After watching Duke barely survive in overtime against Virginia Tech, I couldn’t help but wonder has Duke lost their mystique at home. Is Cameron not the feared place to play it once was? It seems as though Duke has been more impressive on the road then they have been host.
Duke’s two losses in ACC play have come at home to both Miami and Florida State. The loss to FSU stopped a 45 game home winning streak for the Blue Devils. In home ACC games they are 5-2 versus being undefeated on the road at 7-0. Of their five home wins only two of them have been in double digits. Of the seven road wins they have won by an average of 10.8 points a game. They squeaked it out by two against Virginia at home, struggled with NC State most of the game before mounting the comeback, and Virginia Tech took them to over time.
It makes you wonder what gives at Cameron Indoor. Have the Crazies not been as crazy as usual? Perhaps much like gas and groceries across America body paint prices have shot up in Durham. Maybe Coach K has just grown too comfortable in his loafers while at home. Or maybe it’s the players themselves, some people encourage and thrive under pressure. The boos and jeering chants of other teams across the ACC may ignite this Blue Devil team. You can’t tell me Austin Rivers doesn’t like having the ball when the heat is on.
I can say this for Blue Devils they have yet to eject one of their alumni from the stadium. I can’t imagine Danny Ferry or Grant Hill getting the boot out of Cameron for giving the refs a little fun ribbing. Of course as a Carolina fan I can’t imagine Duke not getting a call for the alumni to dispute while at home.
For most programs two losses at home would a great season but if you play in North Carolina and your name doesn’t end in “ate” or “orest” you have become used to protecting winning streaks while at home. Sure you might drop one here or there on the road but your wins at home are your bread and butter.
There is good news and bad news for Duke. The good news is you only have one more home game left this season. The ACC tournament is in Atlanta this year and the closest they could play to Durham is Greensboro in the early rounds of the NCAA tournament. The bad news is that the one home game that Duke has left is against Carolina for what most likely will be the ACC regular season title. While regular season champs are not something that is recognized by the ACC it does give you the number one seed in the conference tournament and bragging rights for the fans. Seeding aside Duke I am sure would much rather not lose to Tar Heel Nation on their own court. All of this is just leading up to the showdown next Saturday in what is always the highlight of the season Carolina versus Duke part two.
Disclaimer: the views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect those of Sports Radio 610 AM WFNZ The Fan.