With every game that goes by and Duke are once again exposed as a decent team with a very talented freshman and nothing more it makes a mockery of the various polls and rankings that still consider the Blue Devils as one of the best teams in the nation. If it wasn’t clear already, the loss to Clemson might have finished the job.
Duke lost 59-72 to the Tigers in Littlejohn Coliseum. They looked awful under the glass, on defense, and at some point like a bunch of guys who have given up, losing by 19 points in the second half, giving up 41. Clemson outscored the visitors 13-2 in the final six minutes of the game.
So Duke, #16 going into the game, might find themselves out of the Top 25. They’ve lost to Notre Dame when they opened ACC play, not to mention losing to every other serious rival except Michigan (who turns out aren’t that good) they’ve met along the way. It’s been 126 consecutive weeks of Duke in the top 25, the longest active streak in the nation. Despite having a legend for a head coach, it’s not enough to deserve being regarded as an elite team this season from what we’ve seen from them on the floor.
At 12-4, this is the first time since the 1996-1997 season that Duke have lost four games out of their first 16. They still finished first in the conference that year so it’s a bit too early to count them out, but there’s no doubt that the early season hype wasn’t merited. This little tidbit might help clear the air: It’s the first time Duke and North Carolina both lost conference games on the same day since January 20th, 2010. Duke then went on a 20-2 run to end the season and won the championship that year.
We’re not some powerhouse. We need to get a lot better. Simple, but very true.
And there was also the Clemson factor in this game, getting hot in the second half and punishing Duke for every double team that left Jaron Blossomgame or K.J. McDaniels open. McDaniels finished the game scoring 24 points, with Blossomgame following with 14, including two big 3’s in the second half that helped Clemson take the lead for good.
Clemson had no problem getting on the offensive glass, finishing with 14 offensive rebounds and getting to the line 30 times, twice more than Duke who were simply overwhelmed by the rising energy levels and aggression coming off the Clemson players, who kept pushing to the paint and when open men waited outside no one was too selfish to ignore them.
Jabari Parker finished the game scoring 15 points and grabbing 7 rebounds, but like the rest of his teammates was nowhere to be found in the second half. Quinn Cook was awful with 3-of-14 from the field and for some reason someone allowed Andre Dawkins to shoot 7 times, hitting only one shot.
There’s more talent on this Duke team than on the Clemson team that beat them, but as long as they ignore the attempts of making them into an actual team and not a bunch of talented individuals, this season will be remembered for being one big waste and not something to be celebrated and remembered.