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Duke men's basketball awarded No. 4 seed in NCAA tournament's West Region

The Blue Devils face UNC Wilmington Thursday in Providence, R.I.

<p>Freshman Brandon Ingram will make his Big Dance debut against&nbsp;UNC Wilmington Thursday.</p>

Freshman Brandon Ingram will make his Big Dance debut against UNC Wilmington Thursday.

The Blue Devils' road to the Final Four will run through the West.

Duke was awarded a No. 4 seed when the NCAA tournament field was revealed Sunday evening on CBS. The Blue Devils will open up first-round action Thursday against 13th-seeded UNC Wilmington at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, R.I., at 12:15 p.m.

After Thursday afternoon's 84-79 overtime loss to Notre Dame in the ACC tournament quarterfinals, the Blue Devils (23-10) will have had a full a week to rest and recover as they gear up for the Big Dance. Freshman Brandon Ingram has played at least 36 minutes in 13 of his last 15 games, and will need to enter the NCAA tournament as fresh as possible, because his workload will not be getting any lighter. Ingram exploded for 22 points Wednesday against N.C. State but shot just 5-of-16 in the loss to the Fighting Irish.

The Seahawks (25-7) won the Colonial Athletic Association tournament, grabbing the automatic bid from regular season champion Hofstra. Three UNC Wilmington players average in double-figures, led by Chris Flemming's 16.1 points per game.

Sophomore Grayson Allen will return to the NCAA tournament with the spotlight now squarely on him, rather than on his classmates like it was a season ago. Allen exploded onto the national stage at the 2015 Final Four, with a big dunk in the second half against Michigan State setting the stage for his 16-point outburst two nights later against Wisconsin to help the Blue Devils cut down the nets.

Duke fell to Notre Dame in last year's ACC tournament as well, but bounced back from that 10-point loss to navigate through the NCAA tournament to reach the Final Four for the 12th time under head coach Mike Krzyzewski.

A win against the Seahawks would set up a Round of 32 matchup against either No. 5 Baylor or No. 12 Yale. The Blue Devils defeated the Bulldogs at Cameron Indoor Stadium back in late November.

Oregon holds the No. 1 seed in the region, and Oklahoma is the No. 2. The West Regionals will be held in Anaheim, Calif.

The week between games should also give graduate student Marshall Plumlee more time to adjust to playing with the protective mask he donned against Notre Dame after breaking his nose against the Wolfpack.


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