‘Tis the season for all basketball fans as Christmas comes in March, arguably the best postseason in sports. This year, three of the number one seeds come from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Duke has been seen as the favorite all year and with Zion Williams back in the fold, they once again look like the team to beat. SportsRadioAmerica.com breaks each number one seed heading into the tournament.
Duke 29-5, 14-4 in ACC
Besides losses without Zion Williamson, Duke’s road to a number one seed was seen since the beginning of the season. The injury to Williams hasn’t stopped Duke from looking like the best team in the country. Their three-point shots could be problematic as they’ve made 26.4 % from distance since their battle against UVA. While their three-point shooting has been horrible, their physically overwhelming play remains their calling card. They play the physical brand of basketball with a level of discipline that rarely sends opposing teams to the charity stripe.
University of Virginia 29-3, 16-2 in ACC
In two losses against Duke, the only other team to score more than 69 points against UVA’s defense was Maryland. This is no surprise as the team has posted one of the best defenses every year over the past decade. The way UVA executes late-in-shot clock forces opponents to be almost perfect during their possessions. Unlike other UVA teams which rely solely on defense, this Virginia squad boasts one of the best three-point shooting teams with three players hitting at least 40% from distance. Virginia is 7-6 under Tony Bennett during March Madness, but haven’t yet reached the Final Four. Will this be the year offense meets defense and UVA get over the hump?
Gonzaga Bulldogs 30-3, 16-0 in WCC
The West Coast Conference championship game didn’t go the way Gonzaga wanted after winning 21 consecutive games. No longer are a storied Cinderella team, the Zags are one of the top candidates to win it all every year. Gonzaga has the most efficient offense in the nation. The Bulldogs have two legitimate All-Americans in Rui Hachimura and Brandon Clarke and that backcourt combo sure can ball. During March Madness, these All Americans could rise to take over the game and lead their team to the Promised Land.
North Carolina 27-6, 16-2 in ACC
This Tar Heels team is similar to the one that won it all two years ago. They’re loaded with talent. It took some time for them to find their flow after losing their leading seniors as inconsistency plagued them during the first half of the season. However, the second month of the season was another story. UNC won 14 of their final 15 regular-season games. But, what could break UNC is their three point defense. Opponents shot better than 42 percent from three eight times and made at least 10 triples. North Carolina lost three of those games and if a team gets hot from the land of three, UNC is in trouble.