High seeds staying close to home the first weekend are Louisville and Kentucky in Indianapolis; North Carolina and Duke in Greenville, South Carolina; Florida and Florida State in Orlando; and Kansas in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Both 15th seeds, the Troy women play at Mississippi State at 1:30 p.m.
Mark Hollis, the chair of the committee, said North Carolina winning the ACC regular season title was a factor in addition to Duke starting from the No. 4 seed line entering last week.
The adjustments took full effect last week in NY when the Blue Devils gritted out the ACC title, topping rival North Carolina 93-83 in the tournament semis. But Troy only lost by double digits three times this year.
STRONG FRESHMAN: Duke’s Jayson Tatum has averaged 16.9 points and 7.3 rebounds this season.
Virginia is the best defensive team in the country, so those three players, along with Denzel Ingram, are facing their toughest challenge yet. The Shockers are a balanced team with five players averaging between 9.2 and 11.8 points per game, led by sophomore forward Markis McDuffie. “That made me more ready to play”. The team’s top two scorers – C.J. Bryce (17.6 points per game) and Chris Flemmings (15.8 points per game) – also average 5.5 rebounds per game and combine for 5.1 assists per game. Allen, partly due to health, has gotten used to coming off the bench, thanks to the improved play of freshman Frank Jackson, and being a facilitator. The Midwest and South regions are just better than the East and West.
Each of those teams won its conference tournament this past week, something the Tar Heels failed to do after falling to Duke in the ACC Semifinals.
Krzyzewski said with players like Jones, Jefferson and Grayson Allen healthy, the Blue Devils have had a chance to develop chemistry that could take them very far in the NCAA Tournament.
“We’re not scared of Duke”, Hollimon said. Person ranks second with 14.8 while Hollimon adds 12.1 on the third place.
Despite the unconventional method, the Blue Devils are pretty good now, and heavily favored to beat Troy and eventually advance to another Sweet 16 and possibly beyond.
Lonzo Ball, UCLA. One-and-done star plays with poise and flair, led the nation in assists (7.7), could be the No. 1 overall National Basketball Association pick. They are 4-0 ATS and 3-1 against the Over/Under in conference tournament. They’re back and healthy now, and proved what a powerhouse they are when all is well. The Trojans are 7-3 ATS and 3-7 against the Over/Under in their last 10 overall games.
Before the season began, Duke was the unanimous preseason No. 1 and the consensus pick to win the national championship. He was redshirted during the 2014-15 season because of an injured knee.
But the most ranked teams Duke could face in regional play is two.
This isn’t one of those Blue Devil squads that has had everything go its way and caught all the breaks. The NCAA moved them because of North Carolina’s controversial HB2 law that includes language preventing the LGBT community from receiving protection from discrimination.