By LARRY VAUGHT
Can Duke go undefeated this season?
Obviously today the answer is no because No. 1 Duke lost 89-87 to Gonzaga in the Maui Invitational final and led just 12 seconds in the game. Again, this is the same Duke that blasted UK by 34 points in its first game on its way to a 5-0 start — but even Tuesday night the Blue Devils only beat Auburn by eight points.
The loss might have surprised some — but not Sporting News basketball columnist Mike DeCourcy because he told the Louisville Quarterback Club Tuesday he didn’t see Duke going undefeated.
“I don’t think the chances are very good given the strength of their conference,” DeCourcy said.
However, in fairness he didn’t expect Duke to lose to Gonzaga or any other team before conference play started in January because the Blue Devils didn’t have a true road game until then. But he thought Duke would not be able to survive playing at Syracuse, Virginia, North Carolina and some other ACC road games without a loss.
“They were explosive and overwhelming against Kentucky but I still think their (playing) rotation is questionable. He (coach Mike Krzyzewski) is still searching and seeing how he wants to play.
“If he does stay undefeated, it would be one of the great undefeated seasons of all time because of that conference. But I don’t think Duke will go undefeated. It was kind of a perfect storm against Kentucky. They are good, but not as good as that game made it look. I just don’t see them going unbeaten.”
Just over 24 hours later, his prediction came true even if it was even a bit earlier than he anticipated.