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Record: 24-6, 15-3
The Hurricanes were at the top of the World just a few weeks ago when they were 22-3 and the No. 2 team in the country. Now, it's a little different as they have lost three of their last five games. Two of those losses were against the bottom of the barrel teams in Wake Forest and Georgia Tech. Sure, Miami has a nice home win over Michigan State earlier in the season, but they got destroyed by Arizona on a neutral court.
Since they've started to slip up, many people are starting to doubt their chances to advance in the Big Dance and for good reason. Their defense hasn't been as good and their shots haven't been falling as much. Shane Larkin runs this team, but it's going to be on the rest of the lineup to help out. The Hurricanes are currently projected as a three-seed and could be targeted for upset potential.
Record: 27-4, 14-4
Everyone is basically giving Duke this tournament after what they did in Chapel Hill in their last game. Somehow, the Blue Devils have still not lost with Ryan Kelly in their lineup. It's going to take a lot for that to happen because Kelly did not lose a step while he was out. He's shooting 9-of-16 from three-point range since returning and not only gives Duke another offensive threat, but a viable big man on the defensive end.
With the way they are playing right now, it's hard to see how anyone in this tournament will be able to beat them. A likely rematch with North Carolina awaits in the semifinals and then Miami (FL) could be waiting for them in the finals. With Kelly in the lineup, those teams cannot (should not) beat Duke.
Record: 22-9, 12-6
The Tar Heels are still a very dangerous team even though they were just demolished by the Blue Devils. That game showed more of how good Duke is, rather than anything bad on UNC. Before that game, North Carolina won six straight games and looked like an overall better team due to a smaller lineup change. It's unlikely they'll get by Duke in the semis, but what about the NCAA Tourney?
UNC is currently floating around as a seven or eight seed and could easily pull some upsets in the Round of 32. Not many can stick with the combined pace and size of James Michael McAdoo and Reggie Bullock. It's going to take a quality team to knock them out.
Record: 20-10, 11-7
The Cavaliers will likely get NC State in the quarterfinals which is a must-win game for them. They are currently listed as one of the last four teams out of the tournament and a loss will definitely not be good. The problem for Virginia is that they are a power home team. They have nice wins over Duke, NC State and UNC, but all of those came at home. Their road wins are few and far between (only two in conference play).
In their last neutral site game, Virginia lost to Old Dominion, a team that's currently 5-25. There's not a whole lot of trust surrounding this team when they leave their home arena.
Record: 22-9, 11-7
It was a long time ago that the Wolfpack were projected to win the ACC. They finished with an 11-7 record and have a 5-seed in the conference tourney, not exactly what was expected. Like most teams, NC State has had trouble on the road, but losses at Wake Forest and Florida State are unacceptable if they ever wanted to win the conference.
Still, this is a team that could be a seven or eight seed in the Tourney. They made it to the Sweet 16 last year as an 11-seed. Guess what? They have pretty much the same roster that's led by C.J. Leslie. If you are a one or two seed, this is a team you don't want to see in the Round of 32.
As mentioned earlier, it's going to be really hard for anyone to beat Duke with the way they are playing. North Carolina should be able to give them a better fight in a potential third meeting in the season, but the Blue Devils have the advantage. If Miami (FL) figures out their game, they also pose as a threat to Duke, but don't put your money on that.
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