The remarkable thing is not that the 2015-16 Blue Devils have dropped three games in a row, a first for the program since 2007. Rather, it’s that eight full seasons had passed since Duke suffered so long a losing streak.
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The ’07 dip, or actually dips, occurred when a squad led by DeMarcus Nelson, Josh McRoberts, Jon Scheyer and Greg Paulus lost four times in a row to open February, won four, then dropped four straight to close the season.
The capacity to avoid such extended losing streaks, to play at a consistently high level, to rebound from setbacks, to rekindle momentum, to rise to challenges, or whatever you care to call it, is far less common than recognized.
More remarkable still, this is only the sixth season in the last nine that Duke has experienced consecutive defeats. The 2010, 2011 and 2013 teams never lost two in a row. The 2012 and 2014 squads ended their seasons with two losses in a row, in the ACC and NCAA tournaments.
Last year’s national champs lost at NC State and then at home against Miami on the 11th and 13th of January, but rebounded with a surprising victory at Louisville conjured in part by resort to a zone defense.
As for the rest of the ACC, every league team but Virginia dropped three straight during the past two seasons.
Louisville last lost three in a row in 2013 en route to the NCAA title, but was not a member of the ACC.
Most of the losing streaks shown in this chart occurred strictly against ACC competition. Boston College is on the league’s longest ongoing losing run, five straight, with a game coming up at Notre Dame.
|WHEN A RUN IS NO FUN
Longest Recent Losing Streaks, Three or More Games
(2015-16 Through Jan. 20, Asterisk Indicates Ongoing)
'16 L Run
|Recent 3 L+
|FS||3||3, 3, 3||2015|
|GT||2, 2*||7, 5||2015|