Duke is preparing to finalize their season after a positive test caused them to withdraw from the ACC Tournament, leaving them with a body of work that won't be impressive enough to be placed in the NCAA Tournament bracket. It's been a disappointing and disjointed season for the Blue Devils, who probably needed to beat Florida State today to even have a coin-flip chance of adding to its 24-year streak of marching into Madness.
There are so many reasons why this campaign fell short, with Duke's failing standing alongside those of several other bluebloods, who weren't able to perform up to their long-existing standards. For the first time sine the 1994-95 season, they'll watch from home. That was the year Coach K had back problems and Pete Gaudet piloted the club to a 13-18 finish.
The NFL also saw a traditional power look like a shell of itself this season as the New England Patriots stumbled to a 7-9 record and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Their presence in the playoffs has been a regularity since the mid 1990's and in the 1994 season, Bill Parcells gum-chewed his way to the Wild Card round.
All of this is to say we're living in a moment for first time since the very early 80's that both the Pats and Blue Devils have missed out on the postseason in their respective sports within months of each other. Duke went 10-17 and missed the '82 tournament — during Coach K's second in Durham — and the Patriots limped to a woeful 2-14 campaign, falling very short of Super Bowl XVI in January 1982.
Jay Bilas was a senior in high school. Quarterbacks Matt Cavanaugh and Steve Grogan combined to throw 12 touchdowns and 29 interceptions. Fast Times at Ridgemont High was months away from a theatrical release. No writers at The Big Lead had been born yet.
Has to be rough for that specific brand of front-running fan who has a Duke-Patriots overlap. Of course, the Lakers and Yankees should help brunt the pain a bit.