Annual Duke Coup Underway?

“Certainly Duke is Duke…” (Coach Pete Gillen, 1997)

And 17 years later, not much has changed in the college hoops landscape.

Coach KWith another loss by a rapidly-fading Syracuse team, along with Kansas and Creighton falling Saturday on the road, Duke backed into a No.1 seed today in some bracket projections. The Blue Devils also somehow soared to No. 4 in today’s new Top 25 poll, though they remain eighth in RPI.

While the aforementioned schools were playing in hostile environments, Duke was off all weekend — recuperating from a home win over last-place Virginia Tech and preparing for 12th place Wake Forest Wednesday. It’s a rough life in the ACC.

But when was the last time a six-loss team tied for third place in a mediocre league (containing more bad teams than any major conference in America), with nary a good road win (just four total all season! By contrast, potential one seeds: Wichita State has 12; Florida 10; Arizona seven – including a neutral win over the Blue Devils before a partisan Duke crowd)received a No. 1 seed? One could make a better argument for a three seed actually.

It’s thus irritating that I must scribe this type of column every year, but an obsequious media, bounces of the ball and much else make it sadly necessary.

I wrote two similar ones in 2013, though Duke thankfully choked down the stretch and received a two seed. The Blue Devils proceeded one round farther than usual in March Madness, but still missed the final four for the ninth time in 10 seasons, though they did advance past the sweet 16 for only the third time in a decade.

Like every year, the Blue Devils positioned themselves well by cleverly scheduling any “tough” opponents in November and December in order to escape with wins against bottom-feeders in January and February, while avoiding too many slip-ups (other than bad losses to non-tourney Clemson and Notre Dame, while somehow avoiding a road game at conference champ Virginia). Those are things you cannot do in the Big Ten, Big East, Big 12, Pac-12, Mountain West or Atlantic 10.

In a world where it’s easier to call names than debate facts, I repeat I am not a Duke hater. I admire Coach K as a person and leader. And compared to the type of player many top teams recruit, Duke has a roster of upstanding young men.

However, that does not excuse the fact that for the fifth year in a row the Blue Devils will likely receive credit they haven’t earned, and we all know darn well why.

And if Duke isn’t a one seed at this juncture, 13 days from Selection Sunday, who will be? Syracuse, despite losing three of four (and easily six in a row), and failing to win the subpar ACC?

Reward teams who schedule tough, including non-conference road games, and play in the best conferences. Period. I know ESPN isn’t listening, but maybe the Selection Committee will.

About AJ Kaufman

A former schoolteacher and military historian, A.J. now works in public relations. As an MSF columnist since 2009, he supports anything baseball-related. Raised in San Diego, A.J. has since resided in numerous parts of America, including Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, Ohio and Washington State. After departing the coasts in 2005, he's traveled the back roads of all 50 states and prefers the Heartland. Married to Maria, A.J. is the author of three books and enjoys reading presidential biographies.


  1. Kurt Crowley says:

    That is going to be an awfully long road trip to their second/third round games, 21.5 miles as the crow flies?

    Badgers better get to play in Milwaukee.

    • AJ Kaufman says:

      Like I said, it’s all a set up for teams like Duke — every year. Amazingly, they rarely deliver. Wisconsin earned it. They play (and succeed) in a brutal conference nearly every contest. Duke and Syracuse play Wake Forest/BC/Virginia Tech/Georgia Tech and others who couldn’t finish in the top half of the Missouri Valley.

      • Kurt Crowley says:

        Wisconsin 48, Virginia 38 – In Charlottesville, beat the regular season champ of conference with mighty Duke/Syracuse/North Carolina

        • AJ Kaufman says:

          Exactly. Just watching ACC basketball — even “mighty” Duke/Syracuse — you see a significant decrease in talent level from Big 10 or 12. Blatantly obvious to anyone with some hoops knowledge. But we have a national media dedicated to obscuring that. Too much at stake. Duke/Cuse/UVA would have 6-7 losses minimum in the Big 10 or 12 this year.

  2. Looking at most of the MSM sports prognosticators – Kansas is first in line for that 4th #1 seed, even though they have seven losses. This is due to the fact that they are the RPI #1, and have played far-and-away the most difficult schedule in the country with many top wins. I wouldn’t take too much stock in anyone granting Duke #1 seed status right now….although if they win out, including the ACC tourney (taking out two between Syracuse, UNC, and Virginia in the process) and the other contenders lose a game between now and Selection Sunday; we could be singing a different tune.

