The 1991-92 season was one of the most impressive in Duke history as the Blue Devils roared to a 34-2 record, losing only to UNC and Wake Forest.
Duke played Michigan and the Fab Five twice, St. John’s when it was still a powerful program, Notre Dame, Louisiana State with Shaquille O’Neal, and UCLA.
There’s lots of room to criticize former coach Jim Harrick, who was terminated after a scandal, but the guy was a really good game coach and an excellent recruiter.
UCLA featured Don McLean, Mitchell Butler, Jamal Murray and Shon Tarver. They were ranked #2 in the country and Duke played them in Pauley Pavilion.
On March 1st.
It was a gutty scheduling decision on the surface but not really. Well, it was, but not in the way people thought.
For Mike Krzyzewski, scheduling a really good team late in the season did two things: first, it exposed the Blue Devils to a very different style just before the post-season, and second, a loss would allow flaws to be addressed.
People with an inability to take risks, or to benefit from a late loss, would never have the nerve.
In this case, Duke didn’t have too much to worry about.
UCLA led at the half, and was down 61-59 with 3:23 left and outscored the Bruins 13-6 down the stretch to win 75-65. It was particularly impressive since Duke played without an injured Grant Hill
Obviously Duke didn't lose again, going on to win its second national championship a few weeks later. The Bruins did test Duke though.