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Jan. 30, 2006

Duke still on top of the NCAA

by Payal Patnaik, Online Editor-in-Chief
Those ol' coaches have a soft corner for tradition and their favorites. Duke, despite their startling defeat against Georgetown, was ranked second in both the AP and ESPN polls released last Monday after receiving 10 first place votes. UConn, with only one loss in the season, was ranked number one this week with 19 votes. And in the coach's poll, the Blue Devils were only three points behind the Huskies. Georgetown captured the rank of 21 in the NCAA in the AP poll, but remained unranked in ESPN's.

Will the NCAA gurus completely forgive Duke this week in time for the release of the standings? After all, the Blue Devils had an undefeated season and were sitting comfortably in the top spot until being ravaged by the unranked Georgetown Hoyas last week. Then, they were ungraciously unseated from their throne to number two and UConn was installed in their place.
Duke's JJ Redick in a game against Maryland.
Duke's JJ Redick in a game against Maryland.

Georgetown head coach John Thompson III claims that Georgetown was just "lucky." J.J. Redick had a stunning game, scoring a career high 41 points. What does this prove? Duke has its moments when they focus and still lose everything.

The team that has been immortalized in basketball history as a formidable opponent to many is simply mortal. They have a good, experienced coach. They have experience, talent, discipline and heart. But, as with any team in college ball, they are only kids, and kids can lose their focus. Every team has its inconsistencies and every team reaps its punishment.

Flash back two years to the ACC championship game between Maryland and Duke, when Maryland stepped up and beat Duke out of sheer determination and friendly competition. Duke, which was predicted to win, had been enjoying a winning season as usual with a dependable team, while Maryland had been struggling with a fledgling team. But Redick's shots weren't going in and guard Chris Duhon's efforts were not good enough…and Maryland won. Duke, for some reason, is outperformed by other teams that take them by surprise.

That same shoddiness is attributed to the Georgetown game. Since Georgetown emerged victorious, more coaches and critics should at least reevaluate their belief that Duke is immortal. They were almost beaten by Virginia Tech, but Sean Dockery's desperate shot in the last second sealed a victory.

Everyone wants to know: how far will Duke go in March? Boston College and Illinois were undefeated around this time last season. But only Illinois actually made it to the final round of the NCAA, falling to North Carolina in the championship game. This may foreshadow this year's playoffs, since Duke once again has a strong squad and a strong record, but the season is still taking shaping out.

Georgetown is on a roll. They're on a four game winning streak, emboldened by the win against the previously top-ranked Duke. The Blue Devils have proved that they cannot always beat those "lower" teams. Every team has a chance, and the win against Duke proved just that. West Virginia was close, yet never finished the job. Georgetown finished the job and lived to tell the tale. Oh yes, it is a fairy tale for a Cinderella team that may stock up a few more wins. Being beaten by an unranked team! It is a disgrace for a team of Duke's caliber. But how many will take that into account as they hail the number one team for next week? I'd say very few. Duke is still the team to beat in the NCAA.



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  • baller on January 30, 2006 at 6:18 PM
    Duke has a "good, experienced coach?" Only that??? Coach K is one of the best coaches in the history of college basketball, if not the best. His teams are ranked in the top 10 every year and he has many NCAA Championships, and a unbelievable winning percentage. Duke is superior to every team in college basketball, but they are human. Georgetown shot over 60 percent from the field. Any team can be beaten if they shoot 60%. Duke is better than UConn and every other team in the NCAA. Redick is the best player in college and Sheldon Wiliams is one of the premier centers. Also, Duke just got back stellar shooting guard DeMarcus Nelson from an injury and he is a substantial scorer. Duke should wn the NCAA tiele.
  • Maryland lover on January 30, 2006 at 6:25 PM
    The title should most certainly be changed to "Maryland rising to the top of the ACC"
    Thank you. No further questions.
  • arent we forgetting on January 30, 2006 at 7:00 PM
    UCONN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    also, maryland is better just because
  • Meer on January 30, 2006 at 7:52 PM
    "Being beaten by an unranked team! It is a disgrace for a team of Duke's caliber."

    Not really. Teams hardly ever go through an entire season undefeated in college basketball. As you said, teams have their offnights. If you're going to argue that Duke is still the team to beat in the NCAA, how about the fact that they beat a top-10 team (Texas) by 33? Or that they have the most difficult strength of schedule in the nation and still have just one loss? Not only is Duke still the team to beat, it is disgraceful that they were removed from the top spot in the coaches' poll, considering they had a unanimous hold on it prior to the Georgetown loss.

    In essence, I think it's unfair to set up this article by shooting down Duke's credentials and then saying they are the team to beat at the very end. Give them credit; all bitter Terps fans must realize that Duke is by far the class of the ACC this year.
  • upset special on January 30, 2006 at 8:04 PM
    Duke is all right. Have you seen uconn play this year? thier team knows how to play both sides of the ball and they don't rely on one guy (J.J. Redick) to do everything for them. No way duke is better than them. Uconn averages more than 9 blocked shots per game, thats insane. Also the big east is better than the acc.
  • holla holla on January 30, 2006 at 8:29 PM
    g-town owns duke. period. and i think we need to start an "i hate jj redick" club
  • sean on January 30, 2006 at 8:49 PM
    Duke has an inside presence, and it's about time they take it past the Elite Eight; there's no excuse not to with talent like that.
  • R.C. (View Email) on January 31, 2006 at 9:38 AM
    Your Duke article is silly!

    Theres no disgrace to lose a game, especially when the opponent is a team rising.

    Duke has two huge problems, how to get the multi-talented McRoberts, in a position where
    he can score.

    Second to get Paulus to think like a college point guard instead of a high school one.
  • Evan Perkins (View Email) on January 31, 2006 at 12:14 PM
    Do not forget that the team some say better than duke- uconn was absolutely owned by marquette who i believe is not ranked...
  • BILL (View Email) on January 31, 2006 at 2:58 PM
    Everybody loses but you can bet your ass that Duke will be ready to play come tourn. time. It's easy to point out problems for a team you dislike.
  • heh? on February 6, 2006 at 10:11 PM
    y r there just random articles about college bball? shouldnt it at least b about UMD?
  • DUKE RULES (View Email) on February 27, 2006 at 4:46 PM
    Duke University is the best team in the NCAA. They have ONE loss despite having the toughest schedule. DUKE IS UNBELIEVABLE. UConn, UNC, Maryland all SUCK. Duke will win the title. If not, teams can screw up. They still will reign the best team and in history, the best school ever!
  • DUKE RULES (View Email) on February 27, 2006 at 4:48 PM
    DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE
    DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE
  • nate on March 16, 2006 at 12:46 PM
    jjj redick rocks put him in the nba hell show ya big boys haw to play ball
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