Published: Tue, March 14, 2017
Sports | By Brett Lawson

NCAA Tournament 2017: Strengths and Weaknesses for Top Contenders

NCAA Tournament 2017: Strengths and Weaknesses for Top Contenders

Duke is 107-35 in the tournament with NCAA Championships in 1991, 1992, 2001, 2010 and 2015.

The top-seeded Wolf Pack (28-6) claimed the league's automatic bid and took home their first conference tournament title since 2006, when they were in the Western Athletic Conference.

Now the Matchups I have my eyes on in the first round.

CDA News' look at the NCAA tournament continues with the No. 2 seed in the East Regional, the Duke Blue Devils. They played North Carolina head-to-head twice in the rivalry games (more on that in a minute), something most other contenders didn't have to do.

Check all of them out below. In 2012, that team was Missouri, and the Tigers fell to a Norfolk State Spartans team that had the resume of a No. 16 seed.

The Wynn and Westgate SuperBook has Duke as the favorite at 5-1, while William Hill's Nevada sportsbook has North Carolina as the favorite at 13-2, and MGM's sportsbook lists Kansas as the top title contender at 6-1.

Yes, North Carolina won the ACC.

UNC had tough losses against IN and Georgia Tech earlier IN the season, but it still makes a strong case for a No. 1 seed. In doing so, I now believe they have moved into the final #1 seed, surpassing North Carolina and holding off Kentucky (who still plays in the SEC final today) and Arizona. We know about the ACC dominance that included wins over all of the top teams in the conference at least once, but let's not forget about the out of conference 71-56 convincing victory over Wisconsin in Hawaii.

#3 Florida State vs. #14 FGCU Orlando, Fla.

Duke shouldn't have a problem in their first two rounds, as Troy should be its easiest test, followed by either facing SC, who struggles to score, while Marquette can definitely score, but gives up a lot of points. Expect Duke to be a No. 2 seed when the bracket's revealed.

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Once again it was up to Notre Dame to honorably represent the Big East transplants.

Jevon Carter had 18 points for West Virginia.

- In the losses at Florida State and Louisville, senior big man Amile Jefferson was out.

Middle Tennessee, a year after upsetting Michigan State as a 15 seed, is back and could easily pull off another upset over Minnesota. For example, the No. 8 team in KenPom and the No. 20 team in the AP Poll is a 10-seed, which is insane.

Iowa State is a big-time sleeper, and could creep up on Kansas.

Now, obviously, KenPom is not a be all to end all metric, but the Shockers are still better than a 10-seed.

Louisville (7-2, 1-1) pulled away from there, opening the second half with three straight goals before Duke could find its footing.

The other five teams: North Carolina (RPI 3, Pom 4, BPI 3, KPI 7, RPI SOS 12); Gonzaga (8, 1, 2, 3, 76); Kentucky (5, 4, 10, 4, 15), OR (6, 16, 13, 11, 49) and Arizona (3, 22, 23, 5, 32).

No. 8 seed Arkansas minus-1 vs.

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