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Knocking Off #1 Duke - Some History

Every #1 loses eventually but not everyone gets to be #1 more than once.

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NCAA Basketball: Duke at Boston College
Dec 9, 2017; Chestnut Hill, MA, USA; Boston College Eagles fans prepare to rush the court during the second half against the Duke Blue Devils at Silvio Conte Forum. 
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

When you’re ranked as highly as Duke, and as often, it’s inevitable your losses are going to be perceived as a big deal. And as the nation’s top target – a standing as the top-rated team making the targeting all the juicier – you’re going to suffer defeat.

Like yesterday at the Conte Forum, where Jim Christian’s struggling Boston College Eagles got a much-needed win over the Blue Devils, 89-84.

In only its second road test in a dozen games, Duke could never quite take command. BC could, with 76 of its points (85.4 percent) coming from guards Ky Bowman (30), Jerome Robinson (24) and Jordan Chatman (22). The Eagles made 15 of 26 threes, outweighing the Devils’ inside prowess. Duke made 8 of 30 from beyond the arc, 2 of 17 by everyone not named Gary Trent.

So how unusual was it for Duke to lose as No. 1 in the polls? This was the 18th time this century covering 10 different seasons. The 2006 team actually lost on four different occasions as Numero Uno, the ’02 squad three times. Each ended its year losing in the Sweet 16 as the AP’s top-rated team. So did the 2000 squad.

Four of the 18 defeats Duke suffered as No. 1 over the past 19 seasons occurred on neutral courts – three in the NCAA tournament, and last year against Kansas at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Only one came at Cameron Indoor Stadium, against No. 13 UNC in March 2006.

Boston College was the seventh unranked team in this century that upended a top-rated Duke club. This was the 11th time a No. 1 Blue Devil squad lost to end a double-digit winning streak, the same number of consecutive wins interrupted by the Eagles.

Duke Losses at Top-Ranked Team Since 2000
Season Winner Score Ranking Venue Date Duke 2X
W Streak
2018 BC 89-84 none away 12/9 11
2017 Kansas 77-75 7 N.Y. 11/15 NA
2013 NCS 84-76 20 away 1/12 15
Miami 90-63 25 away 1/23 NA
2011 FSU 66-61 none away 1/12 15
Va Tech 64-60 none away 2/26 NA
2009 Wake 70-68 6 away 1/28 10
2006 G'town 87-84 none away 1/21 17
FSU 79-74 none away 3/1 10
UNC 83-76 13 home 3/4 NA
LSU 62-54 18 NCAA 3/23 NA
2004 NCS 78-74 21 away 2/15 18
2003 Md 87-72 17 away 1/18 12
2002 FSU 77-76 none away 1/2 12
Md 87-73 3 away 2/17 11
Indiana 74-73 none NCAA 3/21 NA
2001 Stanford 84-83 3 away 12/21 10
2000 Fla 87-78 11 NCAA 3/24 NA

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