Has the apocalypse finally arrived? A team scored more than 80 points on Virginia, Kansas is not at the top of the Big 12 standings, and Duke fans are tuning into road games praying to see the Blue Devils in their alternate black uniforms.
Once seen as a curse for Duke basketball since its debut in 1996, the black jersey has made a comeback with this current crop of Blue Devils, as the team has posted a 6-0 record in the unis this season, including all five of its ACC road games.
However, Duke will face another tough test yet on Tuesday when Louisville will trot out onto the floor of the KFC Yum! Center wearing their own black jerseys as part of a “Blackout” promotion that the Cardinals announced last week. The Blue Devils have yet to officially announce their jerseys, but it's almost certain they will have no choice but to wear white.
The first time Duke ever wore a black uniform was a 89-60 win for against St. Joseph's. Trajan Langdon led the team with 20 points to kick off his redshirt sophomore season. However, it would not signal a lucky alternate for the Blue Devils, who would struggle over the next 20 plus years in black.
From that first game to the start of this season, Duke has gone 58-39 in their black jerseys, which they have modified the style of a few times over recent years. That’s good enough for a winning percentage just under 60 percent, not ideal for a program that won 82.4 percent of all matchups during that stretch.
This year feels different though, especially considering R.J. Barrett’s assertive statement after the road win over Virginia that the team wears black because “it’s [their opponent’s] funeral.”
Major props need to be given to Louisville’s marketing team on the timing of the promotion, giving the Cardinals a realistic shot to knock off the leaders in the ACC. After all, who’s Iron Man without his suit, what’s a shepherd without his sheep, and most importantly, what are these Blue Devils without their black uniforms?