After a home loss to NC State in late January, it was fair to wonder if this year’s talented group of Duke Blue Devils were ever going to reach the pinnacles set before them in November. Most preseason bracket projections established Duke as the No. 1 overall seed, a prohibitive favorite to win another National Championship. Then the injuries mounted, on the court and on the bench. Following the NC State defeat, Duke had lost three of four games and looked more like a middle-of-the-pack ACC group than a title contender.
Now, turn the page. Since that loss to the Wolfpack, the Blue Devils have reeled off six straight ACC wins, including three on the road – at Wake Forest, at Notre Dame, and last night at Virginia. In less than a month, Duke has risen to 9-4 in the ACC, back among league contenders. They’ve also taken a climb on today’s Seed List – claiming a No. 3 seed in the bracket, opening in Greenville. If you fell asleep on the Blue Devils, it might be time to wake up. It looks like Duke is back in play for a top-three seed on Selection Sunday.
Bubble Picture …
In the absence of distinct separating factors along the cutline, it was time to reconvene some advanced metrics. Those models continue to favor the likes of Clemson, Wichita State, and Kansas State – despite the Wildcats’ recent streak of Big 12 losses. For now, take your pick among the final 8 teams (Last IN, First OUT). You can make cases for and against each of them. Championship Week could well turn into a series of play-in games unless two or three teams from the group (or elsewhere) separate themselves in the next couple of weeks.