The Duke Blue Devils were one of the teams from the ACC that everyone assumed at the beginning of the 2013-14 college basketball season had a chance at winning not only the ACC, but the National Championship as well. Duke struggled through non-conference play, but were expected to kick things into gear as conference play began. Unfortunately, the Blue Devils are 1-2 in the ACC after falling to the Clemson Tigers.
Clemson trailed Duke by six at the half, but their offense exploded in the second half and their defense stepped it up, as the Tigers scored 41 points and held the Blue Devils to just 22. The only highlights for Duke were the play of Jabari Parker, who had 15 points and seven rebounds, and Rodney Hood, who had 20 points, en route to a 72-59 loss.
Foul troubles hindered Duke in their loss to Clemson, but that is no excuse for a team that is favored to finish in the top two of the conference falling to the team selected by the media in the preseason poll to finish 13th. The Blue Devils are not even playing like a team that could make it to the 2014 NCAA Tournament at this point and, when you take a look at their schedule, might not make it.
Duke is 12-4, which isn’t too bad of a record this far into the season, but the Blue Devils have no marquee wins. Their best wins all season were against the UCLA Bruins and the under-performing Michigan Wolverines. While two of their losses came against strong teams like the Kansas Jayhawks and Arizona Wildcats, their other two losses came to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and now Clemson, who aren’t expected to make the tournament.
The ACC is turning out to be one of the weakest conferences in college basketball. If Duke doesn’t start producing soon, they could find themselves on the outside looking into the 2014 NCAA Tournament.