Members of the media in the Atlantic Coast Conference voted for the Duke Blue Devils as the favorite to win the league this season. It’s the fourth straight season they have been picked to win the regular season crown and it could be the fourth consecutive season they disappoint the media. Here are three reasons why they won’t win the ACC in 2019-20.
1. History is against them
The media chose Duke to win the ACC regular title the last four seasons straight. Even with those lofty projections, the Blue Devils failed to meet those expectations. Despite having top-two recruiting classes those years, they weren’t able to win a championship, but did manage to get to the Elite Eight last season and the one before.
While Coach K has been excellent at keeping up with the times of recruiting one-and-dones, he’s had some issues ultimately coaching them and getting them to play any real semblance of offense.
Duke has not won the ACC regular season title since 2010 when they shared it with Maryland (who is no longer in the conference). However, that has not stopped them from having great postseason success with a national title in 2015, as well as winning the ACC Tournament title in 2017 and 2019.
2. There will be some good surprise teams in the ACC
North Carolina is a clear and present threat to Duke’s regular season title hopes with their excellent recruiting class pairing with some key returning players. However, there will be several other teams people won’t see coming that will seriously contend for the regular season crown. Teams like Louisville, Florida State and Virginia will be great this season while getting none of the love for various reasons.
Louisville has the potential ACC Player of the Year in Jordan Nwora and a possible one-and-done talent in forward Samuell Williamson. Florida State has a bunch of returning players and coach Leonard Hamilton will dig deep on his bench to terrorize other teams. Virginia may have lost some big time players from their title team, but still bring back key cogs in Kihei Clark, Braxton Key and Mamadi Diakite.
North Carolina State, Syracuse and Notre Dame could also see themselves be sneaky good this season. They are projected as the rest of the top half of the ACC standings and should not be looked over lightly.
3. Could be limited offensively
While Duke did pick up some excellent freshmen in their recruiting class and brought back some talent, they may not have the offense to win a ton of games. This team is likely going to be one of the defensively-focused teams that Mike Krzyzewski hasn’t had in a long time, but they could find themselves in difficult situations when it comes to scoring.
Likely starting shooting guard Cassius Stanley can get to the rim and might be the best athlete in college basketball, but shooting is not totally his strong suit. Freshman forward Wendell Moore is not as offensively inclined as Stanley, but he could be one of the best perimeter defenders that Coach K has had in some time. Tre Jones is similar to those two freshmen in that he is going to lock down his offensive counterpart, but struggle on the offensive end himself at times.
Five-star freshman center Vernon Carey will likely be a focal point on offense with Stanley doing a lot of the driving and attacking. Even good or great post players can only do so much on offense with the college game being guard-centric. There will be plenty of games this season where teams dare the Blue Devils to shoot it from deep as Jack White and Alex O’Connell might be their only threats from there.
If Duke finds a deep shooting stroke some time this season though, they can become incredibly dangerous.
Also, be sure to follow the ClutchPoints NCAA Facebook page for more great college basketball, recruiting, original analysis and whatever other kinds of discussion. We’re also on Twitter over here. Give us a follow.
You can also follow the official college hoops podcast for ClutchPoints, Cutting The Net, over on SoundCloud here.