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.