Five answers for March Madness

Entering the tournament with the longest active winning streak doesn't guarantee success, but Vermont should at least be confident it can compete as its level of competition takes a major step up.

Duke, which was unranked at the beginning of the season, surprised some observers with such a high seed.

The Blue Devils posted road wins at Notre Dame and Virginia this season. As for the total, the number hit the board at 152 and has been bet up to 154.

Now as the 2017 NCAA Tournament starts, the former college coach breaks down the March Madness bracket, compares Duke and North Carolina as far as seeding, and explains what he is doing with the NBA's Detroit Pistons. The ACC has no shortage of such contributors in this year's NCAA Tournament. This will be the third time the Pirates face Duke in the NCAA Tournament, most recently with the Blue Devils winning 67-51 in 2013.

North Carolina. So good, even a loss to rival Duke in the ACC Tournament wasn't enough to knock them down from a No. 1 seed. A large contingent of SC fans made the trip for Friday's first round.

The Kansas Jayhawks have emerged as the top seed in the Midwest and as a strong +800 bet to win the NCAA Tournament, ahead of the Kentucky Wildcats at +850 and the Gonzaga Bulldogs at +1000, while Arizona and UCLA are knotted at +1200.

Coach Tony Bennett orchestrates the nation's best defense, limiting opponents to 55.6 points a game. Kansas, Duke and Villanova are around 13,000 with Florida and MI - who are not top seeds - coming in at around 11,000 mentions.

The Trojans won a Sun Belt Tournament that looked like it all but belonged to top-seeded UT-Arlington. He's also made a team-leading 46 three-pointers.

"G's a mentally tough kid and he knows we need him in order to be the team we need to be". "You're a 1 seed, and so you're supposed to win it if you're the 1 seed, right?"

With the No. 2 seed in the Bridgeport Regional, Duke (27-5) begins the tournament at home, taking on Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament champion Hampton (20-12), the region's No. 15 seed, on Saturday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Even though top recruit Harry Giles hasn't lived up to expectations, the Blue Devils are still loaded. Adel was aggressive in the loss to Duke, scoring a team-high 21 points on 7-of-14 shooting in 38 minutes. The Wildcats led by just two, 24-22, before going on a run late in the first half. While he is averaging 20.1 points per game on 50 percent shooting and is connecting on 44 percent of his treys, he has an off-the-dribble game, complete with a crafty floater. The Shockers won 30 games.

Despite all their talent, the Blue Devils have one glaring weakness. The Blue Devils didn't have the most impressive regular season, but they have one of the best coaches in the game, and possibly the most talented team. If SMU beats their opening round opponent they will most likely be playing against the Baylor Bears, who I think are a fraud.

"We played to defeat the odds (this season)", said Duke junior guard Lexie Brown, a transfer from Maryland who is averaging a team-best 18.3 points.

The Blue Devils could have an especially hard time against teams like Villanova and Marquette, who put up a lot of points. They feed off it, and we feed off it as a team. Led by Mike Brey, the most underrated coach in America, they're just plain money this time of year. With three consecutive wins over top-20 opponents, the Blue Devils appear to be peaking at the ideal time. Sunday, they'll take a trip to SC. But also don't forget that nearly everyone you'll see is getting paid - some obscenely well - except the 10 players who are actually on the court at any given time. "Of course this year we're not going to be able to sneak up on anybody like we did last year".

  • Jo Lloyd