Duke pitched as SEC addition in conference realignment to grow basketball brand

Elon v Duke
Elon v Duke / Lance King/GettyImages

Roll Tide Wire's AJ Spurr pitched Duke as a potential SEC addition in conference realignment due to the Blue Devils' potential to grow the basketball brand of the "It Just Means More" conference.

"The Duke Blue Devils are obviously a basketball powerhouse, which often overshadows its improving football program that has been garnering national attention recently," Spurr prefaced before saying, "Basketball is the focus here. The SEC has established itself as a regular contender in the basketball realm. What better way to grow the conference’s brand and build up in-conference competition than by bringing in one of the most storied programs of all time?"

Duke football has been a rising brand in recent seasons but it's unclear if Manny Diaz can continue the progress Mike Elko, who replaced Jimbo Fisher at Texas A&M over the offseason, started in Durham. The Blue Devils' basketball program, on the other hand, just made its first Elite Eight under Jon Scheyer, who famously succeeded Coach K and has largely upheld the Duke standard in his first two seasons.

Undoubtedly, adding Duke would make the SEC a premier basketball conference. With a blue blood like Kentucky already in tow -- though let's be real, a fall is coming under new head coach Mark Pope -- and rising powers like John Calipari's Arkansas Razorbacks, Nate Oats' Alabama Crimson Tide, and Bruce Pearl's Auburn Tigers, the SEC would be more top-heavy than any other conference in the country; though the Big Ten could make a serious power play themselves by adding North Carolina and Virginia as is rumored.

Duke can have Big Ten case with AAU accreditation, lack of football success can hinder SEC interest

Duke feels more like a Big Ten school than an SEC program, matching up more academically and having AAU accreditation on its side. The Blue Devils' lack of football success also feels like something that could have the SEC second-guessing making Duke its expansion candidate in the state of North Carolina.

While conference realignment will see unlikely alliances -- who in their right mind would've ever seen Stanford and Cal joining the ACC? -- this one feels a little too unlikely for a variety of reasons.