FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Sporting Alert – Would Duke be better off playing the rest of the season as an unranked team. Let’s look at what both numbers show.
The Blue Devils (21-8, 10-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) spent two weeks outside the rankings earlier this term — having dropped from The Associated Press Top 25 poll for the first time in more than eight years.
However, the defending champions have been very fruitful during those two weeks watching from the outside after beating Georgia Tech, North Carolina State, then-No. 13 Louisville and then-No. 7 Virginia during that period to go 4-0 in that spell.
On the other hand, though, the No. 15 ranked Duke has lost eight games overall as a ranked team this season, including five against unranked clubs.
The latest defeat came this weekend against Pittsburgh, just when the Blue Devils were beginning to turn things around.
Sunday’s defeat now sees the Blue Devils matching the most losses by a ranked Duke team through the month of February in program history.
Since working its way back into the rankings, coach Mike Krzyzewski Duke side has a 2-2 record, but has lost two of the last three games, which were both on the road.
Following Sunday’s defeat to Pitt, Krzyzewski said, “They were terrific… All their kids were locked in.
“They were superb. We were out of character.”
The Panthers have won three of the last four games and Krzyzewski believes they deserved the win against his side, which was sloppy with the ball and gave away 19 points off 16 offensive rebounds.
“If you get out-rebounded 39 to 20, you’re probably not going to win,” the Hall of Fame coach said.
“We think Pitt is an outstanding team.
“They did their thing. It’s not like it was a surprise, we couldn’t stop it.”
Duke, which closes out the season with two home fixtures, returns to action on Tuesday night against Wake Forest before entertaining No. 7 North Carolina on Saturday.
After losing to Pitt on Sunday, let’s see how far the defending champions will fall in the AP college basketball top 25 rankings this week.