Duke was the No. 1 team in the AP preseason poll heading into the 2016-17 season, claiming 58 of 65 possible votes. On-court incidents and injuries -- including coach Mike Krzyzewski's seven-game absence -- prevented the Blue Devils from reaching the heights many expected during the regular season, but it seemed they had turned a corner by winning the ACC tournament.
However, a once-promising season came to an abrupt end in the NCAA tournament's second round on Sunday. The second-seeded Blue Devils' 88-81 loss to No. 7 seed South Carolina was an unexpected turn in a season full of them. The Blue Devils seemed out of sorts for most of the season until they reached the ACC tournament, where they looked like the juggernaut many expected them to be before the season started.
Here's a timeline of how the season developed:
"Harry's one of the unique players that doesn't come around very often," Krzyzewski said at the time. "From all the kids I've seen in high school, [Tatum] was the best scorer because he can score in a variety of ways. Frank is very mature, physically, emotionally and also with his game."
Marques Bolden, ranked No. 16 in the ESPN 100, would later join the class in May 2016, choosing the Blue Devils over Kentucky.
April 3, 2016: Krzyzewski undergoes knee replacement surgery, the first of three surgeries he'll have within the next 10 months.
April 7: Guard Grayson Allen announces he will return for his junior year. "On the court, Grayson is a warrior, as I've said many times," Krzyzewski said. "He has untapped potential, both on and off the basketball court. I have loved coaching Grayson and I'm going to love coaching him next season."
April 10: Derryck Thornton announces he will transfer after spending just one season at Duke. The departure leaves the Blue Devils without a true point guard on its roster. Thornton ends up at USC.
April 22: Amile Jefferson is granted a fifth year of eligibility. Jefferson, who was a regular contributor to Duke's 2015 national championship team, played just nine games in the 2015-16 season after breaking his foot.
May 9: Krzyzewski undergoes hernia surgery.
May 16: Krzyzewski gives the commencement address to Duke's class of 2016. His theme is "expect great things."
July 15: Allen, Jefferson and Matt Jones are named the team's tri-captains before Krzyzewski leaves with the U.S national team to begin its training camp in Las Vegas to prepare for the Olympic Games in Rio.
Aug. 22: Krzyzewski returns home after leading the U.S. to a gold medal.
Sept. 12: The NCAA, citing a commitment to fairness and inclusion, announces it will move seven championship events from the state of North Carolina, including first- and second-round games for the men's NCAA tournament that were slated for Greensboro from March 17-19, 2017. The move is in direct response to the state's passing of House Bill 2, also known as the "bathroom bill," which critics say discriminates against the LGBT community.
Sept. 30/Oct. 1: Duke holds its first practice, followed by a practice open to the public. "We have so much talent this year and so many players, we're getting used to playing with so many different lineups," Jefferson said. "We can go really big, we can go really long, we can go small and quick."
Oct. 3: Giles is expected to miss six weeks after having an arthroscopy on his left knee. Giles tore the ACL and MCL in that knee in 2013. He entered the year rehabilitating his right knee after tearing the ACL in his right knee in 2015. "It's the right step for Harry at the moment as it will help him be 100 percent going forward," Krzyzewski said. "Harry has done a tremendous job in rehabilitation over the last year and I'm sure he'll continue to do the same after this procedure."
Oct. 7: The NCAA announces that Greenville, South Carolina, will be the new site of the men's NCAA tournament first- and second-round games that were moved from Greensboro, North Carolina.
Oct. 25: During a pro day with NBA scouts present, Tatum goes down with a foot injury during the workout. "It is a manageable injury that will not impact Jayson long term," Krzyzewski said. "We look forward to having him back very soon."
Oct. 26: Duke is picked to win the ACC regular season in a media poll, and Allen is named the conference's preseason Player of the Year. "We have a chance to be special," Allen said.
Nov. 7: Bolden, practicing as a starter at the time, suffers a lower-leg injury. Duke announces he will miss the first two games of the season and be re-evaluated. Four days later, after Duke dispatches Marist 94-49 in the season opener, Krzyzewski says he will take a cautious approach in bringing back the injured players.
