Though semi-expected, a top spot in 2013 is remarkably baffling, considering these damning facts:
- Duke did not win the regular season ACC title. (The conference is barely Top 5 in America; many would say lower.)
- Duke fell quietly in round one of the conference tourney to a non-tourney team with a sub-.500 conference record (their second loss to inexperienced Maryland in four weeks).
- Duke did not beat a ranked team on the road all season.
- Duke beat just ONE ranked team in the past 110 days.
And within this spectacle, the Blue Devils establish a terrible precedent for college basketball:
- Have your veteran-laden team schedule any and all “tough” games the first two weeks of the season.
- Play NONE in a true road setting.
- Schedule only home games in December against inferior schools.
- Win your conference home games — but lose half those ACC road games.
This is truly historic.
Even at 27-5 — with three of those losses occurring in the past 30 days against teams not in the Field of 68 — you’d think this team would be a three seed, two at best, but Duke is Duke.
After rolling to the Big 12 title, Kansas has every argument (overall record, strong end of season, quality road wins, tough conference, conference tourney title, et al) in their favor to EARN a top seed over a team that never left the Eastern Seaboard all season.
It remains troubling that top teams from equal-to-better conferences than the ACC cannot pull the annual Duke coup because their alumni don’t work at ESPN or CBS and thus avoid these unfortunate truths, and instead promote cliches (that losing your third-leading scorer for eight weeks is akin to Miami losing LeBron James) and myths (Duke is the only great team in America) about Coach K’s kids every night.
Allegedly there are sentient people at Duke University, but what the school’s Athletic Department did this basketball season was sheer genius.
That established, and Duke’s ultimate seed notwithstanding, Blue Devil fans should be wise enough to realize this is a scam. And though an epic choke job like last season may not occur again, they should be unsurprised when their one-dimensional and flawed team fails to advance past the sweet 16 for the eighth time in nine seasons.