It’s hard to know who would be the most hated college basketball team in the nation if Duke weren’t around. Probably Kentucky, although in their case, a lot of it has to do with their coach and his one and done philosophy, not just the program itself.
Duke have now lost seven times this season, including five in the ACC, not as strong as it used to be. For some reason they’re still #4 in the country despite not having too many quality wins, but it seems like this win by Wake Forest is going to be the final nail in the coffin that is Duke’s bid for a number one seed in the NCAA tournament.
Why not number 1? Unless they win the ACC tournament and even that might not be enough, it’s hard seeing them joining Kansas, Arizona and Florida. They have wins over Michigan (at home), Virginia, UCLA (neutral) and Syracuse, but that’s a lot less impressive than some other teams aiming for that top spot have to offer, not to mention their losses to Clemson, Wake, Notre Dame and also against Arizona and Kansas earlier in the season.
Wisconsin have losses to Minnesota, Northwestern and Indiana, but have beaten Florida, Saint Louis, Virginia (on the road), Michigan (on the road), Michigan State and a double on a good Iowa team. Villanova, despite playing in a weak Big East, have only three losses this season: Two to Creighton and one to Syracuse. They’ve also beaten Kansas and Iowa in neutral arenas. Virginia, Michigan and Syracuse seem like worthier choices of a number 2 seed as well, and that’s before mentioning Wichita State.
As long as Duke don’t fall below a number 4 seed (and a loss at home to North Carolina and a bad conference tournament might spark that kind of drop), they should be fine avoiding one of the “elite” teams the sport has to offer this season, but it’s just hard seeing this group built around the favorite now to be picked number one in the draft, Jabari Parker, doing something special in the tournament.