Duke earns No. 1 overall seed in men’s NCAA Tournament

‘‘They earned their right to be there."

The Duke Blue Devils took home the ACC Tournament trophy after beating Florida State in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday night. –Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

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.

‘‘They earned their right to be there,’’ said Stanford athletic director Bernard Muir, the selection committee chairman.

Advertisement

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 seed.

The Blue Devils will open East Region play Friday in Columbia, S.C., against the winner of a First Four game between North Carolina Central and North Dakota State to be played Tuesday night.

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.

Michigan State, which ended Michigan’s two-year reign in the Big Ten Tournament, was rewarded with the No. 2 seed in the East bracket.

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.

Virginia is the second overall seed in the field of 68 and the top seed in the South, while UNC leads the Midwest.

The Cavaliers will play an NCAA Tournament newcomer in Gardner-Webb on Friday in Columbia, S.C., while the Tar Heels open against Iona on Friday in Columbus, Ohio.

Virginia will aim to avoid a repeat of last year’s stunning and unprecedented upset, when it became the first No. 1 seed to lose to a 16-seed, falling to UMBC in a moment now etched in tournament lore.

Advertisement

Gonzaga is the fourth No. 1 seed. Headlining the West Region, the top-ranked Bulldogs will open against the First Four winner between Farleigh Dickinson and Prairie View A&M in Salt Lake City on Thursday

Big Ten runner-up Michigan is the No. 2 seed out West.

Close

Get the latest breaking news sent directly to your phone. Download our free app.