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Duke lost, but don’t go getting all panicked just yet

Feb 28, 2013, 11:52 PM EDT

Duke v Virginia Getty Images

Sometimes, over-analyzation isn’t necessary.

Sometimes, a loss is just a loss, and that’s the end of it.

Sometimes, looking for a deeper meaning won’t get you anywhere.

And that’s exactly the case with Duke tonight, after the No. 3 Blue Devils lost to Virginia 73-68 in Charlottesville on Thursday night.

The Cavaliers had their backs against the wall, needing this win to firm up a still-questionable NCAA tournament resume. Virginia got a career-high 36 out of Larry Bird — err, I mean Joe Harris — and Akil Mitchell went for 19 points and 12 boards. Tony Bennett’s club jumped all over the Blue Devils early, getting their crowd into the game, and carried that momentum to their biggest win of the season.

We’ve already determined that there are no great teams this season.

We already know that any team in the country can get dropped when they go on the road. According to ESPN’s broadcast, this was the 19th time this season that a top five team has lost to an unranked opponent this season.

And we know that Duke isn’t the same team without Ryan Kelly on the roster.

Is it concerning that Mason Plumlee once again had a no-show performance? Clearly. He’s such an important piece on this team, he simply cannot afford to disappear for 40 minutes on the road. Ask Maryland, they know what can happen when Plumlee does that. Should Blue Devil fans be concerned about Rasheed Sulaimon’s off-night? Ehh, probably not. He’s a freshman and he’s played great this season. He’s allowed an off-night.

The only real takeaway from this game is that Duke doesn’t exactly look like they are peaking heading into their showdown — and rematch — with first-place Miami on Saturday in Cameron.

If they lose to the Hurricanes, then maybe we can start getting concerned.

But UVA is a better team than their record. Duke without Kelly is not as good as their ranking. Losing on the road happens.

So how should we feel about Duke’s loss?


You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

  1. jpopejoy - Mar 1, 2013 at 12:17 AM

    “Sometimes a loss is just a loss”…if you’re duke. If you’re anyone else it’s a HUGE deal and cause for concern…aka IU Tuesday…or MSU last week.

    • florida727 - Mar 1, 2013 at 11:48 AM

      …or Florida at Tennessee.

  2. mazblast - Mar 1, 2013 at 12:47 AM

    Wow, that was a lot of rationalizations in a short article.

    I think what you’re trying to say is, “Because they’re Duke, they’ll get an undeserved high seed regardless of overall or recent performance, so it’s nothing to worry about or celebrate.”

  3. thebadguyswon - Mar 1, 2013 at 12:52 AM

    No mention of the horrendous officiating, eh?

    Either way they are going to kick the bejezzus out of the Future Felons ….er Miami this weekend.

    • rohanjammer - Mar 1, 2013 at 11:21 AM

      Miami is a model program. Those young men should be praised for their high character, not called future felons. Racist much?

      • thebadguyswon - Mar 1, 2013 at 11:38 AM

        Screw Miami

      • thebadguyswon - Mar 1, 2013 at 11:54 AM

        Miami has a rich tradition of having athletes end up in legal trouble.

      • florida727 - Mar 1, 2013 at 11:54 AM

        Why can’t you just root for your own team and leave the others alone? Does it make you feel like a man to put someone else down, while hiding behind a computer keyboard? Maybe I’m the “slow” one here. I just never understood why you can’t back your own team and leave it at that. Do I want Florida to beat the snot out of Kentucky next Saturday? Absolutely. But when tournament time rolls around, I’m hoping Kentucky makes a nice run… as long as it doesn’t go through Florida on the way there.

      • thebadguyswon - Mar 1, 2013 at 11:57 AM

        Its a blog man. Don’t take it so seriously. I don’t really “hate” the Miami team or really, honestly believe they are all ending up in jail.

  4. gotampabay52 - Mar 1, 2013 at 7:36 AM

    No way go Canes this is why people hate on us cause we win the big games this year

  5. flybirdhaters27 - Mar 1, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    @badguys, your comment about the officiating and Miami are laughable. Larranaga is a hell of a coach and runs a clean progam with good kids. The football program on the other hand, yes there have been some bad apples especially under Larry Coker and Butch Davis amongst others. However, if you think the officiating was bad in that game, you clearly haven’t watched Duke basketball over the last 20 years or so. They get every call, the refs are constantly in their pocket and the amount of flopping they do is ridiculous. Not to mention Coach K should have been teed up last night, but he gets a pass because of his program and stature. I guess the officials missed that one too?

    • thebadguyswon - Mar 1, 2013 at 3:43 PM

      Perhaps Duke has had favoritism.

      But last night was horrible officiating. Anyone could see that. Virginia outplayed them anyway, but the zebras were horrible too.

  6. jpopejoy - Mar 1, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    Umm. It’s called ribbing people. And how on earth can a florida fan root for Kentucky and cheater cal?

    • thebadguyswon - Mar 1, 2013 at 3:19 PM

      Thank you for getting it. Jesus people.

    • florida727 - Mar 1, 2013 at 3:22 PM

      Well, for starters, one of my best friends is a UK grad. Secondly, they’re still an SEC team, so when they’re not playing us, yeah, I’m rooting for the conference teams to do well. Also explains why I was hoping Alabama would beat the crap out of Notre Dame.

      Will share what I think is a funny story: SEC Tournament in Atlanta, we get on MARTA going from our hotel downtown to the Georgia Dome for the games. As soon as we get on, UK fans start chanting, “Walsh is gay.” Obviously a reference to Matt Walsh. I met my friend inside the Dome and told him what happened on the way. He, of course, agreed, saying, yeah, well, he probably is. I pointed to a girl a few feet away and told him that’s Walsh’s girlfriend. Former Playboy Playmate. He stopped talking. Florida won the SEC title that year.

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