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Duke on a Slide? That's News to Me

Mike KlineAnalyst IJuly 24, 2009

2 Apr 2001:  Head coach Mike Krzyzewski of Duke is presented with the trophy after defeating Arizona 82-72 in the NCAA National Championship Game of the Men's Final Four tournament at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  DIGITAL IMAGE. Mandatory Credit: Brian Bahr/ALLSPORT

Apparently, or so we all have been told by sports reporters, bloggers, and the Duke hate base alike, Duke is on a bit of downward slide.

Really?

Duke's supposed slide is of course linked to what all Duke fans already know: Duke hasn't won the National Championship since 2001 and hasn't made a final four since 2004.

If you were Duke and those are the factors that determine whether or not you are on a slide or not, then I'd take that kind of slide any day.

If we believe those in the know—the experts like John Feinstein, various media in the Triangle, and even some fans—Duke Basketball is at a cross roads.

To hear these guys talk you'd think Duke was teetering on the edge of the abyss.

Mike Krzyzewski's recent announcement that he was signing back up to coach the 2012 Olympic Basketball team has exacerbated that sentiment in a big way.

Many believe the Olympic team distracts him from his day job. Forget the fact he can only do so much in the summer with Duke and that many of his current recruits are bragging about his experience with Kobe Bryant and LeBron James to fellow recruits.

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The fact that Duke has won more games in the last decade than any other team, won last year's ACC tournament, and made the Sweet Sixteen—a huge success for 95 percent of all other teams in college basketball—appears to be clearly lost on all of those supposed experts.

Today's society is all about what have you done for me lately and lately Duke has been good, not great.  But can that really be classified as a slide?

To me, a slide is Kentucky's recent NCAA tournament drought, although that is likely to end pretty soon.  A slide is UNC winning only eight games a few years back or Indiana's embarrassment over the last few seasons.

A slide is not winning 20-plus games every year and competing for your conference championship year in and year out.  A slide isn't making the NCAA tournament every year over the last decade.

Duke's recruiting may have taken some hits, and Duke has lost some players to transferring and the NBA, but their success is unquestionable.

Is it what they want or what Duke fans want? No. Is it a sign of some pending apocalypse? Not likely.

Recently some local media picked Duke, albeit very early, to win this coming year's ACC race. 

Seems an odd pick for a team on the slide. 

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