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Gut Reaction to Selection Sunday: Duke Edition

March 17, 2015

Unlike our UK reaction, this one is from an actual fan of the team. Here's Russell Morris on Duke's NCAA tourney chances :

Jahlil Okafor looks deep into the committee's eyes and says, "Thank you, we didn't win anything."
After an uninspiring performance against Notre Dame on Friday night, I wasn’t sure if Duke was still going to be a one seed. Based on whom they beat and where, nobody had better wins, Kentucky included, but with not winning the ACC regular season or conference tournament, I thought a two seed was coming. In 2013, they had a one seed resume, but ended up as a two seed in eventual champion Louisville’s bracket. The team eventually lost to the Cardinals in the Elite Eight that year. With that in mind, as long as we weren’t in Kentucky’s region, I would be happy. As ESPN revealed the bracket, I was surprised and ecstatic. Not only was Duke a one seed, but they have the weakest bracket of the four regions. Duke fans couldn’t have asked for a better set up for a deep run.

 The two seed is Gonzaga, but what is Gonzaga but a tired Cinderella? I do think this is Mark Few’s best team. They have great size to combat Jahlil Okafor inside and experienced (senior) guard play. They’re probably due to make a deep run, but if given the choice, any of the one seeds would have picked Gonzaga as their number two. 

Iowa State is the probably the best three seed and pose the biggest threat to Duke in this region. They mirror Duke in being a great offensive team but lack defensive intensity at times. A matchup between these two would be a game in the 80s, and it would be highly watchable.

I wouldn’t be shocked if both four seed Georgetown and five seed Utah were to lose their first round games. Georgetown has lost to a double digit seed every year they have been in the tournament since making the Final Four in 2007, which means a team with the Roy Hibbert at the helm was their last clutch performance. Moreover, they have to travel across the county to play a team that has the best scorer in Division I this year. Stephen F. Austin is the best twelve seed and knocked off VCU last year in a 5/12 game and only lost four games this season.

The eight seed is San Diego St., which can’t score enough to post a threat to Duke, and the nine seed is St. John’s, which Duke already beat this year. The Red Storm will also be without their big man Chris Obepka for the tournament. 


If Duke plays to the ability they have shown for much of this year, making the Elite Eight should be easily attainable, setting up a great regional final match up against Gonzaga or Iowa State. I have no fears in picking Duke out of this region.  

Feel free to follow Russ @morris_russ.

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