Despite Unrealistic Expectations, Duke Blue Devils Continue To Thrive

By Brian Lester
Jim O’ Connor – USA TODAY Sports Images

When you think about Duke basketball, you think about winning.

The Blue Devils have been long been a marquee team in the Atlantic Coast Conference and have won four national championships, the most recent in 2010.

So when they rolled over Temple Saturday afternoon the Izod Center, thumping the Owls 90-67, it’s looked at as a game where no one is surprised by the outcome.

The No. 2 team in the country is expected to win big games, be it in the regular season or postseason, and the win over the Owls pushed the Blue Devils to 9-0.

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski made an interesting point after the game in regards to the perfect start and the sky-high expectations that come with the territory of being one of the top teams in the nation year in and year out.

“I have dealt with unrealistic expectations since 1986. I deal with them every summer with the U.S. team,” Krzyzewski said in a post-game press conference. “It’s a good place to be. I’d rather have people expect something of you than not expect something good of you.”

On Saturday, the Blue Devils lived up to those expectations one more time. Seth Curry dropped in 23 points while Mason Plumlee scored 16 points and grabbed 14 rebounds.

Ryan Kelly clicked for 14 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. Quinn Cook drilled three treys to punctuate his 14-point performance.

Duke shot 47.5 percent from the floor and limited the Owls to 39.7 percent shooting.

In the end it was another solid team effort by the Blue Devils. In the end, it was another win for a team that is looking more and more like a contender for the national title.

But don’t expect Duke to be perfect this season. That would be the ultimate unrealistic expectation.

“We’re a beatable team,” Krzyzewski said in a post-game press conference. “We just haven’t been beat yet. With our conference we’ll be tested a lot.”

More often than not, though, the Blue Devils will survive those tests.

Brian Lester is a featured Big Ten columnist and college basketball writer for Rant Sports. He is a member of the United States Basketball Writers Association as well.

Follow him on Twitter @BLester1993 or send him an email at

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