Duke has won their 20th ACC tournament and 14th under Coach Krzyzewski, but despite their historical success in the tourney, it didn’t deserve them a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Why?
First, let’s start with facts before we think of personal feelings. The NCAA rules states,
Though the brackets only feature the seed numbers 1-16 in each region, the committee assembles an S-curve of teams seeded from 1 through 68. In theory, the teams 1-4 on the seed list will all be #1 seeds (the #1 “seed line”), 5-8 will be #2 seeds (the #2 seed line), and so on; however, bracketing rules often lead to some deviation from this. The S-curve is most important for keeping each region balanced, the ideal being that each region will be equally strong.
Pretty straight forward, right? Well, what about what Duke has done their last few months? During the beginning of the season, Duke was almost a shell of its greatness, they were plagued with injuries that reigned from star freshmen Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum, and Marques Bolden, to senior, Grayson Allen and even Coach K had back surgery, what else could go wrong for the No. 1 recruiting class team? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Despite their lows, Duke has come out stronger than ever proving why Coach K is the best Coach in college basketball. Coach K has revived this team into championship caliber and if you didn’t see their ACC performance, you missed a hell of a show.
Coach K did the unthinkable playing his starters 25+ minutes for 4 straight nights and despite the exhaustion and playing from behind most nights, the team fought and left their heart on their every single night. The Blue Devils entered the tournament as a 5 seed and became the first to win as that seed and four tournament games. En route to the championship, Duke beat high-caliber teams, Clemson, Louisville, Carolina and ND, all the more reason to think Duke deserves the number one spot.
Sadly, a great 4 day performance doesn’t qualify for a no.1 seed. During the regular season, Duke failed to be consistent losing to lower seeded teams such as Kansas, Virginia Tech, Florida State, Louisville, NC State, Syracuse, and Miami, all notable teams which can give one reason to think, Duke’s ACC Tournament run was luck. But, what if it wasn’t? During those unfortunate loses, like aforementioned, Duke was plagued with the injury bug with their head coach out (during that little ugly spell and back to back loses) which didn’t give the boys consistency, and in turn, not much direction from the famed HC. But what you saw in the ACC tournament is what Coach K recruited… a team of All Stars and his ability to win big games.
Seeding matters in terms of match-ups, understandable, but what seeding doesn’t do is determine your fate and ability to win it all. Duke is capable of taking over the NCAA tournament and with this star-studded team… take home the trophy.