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Déjà Vu Duke: Why Saturday's Loss May Spell Good Fortune for the Blue Devils

Duke may be down after Saturday night's loss, but they're definitely not out.
Duke may be down after Saturday night's loss, but they're definitely not out.Joel Auerbach/Getty Images
James PattersonContributor IFebruary 27, 2011

Duke walked out of Cassell Coliseum Saturday night with a late season loss on the road in a hostile environment against a team desperate to make a statement. This, a few weeks after getting drilled on the road against a rising Big East team.

Sound familiar? That's because it's the same storyline the Blue Devils carried into last year's ACC Tournament, which Duke won on their way to a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

And we all know the rest of that story.

While the Blue Devil nation bemoans the loss at the hands of Virginia Tech Saturday night, you only have to go back to last season to see how Duke could potentially respond to the latest turn of events in their quest to repeat as national champions.


January 30, 2010: Duke gets demolished on the road against Georgetown in a non-conference matchup against a tough Big East team.

The Blue Devils then go on to win seven games in a row before falling again, traveling north to Maryland on the road. Remember that Maryland was trailing Duke by only one game in the ACC standings at the timethe two teams would tie for the ACC regular-season titleand it was senior night for Greivis Vasquez.

The Comcast Center was rocking as Maryland pulled out a 79-72 win and put doubt in the minds of many who thought Duke was a lock for a No. 1 seed. Duke missed 17 three-pointers in that game.


January 30, 2011: The Devils get demolished on the road against St. John's in a non-conference matchup against a tough Big East team.

Duke would go on to win seven games in a row before traveling north to Blacksburg to take on Seth Greenberg's Virginia Tech Hokies, desperate for a signature win to put their team back on the NCAA Tournament radar.

Cassell Coliseum was rocking Saturday night as Virginia Tech held on for a 64-60 win, putting doubts in the minds of many who think Duke deserves a No. 1 seed in next month's NCAA Tournament. Duke missed 16 three-pointers in Saturday night's game.

The similarities to the end of Duke's season last year and this year are eerie. The loss to Maryland only seemed to bolster the Blue Devils' spirits that much more as they took their frustrations out on the North Carolina Tar Heels in Cameron with an 82-50 shellacking, one of UNC's worst losses to Duke in the rivalry's history.

Duke wouldn't lose another game all season. Looking back, that Maryland game seemed to be only a blip on the radar.

So if Saturday night makes you doubt the Blue Devils, if it makes you think twice about them having what it takes to get the job done in March, you might just want to think again.

Because history seems to be on their side.

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