Duke was still in the mix for a No. 1 seed entering Tuesday's road contest at Wake Forest. The Blue Devils ended the night with a loss in double overtime and fell back from a projected No. 2 seed to a No. 3 in the latest bracket projection. A No. 1 seed is officially off the table now.
It’s the second time in three games Duke was stunned by a lesser opponent on the road, having lost last week to North Carolina State by 22 points. The Blue Devils (23-5, 6 NET score, 7 SoS) also have a Quadrant 3 non-conference slip to Stephen F. Austin on their profile. That means that despite résumé-boosting wins over Kansas, Michigan State and Florida State, coach Mike Krzyzewski’s team still has some work to do in the final few weeks if it wants to vault back to the No. 2 line.
Wake Forest guard Andrien White (13) attempts to shoot between Duke guard Cassius Stanley (2) and center Vernon Carey Jr. during the first half at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum. (Photo: Jeremy Brevard, USA TODAY Sports)
The ACC isn’t as potent as it has been in years’ past — meaning there’s less of an opportunity to bolster credentials — so Saturday’s road contest against Virginia will be a rare opportunity to pick up a Quadrant 1 win. Currently, Duke only has four.
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Meanwhile, Creighton capitalized on Duke’s stumbles and ascended from the No. 3 line to a No. 2 seed. The Bluejays (21-6, 9 NET score, 9 SoS) have taken a firm grip of the Big East — the country’s toughest conference in the NCAA’s NET metric — and are quietly becoming a Final Four contender. Their nine Quadrant 1 victories are better than any other No. 2 seed, including Florida State, which just took command of the ACC with a win over Louisville on Monday.
► No. 1 seeds: Baylor, Kansas, Gonzaga, San Diego State.
► Last four in: Rutgers, Oklahoma, Utah State, Cincinnati.
► First Four out: Richmond, Georgetown, UCLA, Stanford.
NCAA tourney explainer:
- Quadrant 1 wins: Home games vs. 1-30 NET teams; Neutral-site games vs. 1-50 NET; Away games vs. 1-75 NET
- Quadrant 2 wins: Home games vs. 31-75 NET; Neutral-site games vs. 51-100 NET; Away games vs. 76-135 NET
- Quadrant 3 wins, losses: Home games vs. 76-160 NET; Neutral-site games vs. 101-200 NET; Away games vs. 136-240 NET
- Quadrant 4 wins, losses: Home games vs. 161-plus NET; Neutral-site games vs. 201-plus NET; Away games vs. 241-plus NET
Others considered for at-large bid (in order): Memphis, Arkansas, UNC-Greensboro, Texas, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Notre Dame, Purdue.
On life support (in no particular order): Virginia Tech, Tulsa, Utah, St. Johns, Furman, Oregon State, Minnesota, Clemson.
Multi-bid conferences: Big Ten (10), Big East (7), ACC (5), Big 12 (5), Pac-12 (5), SEC (4), AAC (3), West Coast (3), Atlantic 10 (2), Mountain West (2).
Leaders or highest RPI from projected one-bid conferences — (22 total): America East – Vermont, Atlantic Sun – Liberty, Big Sky – Montana, Big South – Radford, Big West – UC Irvine, Colonial – Hofstra, Conference USA – North Texas, Horizon – Wright State, Ivy – Yale, MAAC – St. Peters, MAC – Bowling Green, MEAC – North Carolina A&T, Missouri Valley – Northern Iowa, Northeast – Saint Francis (Pa.), Ohio Valley – Belmont, Patriot – Colgate, Southern – East Tennessee State, Southland – Stephen F. Austin, SWAC – Prairie View A&M, Summit – South Dakota State, Sun Belt – Little Rock, WAC – New Mexico State.
- Transition schools ineligible to participate: Cal Baptist, North Alabama, Merrimack.
- Banned from participating: Georgia Tech, Detroit.
Note: Mostly all statistical data is used from WarrenNolan.com. The NCAA's NET rankings are also a reference point.
About our bracketologist: Shelby Mast has been projecting the field since 2005 on his website, Bracket W.A.G. He joined USA TODAY in 2014. In his seventh season as our national bracketologist, Mast has finished as one of the top three bracketologists in the past six March Madnesses. He’s also predicted for The Indianapolis Star, collegeinsider.com and is an inaugural member of the Super 10 Selection Committee. Follow him on Twitter @BracketWag.
Follow college basketball reporter Scott Gleeson on Twitter @ScottMGleeson.
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