Bracket outlook for Duke, North Carolina

From ESPN - February 8, 2018

As Duke and North Carolina approach Act 1 of their annual passion play, something seems amiss. Neither is a No. 1 seed in Bracketology.

The Blue Devils, admittedly, were on the top line as recently as last weekend. Then they found a way to lose to a St. John's team that was winless in the Big East. Suddenly everyone from the head coach on down began questioning Duke's staying power.

North Carolina, meanwhile, has had a fairly bumpy ride with last year's NCAA trophy. Not only did the Tar Heels suffer perhaps the worst-ever home loss by a defending champion -- insert obligatory Wofford shoutout here -- but they already have five losses in ACC play. With four of their last six ACC games on the road, including the Duke rematch, more are likely.

Yet history suggests we ignore the present and focus on the big picture. The chance of the 2017-18 season ending without at least one of these teams making a sizable imprint is extremely remote. And by "sizable" we mean No. 1 seeds and Final Four appearances.

There have been 34 tournaments since the NCAA expanded its championship field in 1985. In 24 of those years, at least one of these giants has been a No. 1 seed. In two more years (1998 and 2005), both made it to the top line.

Think about that for a minute. In any given Duke-Carolina game, the odds we are seeing at least one No. 1 seed are over 70 percent. There is not a rivalry in any sport with that kind of sustained excellence and frequency.

How March might look


Continue reading at ESPN »