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 »This Week in History

Duke Blue Devils

  Getting Inside | Notes, Quotes | Strategy & Personnel

The Blue Devils won a lot of games and spent most of the season in the top 10 of the national rankings, yet it might be difficult to put a positive spin on the season.

It ended on a decline, particularly with the team losing its NCAA Tournament opener to Lehigh in Greensboro, N.C. The 75-70 loss for the Blue Devils, who were a No. 2 regional seed, came to a 15th-seeded team out of the Patriot League.

"A bad end to a season that had a lot of highs," guard Austin Rivers said.

A seven-game winning streak to begin the season and another seven-game winning streak in February might have been misleading considering the number of close calls the Blue Devils endured.

"We're not a juggernaut or anything like that," coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "We have known that throughout the whole season."

But the most surprising part of the late-season doldrums might have come from an offense that suddenly failed to function with any sort of efficiency. Duke had its two lowest-scoring games of the season in the ACC Tournament. The Blue Devils failed to score more than 70 points in any of their last four games.

"Early in the season we played well, and it seemed like it got worse," junior guard Seth Curry said.

There were shortcomings at the defensive end that were most disturbing to Krzyzewski throughout the season. But he seemed to accept that his team was more suited as an offensive-first group and he tried to tailor the team to have success with that approach. The Blue Devils unleashed a 3-point shooting attack that often proved healthy, but in the end they shot below 30 percent on 3-pointers in each of their last four games.

The Blue Devils took at least 20 shots from 3-point range in their last 12 games.

"We have just been kind of mucking it out offensively," Krzyzewski said.

So rather than celebrating a 27-7 season, the Blue Devils were left with trying to figure out what went wrong. There's bound to be enough talent on hand to fix it going forward, but the offseason could be uncomfortable as well.

"There's no more. It's done," Rivers said after the stunning loss to Lehigh. "I've never ended a season like this."

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