Duke Basketball: 5 Reasons Why the Blue Devils Still Deserve a No. 1 Seed
T-minus four days and counting until Selection Sunday.
Three teams—Ohio State, Kansas and Pittsburgh—are virtual locks for three of the four No. 1 seeds dished out when the brackets are announced.
And who will fill the final coveted spot as the top-seeded team in one of the four regionals?
Duke, that's who.
And here's why.
1. Season Resume
The naysayers point to Duke's recent regular-season losses to Virginia Tech and North Carolina, which made the Blue Devils 1-2 in their last three games before the conference tournament.
Why doesn't that matter? Because the NCAA Tournament selection committee recently abandoned the "what have you done for me lately?" mentality several years ago.
It used to be a team's record in the final 12 games of the season was looked at as a barometer of how the team was playing and what seed it was worthy of.
Not any more.
These days, the selection committee prides itself on looking at a team's full body of work. And despite tough road losses in recent weeks, Duke has put together an impressive resume, featuring seven wins against RPI top-50 teams.
2. A Favorite To Win ACC Tournament
Duke beat Maryland 87-71 Friday night to reach the conference tournament semifinals, while Carolina struggled against No. 9 seed Miami.
If history is any indication, the Blue Devils should be serious favorites to topple No. 6 seed Virginia Tech, make it to the ACC finals and take home yet another ACC Tournament crown.
Duke has won nine out of the last 12 conference tournaments, a testament to coach Mike Krzyzewski's ability to turn it up a notch in the postseason.
3. Other Big Names Struggling
Pitt fell in the Big East tournament. BYU has been struggling as of late with starting center Brandon Davies out for the season. Purdue got blown out by bubble team Michigan State.
Yes, Duke lost two out of their last three regular-season games, but other teams in line for a No. 1 seed have as well.
As things stand now, Ohio State and Kansas are the two clear No. 1 seeds. Other than that, with things looking a little murky on the top line, Duke still has the best overall resume out of the potential top seeds remaining.
If they continue their winning ways in the ACC Tournament, their standing will only solidify.
4. Nolan Smith
Nolan Smith is playing some of the best basketball in the country this season, especially coming down the stretch. He racked up 30 points against UNC in the regular-season finale despite the Blue Devils' loss in Chapel Hill.
The committee loves top performers, and Nolan Smith may have just enough left in the tank to take Duke on another magical run to the Final Four.
5. Kyrie Irving's Potential Return
Kyrie Irving may not play in the ACC Tournament this weekend, but signs continue to point to his imminent return for the Blue Devils in the NCAA Tournament.
Before Duke's game against Maryland, Irving took to the court in full workout gear and ran drills with Duke trainers. It's highly doubtful Coach K would trot out one of the hottest names in college basketball without knowing he has a potential of returning.
The tournament committee has been known to reward teams who have chinks in their armor and who have a star player returning, just as they've been known to downgrade teams who've lost a major piece of their arsenal—see BYU.
Both scenarios put Duke in a good position to get the nod from the committee on Sunday for one of the last remaining No. 1 seeds.