2011 March Madness: Does Duke Deserve a No. 1 Seed in This Year's Big Dance?

Gary SuggContributor IIFebruary 28, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 30: Nolan Smith #2 of the Duke Blue Devils gestures against the St. John's Blue Devils at Madison Square Garden on January 30, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

The Duke Blue Devils' most recent loss against Virginia Tech marks their second of the season while holding the No. 1 spot.

How does this diminish their March Madness credibility?

Duke currently holds the No. 4 spot in the AP standings. However, come tournament time, they might not be considered one of the top four teams in the country.

It doesn't help that successful Blue Devil teams in the past have been criticized as 'chokers' in the tournament. Since '98, the Blue Devils have entered the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament nine times as a No. 1 seed; out of those nine, the Devils made only four Final Four appearances.

What about their upcoming matchups with Clemson and North Carolina and the ACC Tournament?

It is no sure thing that the Blue Devils will end up with only three losses.

If not the Devils, then who?

The Pittsburgh Panthers are certainly in the talk. With the Panthers' three losses coming from respectably-ranked opponents, and a likely win in the Big East conference tournament, the Panthers would be my prediction to fill in the fourth No. 1 seed position.

If the Blue Devils receive a No. 2 seed, it might be for the best. Seeing it as a chip on their shoulder, seniors Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler will have more motivation to make a demanding run in this year's tournament.