The Duke Blue Devils were hoping to keep their impressive legacy as a basketball school alive when they entered this season. However, a season with COVID-19 has presented a lot of challenges for what were historically the best schools.
Coaches got lesser preparation time, something that handicapped many teams that rely on freshmen. Two of these teams are the Kentucky Wildcats and the Duke Blue Devils. While we have seen Kentucky match their fair share of historic lows, their rivals in Duke seem to be catching up really quick.
Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski has been criticizing the NCAA all season long for continuing the season, despite COVID-19 concerns. Duke’s women’s team already canceled their season. However, the men’s team are yet to announce anything of that nature and have played all their games so far. They have seen infrequent stints in the AP Top 25 Poll, but they seem well on their way out of contention.
At this point, Duke should ask what can go right. Their season has been quite surprising. Their highly recruited freshmen that came in have been underperforming. While that isn’t necessarily their fault, as they never got a chance to really learn Coach K’s system, this is historically bad.
However, the fact that Kentucky and Duke are struggling together this season does indicate something. The first thing is that COVID has really impacted these teams.
But the more important thing this has exposed is the viability of the one-and-done system. Duke and Kentucky have built programs around getting top-recruits that jump to the NBA within one season. These players have tanked their draft stock while also giving both programs some of the worst results they have had in decades.
Hopefully, this serves as a wake-up call to the team. If not, they may be in danger of losing out to more experienced teams atop the NCAA Basketball mountain.