Now that the 2014-2015 college basketball season is in the rearview and the Duke Blue Devils are basking in championship glory, it’s time to look at what’s next for Duke before basketball fans go into hibernation awaiting the 2015-2016 season. (Just a hint, the Blue Devils may have the recipe for winning back-to-back titles.)
This was another great match-up pitting a 4-seed in Maryland and 5-seed in West Virginia together with the winner getting tournament-favorite Kentucky and a chance to change the course of history. In a game that was back and forth through the first half, West Virginia was able to pull away in the second for a 69-59 win.
The game started how Ohio State wanted it to start. You couldn’t have asked for a better half of basketball. Arizona came in as a 2-seed and completely dominated its first match-up against Texas Southern but today was a different story going against the highly under-rated Buckeyes and D’Angelo Russell. Russell has stepped into the national spotlight by leading the NCAA in points per game by a freshman. And if you can remember Ohio State sent Arizona packing two years ago in the West Regional semifinals, but it didn’t happen this time despite a great effort from Ohio State. Arizona pulled away late for a 73-58 win.
If you remember correctly, America was stunned that UCLA was even in the field this year. Motivation? Maybe. UCLA jumped out to an early lead in the first half on the shoulders of Bryce Alford, who went 9-of-11 from 3-point range. Alford was draining threes and controlling the tempo of the game as SMU looked like it had just gotten out of bed and was late for class. Larry Brown, SMU’s head coach is suffering from bronchitis and early on it felt as if his players were a little under the weather as well. UCLA took a 4 point lead into halftime.
When looking at this year’s NCAA March Madness Tournament bracket, it’s hard not to automatically think Kentucky versus the field. Well … take these facts into consideration:
- Indianapolis has hosted the Final Four seven times in the past and Kentucky has been in attendance one time … and lost.
- The ACC has six teams in the field this year with an average seed of a little over 3.5. Yes, one conference with basically six 4-seeds.
- The ACC has teams distributed in all four regions of the bracket.
Here is why the Final Four in Indianapolis could be an ACC Tournament, Round 2.
Since the inception of the North Carolina and Duke rivalry, blue-blooded hatred has run through not only the state of North Carolina but through America. Although the Tar Heels dominated the matchup in the early years, Duke and Coach K have made the two games each year very competitive since the early ’60s. Tonight, the two bitter rivals go head-to-head for the first time this season.
The ACC has five teams in the Top 25. The top of the league is very good. But after that? Maybe not so much. With a huge game next week between Duke and North Carolina (isn’t every meeting between those two teams a big deal?), there’s still a lot to be sorted out in one of the strongest conferences in the nation.