The independent news organization of Duke University

Duke men's basketball claims No. 1 overall seed in NCAA tournament

<p>Duke is the top seed in the 2019 NCAA tournament after winning all but one of its games at full strength and capturing the program's 21st ACC tournament crown.</p>

Duke is the top seed in the 2019 NCAA tournament after winning all but one of its games at full strength and capturing the program's 21st ACC tournament crown.

After 34 games and an ACC tournament title, Duke has showed time and time again why it is arguably the best team in the nation.

Sunday night, the Blue Devils were rewarded for their success as they get ready to begin a six-game run for the program's sixth national title.

Duke was handed the top overall seed by the NCAA selection committee Sunday evening, meaning the Blue Devils will go through Columbia, S.C., and Washington in order to get back to Minneapolis and the Final Four, a stage they haven't reached since 2015. The ACC got each of the top three overall seeds, with No. 2 going to Virginia in the South Region and No. 3 going to North Carolina in the Midwest. Gonzaga got the last No. 1 seed in the West Region.

“It feels great. It shows that all of our hard work is paying off, so let’s dance,” ACC Player of the Year Zion Williamson told GoDuke.com Sunday evening.

The Blue Devils could potentially see crosstown foe N.C. Central in the first round as a No. 16 seed Friday night at 7:10. The Eagles are playing North Dakota State in the First Four on Wednesday night.  If Duke avoids a colossal upset, it would face either No. 8 seed VCU or No. 9 seed Central Florida in the second round. UCF's head coach is former Duke legend Johnny Dawkins, and the Knights feature 7-foot-6 center Tacko Fall.

In the second weekend in Washington, Duke would potentially have to face ACC competitor Virginia Tech as the No. 4 seed not far from Blacksburg, Va. There generally aren't allowed to be two top-four seeds from the same conference in the same region, but it's impossible to avoid when a conference has five top-four seeds, which the ACC will accomplish with the Blue Devils, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida State and the Hokies all posting impressive seasons. No. 5 seed Mississippi State is another potential Sweet 16 matchup.

"One advantage we have is that there has been a lot of attention on us the entire year. For us, it is one game at a time," associate head coach Jon Scheyer told GoDuke.com. "Any time you look ahead, there is enough situations I have been through as a player or as a coach where you look ahead and you can get beat by anybody. 

"We always look at it as a two-game tournament. Friday you have to win and then you play Sunday, then you get your rest and preparation and get ready for the next week and that’s the way we are going to approach it.”

Looking ahead to the Elite Eight, the No. 2 seed in the East Region is Big Ten tournament champion Michigan State, and LSU earned the No. 3 seed with a tough first-round matchup against 14th-seeded Yale. Louisville is another ACC team in Duke's region, slotted as the No. 7 seed.

"It’s March Madness," freshman R.J. Barrett told GoDuke.com. "There will be a lot of crazy times and I just can’t wait to be a part of it.”

This is a developing story and will be updated as the bracket is revealed.

Comments