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ESPN’s Current Bracketology Gives Duke A Tough Road To Advance

Not that it matters. You have to beat everyone in your path to advance.

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NCAA Basketball: Duke at Syracuse
Feb 23, 2019; Syracuse, NY, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward RJ Barrett (5) passes the ball as Syracuse Orange forward Marek Dolezaj defends in the first half at the Carrier Dome.
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

We haven’t gotten too much into this just yet but ESPN’s latest bracketology goes like this for the ACC:

  • Duke is #1 in the East. (MD, MU)
  • Virginia is #1 in the South. (UK)
  • UNC is #2 in the Midwest.
  • Florida State is #5 in the West
  • Louisville is #5 in the Midwest
  • Virginia Tech is #6 in the East
  • NC State is #10 in the West
  • Syracuse is #8 in the Midwest

It’s probably pointless to speculate on informed speculation but in Joe Lunardi’s scenario, Duke would face a prospective second-round game against Maryland and a potential Elite Eight match with Wojo’s Marquette.

Virginia Tech would have a very intense game against VCU in the first round. Virginia would face a potential Sweet Sixteen game against Nevada which could be absolutely fascinating and a possible Elite Eight game against Kentucky. Don’t overlook a potential matchup with Iowa State and former Cav Marial Shayok.

Florida State would run into Texas Tech in its second game which would be the end of FSU. NC State would have to get through Washington and then Michigan State, both doable, then most likely face Houston or Kansas State.

By the way, Texas Tech would get Gonzaga in the Sweet Sixteen which would also be a great game. Texas Tech is an extraordinary defensive team. Beating them first of all won’t be easy and secondly will wear you down. If the committee has any sense of adventure and curiosity, they’ll find a way to put Texas Tech in Virginia’s bracket. That game could be 32-29 and easily be the most intense game of the year.

We would also remind you that after last year’s historic loss to UMBC, Virginia is seriously motivated.

Syracuse would face Texas and then Tennessee, if the Vols retain the #1 seed.

If Louisville’s current trajectory continues, the Cards would face Wisconsin in the second round, if they get past Murray State. They are not playing like a team that will be in long though.

Finally UNC would get Iowa in the second round and if you haven’t been paying attention, Hawkeye Jordan Bohannon has emerged as one of the best clutch players since Christian Laettner. He’s amazing.

Under the current scenario, UNC has the easiest path to the Final Four of all the four #1 seeds. However, it would be fun to see Rick Barnes get a crack at UNC again. His games against Dean Smith were incredibly intense, with a memorable ACC Tournament upset and Smith literally daring Barnes to hit him during a game.

Smith is no longer with us of course but if you think Barnes wouldn’t like a shot at UNC with his greatest team ever, think again.

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