Duke Basketball: NCAA tournament preview

The Duke Basketball team has a three seed in what is probably the toughest region this season.  The Midwest has Wichita State and Michigan as the one and two seeds.

This isn’t a great bracket for Duke to be in; they have a tough challenge their very first game in the NCAA tournament.  This should be a great March Madness, and could challenge Duke in every game in this bracket.

Duke has to start out with Mercer in their first game on Friday.  This is a team with a great guard in Langston Hall, and could give Duke some trouble if they are not aware where he is on the floor.  Duke will be pushed in the first game of the tournament, and this could help them going forward.  This is still a game that they should win with their depth, and how much more talent they have.

Their second game should be against Massachusetts, who played in a very good Atlantic Ten.  This team could push Duke at the end of the day as well, but this is another game that the Blue Devils should be able to win.  This will get them in to the Sweet Sixteen when it starts to get interesting for them.  They will be under the radar this season as a three seed, but could make a run at a Final Four.

In the Sweet Sixteen, a Michigan team that Duke beat earlier in the season could be lurking.  Michigan had Mitch McGary in the first meeting, but they will not have him in this matchup.  This should only benefit Duke in the rematch between these teams, and should make for a good game, but one that favors the Blue Devils.

[Previewing the entire East region]

The one seed and the four at the top of this bracket are Wichita State and a very good Louisville team.  These are two really good teams and Duke lost to Louisville in the Elite Eight last season.  This region is a very tough one- any of the top four seeds have a chance to reach the Final Four, but all of them could get upset in the first two rounds.  Duke will not have an easy road to the Final Four, but it could make them ready for a tough matchup once they get there.  They will need everyone to step up, and make sure that they are ready for every game.

Duke should be fine in this tournament because they are a better team than what people think.  They have challenged themselves throughout the season, and they should be very prepared for it.  This team is valuable in certain areas of their game, but they have players like Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood who can take over a game, and make big shots when they need to.  Duke will be fine, and get back to the second weekend again, but after the first weekend teams might be able to exploit their weaknesses.

  • Lars Fairchild

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