The last time Duke was an NCAA tournament without the Blue Devils, well, none of the current Blue Devils were born.
The season was 1994–95, and Duke was coming off a seventh Final Four appearance in nine years. There was still some talent – center Cherokee Park, guard Jeff Capell, freshman Trojan Langdon – but after a 9-3 start, coach Mike Krycziewski became too ill to continue the season and the team disbanded without him on the bench. The Blue Devils finished 2–14 and the year 13–18 in the ACC.
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Krazyज़ski became completely healthy the following season, and March Madness would not have happened without him. He has added three NCAA titles and five more final four appearances.
This year's Young Blue Devils, however, have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic that ended the exhibition games, limiting Kreiszewski's opportunity to play faith-building non-conference games at one point and Led. Postpone in spring.
They have struggled for an 11–10 overall record, but they have also been good enough on enough occasions to survive the pursuit of an NCAA berth.
Can Duke make NCAA tournament?
One could take an optimistic view and cite the fact that the Blue Devils also had to rally to at least be considered for a berth. He had a record of 7-8 after losing at home to Notre Dame on 9 February. March Madness was then more than a month away for Duke.
The Devils rallied with four consecutive wins, including victories over ACC title contenders Virginia and Syracuse, with another team fighting the Bubbles and climbing the NCAA bracket.
The schedule has cut them. He played effectively against both Louisville and Georgia Tech, but those teams also have March ambitions. Successive defeats in those games have catapulted Duke to a position where the traditional season-ending game against North Carolina on the road at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill is nothing short of a win.
If Duke fails to win that game, its only real avenue for an NCAA bid would be to win the ACC tournament next week in Greensboro.
Duke and ACC tournaments
The Blue Devils' advantage for automatic bidding for NCAAAS is the relative absence of elite teams in this year's ACC. The NET has only two league members in the top 25: Florida State at 13, Virginia at 21. In KenPom.com ratings, there are three in the top 30: FSU at No. 9, Virginia at No. 15 and Georgia Tech at No. 30.
The Devils have a 2–1 record against those teams, although they have yet to face the league's major semi-finals.
It may happen soon. Even with a win against North Carolina, it is not possible for Duke to pull out of the 8-9 matchup in the ACC tournament, which will feed in a quarter-final game against the regular-season champions. If FSU wins on the road over Notre Dame, the Seminoles receive the No. 1 ACC tournament seed. If they lose and Virginia defeats Louisville, it will be the Cavaliers in the top spot.
Duke's remaining show
The biggest rivalry in American sports – North Carolina vs. Duke – is not enjoying one of its typically glamorous seasons. In some ways, however, the stakes are higher than ever.
In the four decades Krejiewski has been the coach, Duke has never been an NCAA bubble team. Its lowest March Madness seed was in 1996, a No. 8 seed. Now, in a game that traditionally ends the regular season for both teams, the Tar Heels and Blue Devils will play on ESPN at 6pm on Saturday.
There is no doubt that the network will feel this as an opportunity.
Power of duke's victory
Duke is 2-4 against Quad 1 opponents, with the win coming against No. 21 Virginia at home and No. 64 N.C. State on the road. The Blue Devils earned home wins in a possible NCAA tournament bout against Clemson and Georgia Tech.
Duke's weak spots
Duke lost two games against opponents that are under No. 500 for the season, No. 88 Notre Dame and No. 165 Miami. At least in discussion there are some teams with defeats against a team rated as Harmonies.
Duke also lost on the road to the .500 Pitt team, which is ranked 89th in net.
Duke's KenPom, RPI, SOS and Quadrants
– KenPom: Duke is number 38 in the latest KenPom Ranking.
– RPI: Duke is at number 124 in latest RPI Standings.
– Strength of schedule: Duke has number 48 Latest sos ranking And 74 in the record number.
– Quadrangular: Duke is 2-4 inches. Quadrant 1 game, 6-8 against Quad 1 and 2 combined. The Devils have suffered two losses in Quad 3.
How Duke Makes March Madness
It begins with a road win against North Carolina, which would represent the Devils' third Quad 1 win of the season. The first ACC tournament game will likely be against the Tar Heels again or Syracuse, and either provides another quality win opportunity.
However, it's hard to imagine the Blue Devils then closing the bubble without winning at least a quarterfinal matchup against Florida State or Virginia. If they were able to win so, there would be no reason to believe that they were unable to win twice more and still keep the subjective discussion away from the selection committee.
But three consecutive wins – Carolina, Carolina or Syracuse and prospect Florida State – followed by the ACC semi-final defeat would leave Duke at 14-11, perhaps 4-5 points against Quad 1.
Do you think they are leaving Coach K if he hits those numbers?
Do not bet home on it.