To the shock of many, the Duke Blue Devils were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament, failing to make the Final Four despite having four presumed first-round NBA Draft selections on the roster.
After losing to the Michigan State Spartans on Sunday, the locker room was a place where Duke players, as well as Coach K, admitted disappointment.
“They’re deserving of special things, and they have had a special year,” Mike Krzyzewski said. “But not going to the Final Four is obviously a huge disappointment for us.”
Zion Williamson, who will likely be the first guy off the board in the NBA Draft, wasn’t thinking about his professional career after the game.
“It’s very upsetting to think about,” Williamson said. “You see all the faces in this locker room, and I’m just trying not to focus on [the future].”
Tre Jones, who played well for most of the NCAA Tournament, spun the loss as a Duke vs The World scenario.
“If you weren’t a Duke fan, everyone wanted to see us fail,” Jones said afterward, red-eyed, still choking back tears. “All the adversity, it made us so close as a group. We all wanted to win so bad, and that’s what hurts so much.”
People who value the Nielsen Ratings certainly didn’t want them to fail.
Nevertheless, despite the loss and failing to reach the Final Four, this Duke Blue Devils team will likely be remembered as time goes by. After all, even with the shortcomings in the Big Dance, there hasn’t been many teams as entertaining to watch in college basketball the last few decades.
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