The Latest: ACC gets 3 No. 1 seeds, Duke, Virginia, UNC
The Latest on Selection Sunday for the NCAA Tournament (all times local):
The Atlantic Coast Conference has a bit of history: For the first time the conference has three No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament.
The ACC had league tournament champion Duke as the top overall seed. Virginia and North Carolina shared the conference’s regular-season championship and claimed No. 1 seeds as well.
That’s only the second time a league has managed three No. 1 seeds. The other time came in 2009 when the Big East had Louisville, Connecticut and Pittsburgh — though the Huskies were the only team to survive their bracket and reach the Final Four that year.
Virginia is the top seed in the South bracket, while UNC is on top in the Midwest.
Belmont ended up on the right side of the bubble.
The Bruins earned their first at-large bid in program history and will face Temple in a First Four game in the East Region. Belmont is making its eighth tournament appearance, the last coming in 2015.
Belmont and Murray State shared the Ohio Valley Conference regular-season championship, but lost to the Racers in the conference tournament title game. Belmont was ranked 47th in the NET rankings and had a 2-2 record against Quadrant 1 teams.
Virginia has another No. 1 seed. Now the Cavaliers will aim to avoid a repeat of last year’s stunning and unprecedented upset.
The Cavaliers are the second overall seed in the field of 68 and will headline the South Region bracket. They open Friday in Columbia, South Carolina, against Gardner-Webb — which won the Big South Conference title.
Virginia became the first No. 1 seed ever to lose to a 16-seed last year, falling to UMBC in a moment now etched in tournament lore. The second-ranked Cavaliers won a share of the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title but fell in the ACC Tournament semifinals against No. 12 Florida State.
Michigan State ended Michigan’s two-year reign in the Big Ten Tournament. Its reward was to be a No. 2 seed in the East bracket with overall No. 1 Duke.
The sixth-ranked Spartans beat the 10th-ranked Wolverines 65-60 on Sunday shortly before the field unveiling began.
Michigan State and Duke last met in an NCAA Tournament in 2015, when the Blue Devils won in the Final Four on the way to Mike Krzyzewski’s fifth NCAA title.
Duke’s run to the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament title with a healthy Zion Williamson was enough to make the Blue Devils the No. 1 overall NCAA Tournament seed.
The Blue Devils will open in Columbia, South Carolina, on Friday against the winner of a First Four game between North Carolina Central and North Dakota State.
Williamson was the ACC Tournament most valuable player after a dominating three-game run in Charlotte, which showed Duke is again the team that spent a national-best seven weeks at No. 1 in the AP Top 25 this season.
There were plenty of regular-season champions that stumbled in their conference tournaments and saw someone else claim that league’s automatic tournament bid.
That could have an impact on the strength of the bracket and which bubble teams make it into the field of 68.
Teams like VCU in the Atlantic 10, South Dakota State in the Summit League and Sam Houston State in the Southland Conference lost as top seeds in their tournaments. That opened the door for St. Louis (No. 103 in NET rankings), North Dakota State (No. 222) and Abilene Christian (No. 154) to earn bids, respectively.
In other leagues, upsets led to surprising teams earning bids behind the NCAA locks in those conferences — which reduced the number of slots for bubble teams like Indiana, North Carolina State and TCU.
The 68 teams have been determined. Now, it’s just a matter of who they’ll be playing in March Madness.
Duke looks like a shoo-in for a No. 1 seed when the bracket for the NCAA Tournament is revealed Sunday night.
Others vying for the top spots include Virginia, North Carolina, Gonzaga, Tennessee and possibly even the winner of the Big Ten title game between Michigan and Michigan State.
On Saturday night, Duke, led by freshman sensation Zion Williamson, won the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament and positioned itself as the favorite in Vegas to win it all when the nets come down at the Final Four on April 8.
The Blue Devils are an early 9-4 favorite.
The tournament starts Tuesday with a couple of play-in games, then gets into full force Thursday and Friday with 32 teams playing each day at eight sites around the country.
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