Duke basketball: Bracketology bestows Blue Devils with good omen

Duke basketball forward Wendell Moore (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
Duke basketball forward Wendell Moore (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /

Could a projected seed portend a Duke basketball success story next season?

As of this week’s updates to the ESPN Bracketology with Joe Lunardi, the 2020-21 Duke basketball squad remains a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. If that prediction proved accurate, then it would represent only the third time in history that the Blue Devils have been a No. 2 seed in the same year Indianapolis hosts a Final Four (2021 will mark the eighth Final Four in Indy altogether, all coming since 1980).

The first time Duke entered the Big Dance as a No. 2 seed with Indianapolis as the intended final destination was 1991, coinciding with the program’s first of now-five NCAA crowns (the Blue Devils were a No. 1 seed in each of their other four title seasons). And, of course, next spring just so happens to signal the 30th anniversary of those 1990-91 champions.

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Plus, for those who subscribe to the superstitious artform of equating meaning to such numbers, consider Duke has won two of the past three national titles in years ending in the numeral one (1991, 2001). Going one step further with this “Paint Duke’s Future by Numbers” exercise, Mike Krzyzewski has averaged exactly one natty every six years across the 30 seasons since his first, and next season just so happens to be exactly the sixth since his last one in 2015.

Last but not least, Duke has cut down nets on the past two occasions when the Final Four was in Indianapolis (2010, 2015), which were the only two times it took place inside Lucas Oil Stadium, the site next season. So that’s three of five Duke titles coming in Indy, accounting for half of the six that the NCAA has handed out in that city since 1991.

A frightening sight for Duke basketball fans in the Round of 64

Granted, stats also say that Joe Lunardi’s exact bracket at the moment has zero chance of being the exact official one come March. But the Blue Devils might be thankful for that fact in light of Lunardi now pitting them in their opening round against No. 15 seed Stephen F. Austin — a new addition to the bracket with the recent update — the same mid-major that famously snapped Duke’s 150-game non-conference home win streak back in November.

Lunardi has Villanova as the No. 1 seed in Duke’s East Region. Gonzaga, Virginia, and Baylor are the other three top seeds. Wisconsin, Kansas, and Michigan State round out the two-line. In addition to Duke and Virginia, six more ACC teams are in the mix: No. 5 seed Florida State, No. 5 seed Louisville, No. 5 seed North Carolina, No. 8 seed Miami, No. 11 seed Syracuse, and No. 11 seed Clemson.

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