Duke hasn’t lost a non-conference game at home since all the way back in 2000, which St. John’s nipped them 83-82.
That almost changed on Sunday night, as the Blue Devils came about as close as you can come to losing without actually doing it.
They beat 1-5 Vermont 91-90, but it wasn’t that simple. The Catamounts had the ball with five seconds left and a chance to win the game, but they were unable to get a shot off at the rim. They shot 64.8% from the floor and made 21 of their 24 shots around the rim.
The performance exposed a number of flaws for the Blue Devils, not the least of which is their horrid perimeter defending and their utter lack of a rim protector.
“This was an unacceptable performance,” a somber Mike Krzyzewski said. “We were lucky to win.”
Rodney Hood took it one step further.
“To me, it feels like a loss,” he said.
Most upsetting to Krzyzewski was the fact that his team didn’t respect the Catamounts (1-5) or the game, thinking they could just show up and win. That’s something he has rarely felt about any of his Duke teams, but that’s how he felt tonight about his No. 6 Blue Devils (5-1)
“You’re going to have questions, and you’re going to pick different parts of the game, and I’m going to just tell you we were awful,” he said. “And you’re going to say, what are we going to do to correct that, and I’m going to say, we’re going to try not to be awful.”
With all due respect to Vermont, Coach K is right. That team, the one with three potential first round picks and a roster full of top 50 recruits, has no business struggling to beat Vermont. They just don’t.
With matchups against Arizona and UCLA coming up in the coming weeks, the Blue Devils are going to have to find a way to be able to defend better. Otherwise, they are going to get drubbed.