Could struggling Duke slip from blueblood to NCAA bubble team?

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Mike Krzyzewski had yet to establish himself as Coach K the last time he was on Duke's bench and the Blue Devils missed the NCAA tournament.

That was in 1983, when he was merely a little-known third-year coach with a tough-to-spell last name.

Now, 24 years later, Duke is hurting again.

The Blue Devils (18-7, 5-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) have lost four straight games — their longest losing streak in 11 years — and are out of the Top 25 for the first time since 1996.

Selection Sunday is less than four weeks away. The young Blue Devils have some serious work ahead to secure their 12th straight NCAA tournament appearance and avoid the shame of tumbling from basketball blueblood to bubble team.

Coach K says his players' hard work and self-confidence are the keys to getting back on track.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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