Duke fans are understandably upset about how the trip to Miami worked out. It’s been a tough season in many ways, not least of all because of the disruptions everyone has to deal with due to Covid.
The thing is, as Pat Forde points out here, it’s not just Duke. The Blue Devils are struggling, along with UNC, Michigan State, Kentucky and Kansas.
We were familiar with UNC’s woes, of course, and Kentucky’s, but Michigan State kind of snuck up on us. The Spartans are just 8-7 and in the last game lost to Rutgers - Rutgers! - by 30, scoring just 37 points.
Duke called the Blue Devils soft after the Miami game; Michigan State’s Aaron Henry questioned his team’s heart.
Forde points out some common problems with the main thing being the one we’ve talked about extensively: youth vs. experience in a season raved by Covid.
But he also points out that, unlike recent seasons, the bluebloods haven’t necessarily dominated the recruiting rankings and the ones they did get - Kentucky’s B.J. Boston and Terrence Clarke, UNC’s Day’Ron Sharp and Caleb Love, and Duke’s Jalen Johnson.
Forde says Johnson is the only one who is doing well, if erratically, but Johnson has certainly shown some great flashes and could become legitimately great.
He also goes into offensive performance, especially three point shooting as a common problem.
Anyway, it’s something worth looking at as you put this season into perspective.