Duke hopes to make a deep tournament run, but has to get by Troy first
The Duke Blue Devils kick off their NCAA tournament on Friday night when they meet the Troy Trojans at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greeneville, S.C. The game is a battle between conference champions as the Blue Devils hope to kick off a run to the Final Four.
Duke had all of the hype possible around it entering 2016. It was the top-ranked preseason team, and many believed it had a shot to run the table this season. It had a rough time in ACC play, though. It lost its conference opener to Virginia Tech, and lost four of its first seven ACC games. At one point it dropped out of the AP polls altogether.
Duke’s turbulent season included guard Grayson Allen getting himself involved in multiple tripping incidents, and at one point even receiving an indefinite suspension (that lasted all of one entire game). The Blue Devils won 12 of their last 15, though, and enter the tournament on a roll having just defeated Notre Dame in the ACC Championship.
Troy enters the NCAA Tournament on a six-game win streak, including an impressive run to be crowned Sun Belt champions, booking its spot in the NCAA Tournament. This is only the team’s second appearance in the big dance, its first coming in 2003. The Trojans won a Sun Belt Tournament that looked like it all but belonged to top-seeded UT-Arlington. But when the Mavericks fell to Texas State, the field was wide open and the Trojans capitalized, narrowly defeating Texas State in the conference championship.
This is the first-ever meeting between the two teams. Duke enters as a huge favorite, but memories of its first round exit against Mercer only three years ago remind the Blue Devils that nothing is guaranteed come March.
How to Watch:
Time: 7:20 p.m., March 17
Live Stream: NCAA March Madness Online