortunately for the Blue Devils, their schedule doesn’t get any easier anytime soon. After a matchup with Pitt next Tuesday, they’ll have 16th ranked Louisville, Georgia Tech, and then 12th ranked Clemson.
This means whatever Duke is doing poorly, they’re going to have to figure out how to fix it, and they’re going to have to do it soon. If the Blue Devils don’t figure out how to fix it, we could be looking at a bubble team come March which would end the second-longest active NCAA Tournament streak, as Duke has made each of the past 24 tournaments.
Maybe Duke’s biggest problem is the fact that they are inconsistent as inconsistent gets. They still don’t have a true superstar although Matthew Hurt has emerged as the best player on the team, averaging just under 20 points per game.
Besides Hurt, the Blue Devils don’t really have anybody to rely on each game as Jalen Johnson (who played Tuesday for the first time since December 8th), Jeremy Roach, DJ Steward, and others, simply aren’t consistent enough on the offensive end.
So with that in mind, what is Duke’s ceiling?
I believe this Duke team’s ceiling is the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament (so the Sweet 16, Elite Eight). I simply don’t see the Blue Devils making the necessary changes to actually compete for the Final Four, let alone a National Championship.
If Duke does make the NCAA Tournament it’ll likely be as a 6-9 seed, which is very unusual for the Blue Devils who we are used to seeing as a 1-3 seed.
So that’s their ceiling, what about their floor?
This could very possibly be the first Duke team to miss the NCAA Tournament since 1996. With four games remaining against teams who are currently ranked, the future doesn’t look very bright for Duke. If they want to make the tournament for the 25th straight season, they are going to HAVE to win at least one or two of those games, while handling their business against unranked opponents.
Nonetheless, Duke is in trouble and I would fully expect to see them on the bubble come March if they don’t make changes quickly.