Duke faces Oral Roberts in first round of NCAA Tournament after ACC Championship win

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Duke faces Oral Roberts in first round of NCAA Tournament after ACC Championship win
Duke basketball

Duke basketball has turned its fortunes around just in time for March Madness, the most exciting time of the year for college basketball fans. After winning the ACC Tournament Championship for the 22nd time, the Blue Devils, with a 26-8 record, have been seeded No. 5 in the East Region of the NCAA Tournament. They will kick off their campaign against No. 12 Oral Roberts in Orlando, Florida, on Friday, with Purdue being the East’s No. 1 seed.

Despite facing early-season injury woes that sidelined key players, Duke persevered under first-year head coach Jon Scheyer, and the young squad has matured and gelled just in time for the NCAA Tournament. Duke enters the tournament on a nine-game winning streak that includes impressive victories over NC State, Miami, and Virginia, all of whom had previously defeated Duke in the regular season. Additionally, the Blue Devils pulled off an important victory against their archrivals, UNC.

During this run, junior guard Jeremy Roach has been Duke’s leading scorer, averaging 14.8 points, with freshman center Kyle Filipowski right behind him at 14.5 points per game and 8.3 rebounds per game. Freshmen Tyrese Proctor and Dereck Lively have also increased their contributions and efficiency over the winning streak, with Lively averaging 7.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks, and Proctor averaging 10.1 points and 4.3 assists per game.

In a post-game interview after Duke’s recent conference championship victory, Coach Scheyer praised his team’s resilience in the face of adversity. “I think for us, it was hard just to get the continuity,” he said. “And so not only are each of these guys growing every single day, every single week as players, but then when you don’t have — when you have certain guys out, it’s hard to build as a team. So these guys just stuck with it.”

Duke fans are hoping that the team’s late-season surge will carry them through March Madness and ultimately result in a deep tournament run.

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