    • AJ Kaufman says:

      If KU wins the Big 12 tourney, they merit a one seed. I do not think the ACC conference winner deserves a one seed, even if KU doesn’t win the Big 12. There are other teams who’ve actually played tough schedules, including Villnova/Creighton BE winner. And I doubt Duke will have to even play both UVA and Cuse. One will lose early. Always happens. The weight the committee puts on the (absolutely silly and should not exist) conference tourneys varies every year, which is another problem.

  3. The MSM is giving Duke’s Campus Intramural Tourney team the 6 seed in the east too.

  4. Hi All,
    a unfettered music finder seeking the caboodle largely you do. expectancy more than 500.000 music stationery, articles and tracks from your remarkable collection.

    Subscribe pro on-demand access to 35 million songs and offline listening music

  5. At this time I am ready to do my breakfast,
    afterward having my breakfast coming yet again to read additional news.

  6. It’s really a nice and useful piece of information. I am satisfied that you
    just shared this helpful info with us. Please stay us informed like this.
    Thanks for sharing.

  7. hello!,I like your writing so a lot! percentage we keep in touch extra approximately your post on AOL?

    I require an expert in this house to resolve my problem.
    Maybe that’s you! Taking a look ahead to look you.

  8. Undeniably believe that which you stated. Your
    favorite reason seemed to be on the web the easiest thing to be aware of.

    I say to you, I definitely get annoyed while people consider worries
    that they just do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people could
    take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

  9. Hello there, I found your web site via Google while looking for a comparable topic,
    your site came up, it looks good. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

    Hi there, just changed into alert to your blog thru
    Google, and located that it is truly informative. I am gonna be careful
    for brussels. I will be grateful for those who proceed this
    in future. A lot of folks will probably be benefited out of your writing.

  10. Its such as you read my thoughts! You appear to grasp so
    much approximately this, such as you wrote the ebook in it or something.
    I believe that you just could do with some percent to pressure the message home a bit, but other than that, that is great
    blog. A great read. I’ll certainly be back.

  11. If some one desires to be updated with most up-to-date technologies after that he must be go
    to see this web page and be up to date everyday.

  12. Heya i am for the first time here. I found this board
    and I find It really useful & it helped me out a lot. I hope to give
    something back and aid others like you aided me.

  13. Thanks for sharing such a nice idea, paragraph is fastidious, thats why i have read it fully

  14. WOW just what I was searching for. Came here by searching for credit card debt

  15. Great article.

  16. Greetings! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I really enjoy reading through your posts.
    Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with
    the same subjects? Thanks for your time!

  17. This paragraph is genuinely a good one it assists new the web users, who are wishing in favor of blogging.

  18. I was reading some of your blog posts on this
    internet site and I think this internet site is really informative!
    Retain putting up.

  19. What’s up, after reading this remarkable post i am as well delighted to share my familiarity
    here with mates.

  20. No matter if some one searches for his required thing, so he/she desires
    to be available that in detail, thus that thing is maintained over here.

  21. Hello, I think your site might be having
    browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog in Safari,
    it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping.
    I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, wonderful blog!

  22. It’s fantastic that you are getting thoughts from this piece of writing as well as from
    our dialogue made here.

  23. Awesome article.

  24. Heya are using WordPress for your site platform?
    I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and create my own. Do
    you require any html coding expertise to make your own blog?
    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  25. Your method of telling everything in this article is truly good, every one
    can without difficulty be aware of it, Thanks a lot.

  26. Wow! This blog looks just like my old one! It’s on a entirely different topic but it has
    pretty much the same layout and design. Outstanding choice of colors!

  27. If you desire to increase your know-how simply keep visiting this site and be
    updated with the latest gossip posted here.

  28. After I originally commented I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new
    comments are added- checkbox and now every time a comment is added
    I recieve 4 emails with the exact same comment.
    Perhaps there is a way you are able to remove me from that service?
    Thanks a lot!

  29. Wow, amazing blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
    you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your site is great, let alone the

  30. Actually no matter if someone doesn’t understand then its up to other viewers that
    they will help, so here it happens.

Speak Your Mind