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Duke Losing Streaks Since 1980

When Mike Krzyzewski took the Duke job

Cherokee Parks was part of the 1995 Duke team that struggled mightily after Mike Krzyzewski had to take a leave of absence

Good athletic fortune is like good health – easy to enjoy and even easier to take for granted. Both are also easy to worry about when they’re gone, or appear to be.

That’s the status of Duke basketball at the moment after recording the longest losing streak in 14 years, an admittedly modest depth reached twice during the 2007 season.

Three straight defeats, all on the road, administered by Virginia Tech, Pitt and Louisville pushed the ’21 squad to 5-5. That burden was eased the other night as Duke narrowly escaped Georgia Tech at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Dropping a string of games in succession has been a rarity for the Blue Devils under Mike Krzyzewski. Over his 41 years at the program’s helm his teams have endured 11 seasons with streaks of three or more defeats, six with four or more.

The current season is just the third since 1997 in which the Blue Devils lost three in a row. The others were 2007 and 2016.

The pair of four-game stumbles in 2007 were the only ones Duke endured over the past quarter-century.

In contrast, the Devils have enjoyed eight seasons in the last two dozen without losing consecutive games, and another 14 since 1997 without dropping more than two in a row, 2020 among them.

Sustained skids are as common throughout the ACC as they are unusual at Duke.

Already this year four programs have suffered at least four losses in a row, with Wake Forest dropping a half-dozen straight before topping NC State last weekend. (The other four-flushers were Boston College, NC State, and Notre Dame.)

During the 2020 season 11 of 15 ACC teams suffered at least three losses in a row, matching this year’s Duke stumble. BC, Miami, UNC, Virginia Tech, and Wake did it two or more times. Carolina lost seven straight, Boston College six and Virginia Tech five.

By the way, prior to this week the last time Duke had a breakeven winning percentage was on Nov. 12, 2013, when it lost to Kansas at Chicago’s United Center and fell to 1-1.

Longest Duke Losing Streaks Under Mike Krzyzewski, 1981-2021
(Listed By Exact Streaks, Games Through Jan. 26, 2021)
L In Row Seasons With At Least Two Straight Losses
6 1995*
4 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1996,2007 (2)
3 1982 (2), 1983 (3), 1984, 1988, 1989, 1995 (3)*,1996, 2016,2021
2 twice 2020, 2017,1997, 1993, 1990, 1981
2 2020 (2), 2018, 2017 (2), 2015, 2014, 2012, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2000, 1997 (2), 1996, 1993 (2), 1990 (2), 1989, 1987, 1986 1985, 1984, 1983, 1982, 1981 (2)
1 2019,2013, 2011, 2010, 2002, 2001, 1999, 1998, 1992,1991, 1994
  • Most of streak(s) and bulk of season credited to Pete Gaudet.