"We can't go through the whole year with lingering injuries," Krzyzewski said. "We're not the team we thought we'd be at this time, but we're a good team. To be the team that we hope to be, we've got to be healthy. We're going to be really adamant about taking a longer time than a shorter time, no matter what."
Dec. 3: Tatum and Bolden make their respective season debuts in the Blue Devils' 94-55 win over Maine. Tatum immediately takes a position in the starting lineup and records 10 points and eight rebounds. Bolden plays 12 minutes off the bench with seven points and five rebounds.
Dec. 19: Giles makes his long-awaited debut in Duke's 65-55 win over Tennessee State. He plays just four minutes and misses his only shot attempt.
Dec. 21: Allen receives a technical foul for tripping Steven Santa Ana in a 72-61 win over Elon.
"I made a really bad play," Allen said. "Sorry to him, Santa Ana. Sorry to the officials who have to call that. I'm sorry to the team for being selfish and taking away from them. I'm not proud of that at all."
Krzyzewski: "I handle things the way I handle them. I think I've handled things correctly and moving forward I will continue to handle it correctly, and moving forward I don't need to satisfy what other people think I should do."
Dec. 22: Krzyzewski announces Allen will be suspended indefinitely from team activities. He is also stripped of his captaincy.
Dec. 31: With Allen on the bench in dress clothes, the Blue Devils' drop their ACC opener at Virginia Tech 89-75. The Hokies' student section serenades Allen with chants of, "Where is Grayson?"
Jan. 2: Duke announces Krzyzewski will undergo lower back surgery to remove a fragment of a herniated disc; he is expected to miss up to four weeks. Associate head coach Jeff Capel serves as the head coach in his absence.
Jan. 4: Krzyzewski coaches his last game before his scheduled back surgery. He reinstates Allen and inserts him into the starting lineup at point guard. Duke defeats Georgia Tech 110-57.
"I think the things we've done are appropriate," Krzyzewski said. "There are things that you see or the public see and there are things that you all don't see and shouldn't see or shouldn't be talked about. They're called teachings. You don't need to teach out in the public all the time."
Jan. 6: Krzyzewski has successful back surgery.
Jan. 7: Duke assistant coaches leave the seat where Krzyzewski normally sits empty during a 93-82 win over Boston College. Jefferson plays only the first half after injuring the same foot that kept him out almost all of last season.
Jan. 10: Allen chases a loose ball into the Florida State bench and crashes into assistant coach Dennis Gates during the Blue Devils' 88-72 loss. Gates takes to social media to defend the collision as a clean hustle play on Allen's part.
Jan. 23: NC State defeats Duke 84-82 in Cameron Indoor Stadium for the first time since 1995.
Jan. 26: Despite being away from the team, Krzyzewski bans players from their locker room and also from wearing Duke apparel.
Feb. 4: Krzyzewski returns to the sideline as the Blue Devils defeat Pittsburgh 72-64.
"Whatever happened with my team was the start of a process, and it's called team building," Krzyzewski said.
March 4: North Carolina beats Duke 90-83 in Chapel Hill, marking the third loss in the final four games to close the regular season. Duke drops to the fifth seed in the ACC tournament and fails to earn a double bye.
March 8-11: Duke wins four games in four days, rallying to beat Louisville, North Carolina and then Notre Dame to capture its first ACC tournament title since 2011.
"It's a journey that's kind of hard to describe," Krzyzewski said, "and like I was trying to tell the guys, the kids in the locker room, I said, 'You know, we've won a lot of these. We've won, this is our 14th, but this one's so different.'"
March 12: On Selection Sunday, some national pundits argue the Blue Devils have earned a No. 1 seed based on their ACC tournament run. Duke is given a No. 2 seed and placed in the East region.
March 19: South Carolina ends Duke's season with an 88-81 win in the NCAA tournament second round in a game played in Greenville, South Carolina.
"I've absolutely loved coaching this group," Krzyzewski said. "I've never had a year like this with all the injuries, with everything, but never a problem with attitude. ... I wish I could coach them more. I'm just disappointed that we couldn't go further."