Duke Basketball

Was Race a Factor In Duke's NCAA Seeding?

DURHAM, NC - MARCH 06:  A general view during the North Carolina Tar Heels versus Duke Blue Devils during their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on March 6, 2010 in Durham, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Curtis ClontzCorrespondent IIMarch 15, 2010

When you think about Duke what comes to mind?  One of the best coaches of all time, one of the best academic institutions in the country, and of course winning. 

When the Selection Show wound down on Sunday the Duke haters came out in force.  From mass media to homie blog boy, everyone was saying that Duke got the most favorable draw and was treated like the overall number one seed in the tournament.

I won't lie, prior to the show I expected Duke to get a top seed.  They are clearly one of the top four teams in the nation, and not only won a share of the ACC Regular Season Title, but they also won the ACC Tourney.

what I did not expect was for the Devils to be the top seed in the South and play the winner of the play-in game.  An honor that I assumed went to the overall top seed.

At first glance I was unsure about how their bracket met their style.  To be honest several teams scare me including Nova, The Irish, and Baylor.

As I started breaking down the bracket further I came across an article posted on another website (Author and link later).  The post could have been created by a UNC grad, it had that type of feel.  None of that bothered me one but until I came across this exact quote... 

"On a more serious note, Duke (and North Carolina to a lesser degree) score higher on the old “eyeball” test. Fewer tattoos and more white guys.

I just made many of you uncomfortable. Sorry. But it’s a fact.

It’s no different from Tiger Woods’ brown skin in a traditionally white-skin sport sending golf ratings (and sponsorship dollars) skyrocketing. Coach K and his band of Boys Next Door are the Great White Hopes of Hoops. Three of Duke’s five starters are white. Their top two scorers are white."

Read more: http://www.kansascity.com/2010/03/13/1813273_ncaa-caves-to-tv-pressure-by-going.html#ixzz0iI2faAoW, written by Jason Whitlock.

I am not sure why this exact comment got my attention, but it did.  He also went on to say some other off the wall things, but I don't agree with him one bit.

To say that their race had anything to do with them getting a favorable road to the Final Four is simply laughable.

Duke received a number one seed due to their win/loss record and RPI.  Color of skin had nothing to do with either of these things.  It just so happened that they got rewarded for winning 11 of their last 12 and winning their conference.  By the way, so did Kentucky and Kansas.  Kansas may have a tough bracket but they will only have to play one of those "so called" toughies.

If you want to blame the pairings, blame it on the success.  Duke is one of the premier teams in the sport.  While teams struggle to make the tourney and win 15 games, they seem to always win 20 and accomplish this feat year in and year out.

Want to blame something, blame Coach K for becoming more of a household name because he assembled, coached, and led Team USA back to a gold medal in the Olympics.

Blame Christian Leattner for being one of the most succesful College Basketball players of all time, but also blame Grant Hill for that pass.

Blame Mike Dunleavy for making three huge shots, but also blame co-captains Nate James (now assistant coach), and Shane Battier.

In the early 90's Duke was the best team in basketball.  In 2001, they dominated their way to a National Title.  If the 2009-2010 team has any say so they will add another banner in the rafters at Cameron, but it will have nothing to do with race.  Simply, that they were another great Duke team that finished on top. 

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