Duke basketball earns primetime slot in NCAA Tournament opener

Duke basketball guard Jeremy Roach and forward Kyle Filipowski (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Duke basketball guard Jeremy Roach and forward Kyle Filipowski (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

The Duke basketball program earned a primetime slot for its NCAA Tournament opener. 

The biggest draw in college basketball remains the Duke basketball program and television executives know it.

The Blue Devils will open up its NCAA Tournament run in primetime on Thursday night.

Duke, the ACC Tournament champions, was given a No. 5 seed on Selection Sunday and sent to Orlando, Florida to play No. 12 seed Oral Roberts, the champions of the Summit League.

Tipoff for the highly anticipated Round of 64 matchup will be at 7:10p.m. ET. on CBS.

Jon Scheyer’s team is riding a nine game winning streak entering the Big Dance and appear poised to make a deep run into March Madness coming off its Final Four appearance a season ago.

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However, the Blue Devils only return one key piece from last season’s team in junior captain Jeremy Roach.

Roach battled a toe injury that kept him sidelined earlier in the season but since returning has slowly started to form into the player that continuously came up with clutch baskets during the postseason.

The point guard led Duke with 23 points in the ACC Championship against Virginia and baskets late in the regular season finale against North Carolina plus Miami and Virginia in the conference tournament show that he is ready for his encore showing on the sports biggest stage.

Duke basketball freshmen getting throw into spotlight

Playing for the Blue Devils puts a different kind of pressure on a player, specifically freshmen, but the NCAA Tournament will shine a new light on the young Duke stars.

Freshman forward Kyle Filipowski has been the most consistent player for Duke this season and was named the ACC Rookie of the Year after averaging 15.0 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.2 steals per game during the regular season.

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The 7-footer was also named as the MVP of the ACC Tournament but freshmen Tyrese Proctor and Dereck Lively are starting to come into their own after struggling to adjust to the college game earlier in the season.

Dariq Whitehead has battled injury for a majority of the season but has settled into his role off the bench as the Duke rotation has been cut to eight players.

The spotlight has not been too bright for these young Blue Devils this season but now they will have to perform in the biggest month of the sport.

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