Back in the 2018-19 season, Duke played four teams during nonconference play that were ranked in the top 15 at the time, and the Blue Devils won three of those games. They spent that entire season ranked in the top five of the AP Top 25 with freshmen phenoms Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett and Cam Reddish on a roster that was amply capable of handling a slate that also included the likes of Indiana and St. John's.
This time around, the dynamics are a bit different as the Blue Devils look to bounce back back from missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1996 while also sending off legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski on a high note in his final season on the bench.
While the Blue Devils do have a trio of marquee games on their nonconference slate, which was released Wednesday, it's a relatively light schedule by the standards of a storied program. That should give the Blue Devils a chance to stockpile victories after a rough 2020-21 campaign as Krzyzewski prepares to hand over the whistle to associate head coach Jon Scheyer following the season.
Here's a look at Duke's full 2021 nonconference schedule with the ACC slate to be announced at a later date...