Throughout much of this season, especially in the past up-and-down month, I’ve often referred to historic events in helping understand the angst-filled year for the Blue Devils.
Part of the reason stems from my appreciation for history, having received a Bachelor of Arts from St. Mary’s College in the subject.
A larger reason is to quell the dreadful feeling that has occurred from starting the 2010-11 campaign with the utmost confidence that a repeat was in store to the evolution of this team sans Kyrie Irving.
So, Duke lost to St. John’s on Sunday. Better yet, they got downright embarrassed in a 93-78 rout that was worse than the score indicated.
Another loss to another Big East team on its home floor. The crowd was in hysterics as St. John’s had its way with Duke.
Before the “Game over” sign can be put on the Blue Devils’ season, though, remember that it was exactly a year ago to the day that Duke was getting pounded by Georgetown and the analysis of the inevitable end of Duke-as-we-know-it followed.
Here’s the deal. I’m not sure if Duke will be able to duplicate the glorious run it had last season in overcoming questionable regular season losses to win its fourth NCAA title, but I do know the Blue Devils under Coach K have responded in due fashion when push came to shove.
Last season, Duke was in the midst of perplexing play in the ACC having lost to Georgia Tech and N.C. State and the Blue Devils were about to face the Yellow Jackets for a chance to exact revenge. But before facing the No. 19-ranked Yellow Jackets in front of the Cameron Crazies, the Blue Devils had to travel to Washington, D.C. and play in front of Barack Obama and the rest of the Hoya faithful.
Just as much as that was a trap game, the St. John’s match-up was even more so. Going on the road to face a non-conference bubble team, the Blue Devils needed to bring their A-plus game, considering the crowd at Madison Square Garden, which is typically Cameron North, was decidedly in favor of the Johnnies.
But just like last season when the thought of revenge against an ACC opponent could have played a large part on Duke overlooking Georgetown, the Blue Devils could just have been looking past the unranked Red Storm squad to a Wednesday meeting at conference foe Maryland.
While Nolan Smith said the guys “were ready” and “wanted to be here,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski had a much different opinion.
“I felt we were not ready to compete,” Krzyzewski said. “We had blank expressions on our faces and guys weren’t talking and that’s my responsibility. Our program didn’t do well today and that is all our responsibilities.”
Duke would ultimately end up crushing Georgia Tech last season to start an eight-game winning streak before losing to Maryland for its last loss of the year. We’ll see if the Blue Devils can repeat history.
And a title.
About the Author
Written by Chris Girandola
I currently write for the St. Petersburg Times, MLB.com, the Naples News, Demand Studios, LiveStrong, Fuel Football, Fuel Basketball and Fuel Football.