The running joke is that Duke always gets a home game in the NCAA tournament. Yeah, technically they’ve gotta go somewhere like Winston-Salem or Charlotte, but it’s always passed off as a “neutral site” game that just so happens to be in North Carolina.
Perhaps the college basketball Gods are smiling upon us, because Duke is not even in the top 25 right now. They recently dropped below .500 for the first time since 1999 and currently find themselves at 7-8 overall and 10th place in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Joining the Dukies as mediocre teams this year are North Carolina (12-6), Kansas (13-7), Michigan State (10-7), and Kentucky (5-13), all of whom collectively dropped out of the top 25 for the first time since 1961, when Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human being to fly in space.
Here’s a great stat from ESPN:
Both Duke (7-8) & Kentucky (6-12) are under .500 this season. The last time both Duke and UK had losing records at the same time was the morning of March 4, 1974.
Kentucky lost on March 2, 1974 to drop to 12-13 & Duke lost on March 2, 1974 to drop to 10-15 pic.twitter.com/2TQldeogCw
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 10, 2021
Leading the Power Five conferences right now are Baylor, Bama, USC, Michigan, and UVA, which is how we all drew it up, right? It’s been a fresh and funky college basketball season, with the traditional powers struggling to keep up. That’s great for neutrals, or people who are just bored of watching the same teams in the top tier for so many years.
But back to Duke for a second –
Is it possible that they miss out on March Madness? Yes, it’s absolutely possible. Right now they are 7-8 and riding a three-game losing streak. They still have to play four teams currently ahead of them in the conference standings and get Wake Forest and NC State on the road. Their best W is a home victory over a 12-5 Clemson team and there are no marquee wins on their resume.
At Joe Lunardi’s bracketology, Duke is not even on the bubble. They are firmly OUT of the picture with Kentucky and Michigan State while Kansas is listed as a six seed and UNC as a ten.
If this post sounds petty or vindictive, then good. That was the point. Duke always gets preferential treatment and they’ve got a lot of Dallas Cowboy-esque bandwagon fans, so it will be nice to see them miss the tournament this year. Somebody check on Dick Vitale and make sure he’s alright.