Last night, the Duke Blue Devils defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes in an ACC-Big Ten Challenge matchup 73-68, moving to 7-0 on the season, with three of those victories coming against teams that have been ranked among the top five in the nation. It is because of their early season success against such a powerful schedule that Duke can lay claim to being the best team in college basketball for now.
Notice those two little words at the end of that sentence, Indiana Hoosiers fans: “for now.” I am not saying the Blue Devils are hands-down the best team in basketball because Indiana would obviously give them a run for their money if they had to face off against each other. But considering who the Hoosiers have played by comparison, there is no arguing the fact that the Blue Devils have been the better team because they have faced a far more difficult schedule than the Hoosiers have. Sam Houston State? Bryant University? Ball State? Yes, you thrashed North Carolina really good, but there’s a reason that squad is barely a top 15 team so far this year.
Duke has taken down the then third-ranked defending national champion Kentucky Wildcats, then second-ranked Louisville Cardinals and now the fourth-ranked Buckeyes. The Blue Devils have taken on an extremely difficult early season schedule and have risen to each successive challenge with the power, resolve and dedication of a potential champion. No other team can say they have faced as difficult a schedule as Duke has, let alone demonstrate the sort of success the Blue Devils have had to this point.
At this stage of the season, Duke is the more impressive team and deserves to be #1 when next week’s polls come out. Maybe these two will get to meet for the NCAA Championship, however, and prove once and for all whose squad is truly the best.