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As College Basketball Report pointed out on Friday, 100 percent of national champions since 1993 have made their conference tournament semifinals. Duke basketball isn't on that list this year, as the No. 2 seed Blue Devils fell in lackluster fashion to No. 10 seed NC State, 74-69, in Thursday's ACC Tournament quarterfinals.

In no way, shape, or form did Jon Scheyer and his players look like a team ready for an extended March Madness run. Their energy level against the Wolfpack was concerningly low. Communication, whether between the guys on the court or from the coaches to the players during timeouts, was consistently timid or nonexistent.

If not for NC State's missed free throws and miscues down the stretch, including a missed dunk and hanging on the rim that resulted in a technical foul, Duke probably would have suffered a double-digit defeat to a squad it defeated by 15 points on the road in Raleigh less than two weeks ago.

"It's a disappointing loss for us," Scheyer said. "We wanted to make a run at this thing. Coming off of [the loss to UNC on Saturday], we've been able to spend a lot of time on ourselves for the first time. That didn't translate fully, clearly...When you're playing in the postseason, teams don't want to go away. You have to make them go away."

All in all, the loss was a pitiful display, especially considering it will be the Blue Devils' last impression on the selection committee. It probably dropped Duke, needing to reach the Elite Eight to match the 27-9 overall record that the Blue Devils posted in Scheyer's first season at the helm, to a No. 4 seed or worse for the NCAA Tournament.

"Overall, look, I can go through the details of the game," Scheyer explained. "I think for us, though, it's about the competitive fire you need to have in the postseason...For us, we have to go get back to it and work. The biggest postseason is ahead of us, and we're going to be in the tournament. We're excited about that.

"I don't know where we're going to go, what seed we're going to be. But my thing is all about getting ready and focused for that."

But that's the thing: How does one suddenly inspire a group that looked so disinterested in competing at the level it takes to win in March?

Chances are it's too late to flip that switch.

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