The Duke Blue Devils have been favorites to win it all since the very first game against Kentucky. Coming into March Madness, nothing has changed. Duke earned the top overall seed in the tournament, which in theory, gives them the easiest run the to Final Four. Furthermore, who could be standing in their way of getting to the Final Four?

East Region

Round of 64

Duke has a date in the first round with NC Central or North Dakota State, who both have a record of 18-15, and a combined ZERO wins against ranked teams. Whoever Duke plays, it will get ugly quick unless Jones, Zion, Barrett, and Reddish forget to show up.

Round of 32

The Blue Devils’ second match-up will be against UCF or VCU. VCU sits at 25-7, and 0-1 against ranked teams. UCF on the other hand, sits at 23-8, and is 2-1 against ranked teams. The Knights split games with Houston, then took down Cincinnati. The challenge will be significantly better, but Duke should handle either team comfortably.

Sweet 16

Entering the Sweet 16 is where things will get interesting if everything goes to plan for the other teams. Duke will most likely have to go against either Mississippi State or Virginia Tech. Mississippi State went through the meat grinder SEC, where they played teams like Kentucky, Tennessee, Auburn, and LSU. The Bulldogs finished 1-5 in those games, but most of the came straight down to the wire, so they’ve proven that they can hang with some of the best in the nation. Virginia Tech also went through a murderer’s row in the ACC, going against teams like Duke, North Carolina, Virginia, and Florida State. The Hokies finished 2-6 versus ranked teams this year, but one of those wins being extremely important. They took down the Blue Devils, but it was without Zion Williamson. Vice versa, the Hokies were without one of their best players, Justin Robinson. This proves that not only can the Hokies give Duke a run for their money, but could very well take them down.

Elite 8

Finally, the Elite 8. Nothing comes easy in the Elite 8, unless you’re Loyola-Chicago. The most likely opponents Duke could run into at this point in the tournament by percentage chance are Louisville, Michigan State, and LSU. The Tigers from Baton Rouge could give the Blue Devils their toughest game yet if they were to meet. LSU is 4-2 against ranked teams this year. Their most notable victories are against Kentucky and Tennessee. With the combination of shooting and driving provided by Tremont Waters and Skylar Mays, the Tigers could give Duke some fits. This isn’t to mention Naz Reid, their 6’10 big man who is a tenacious scorer and defender. The Louisville Cardinals provide a different challenge to a team of Duke’s caliber. Using mainly a full-court pressure defense, the Cards could use turnovers and quick threes to take out Duke like they almost did at the KFC YUM Center earlier in the year. Louisville’s most notable win is against Michigan State, who they will likely face in the second round. It would’ve been Duke if the Cards had not blown a 20-point lead with about 10 minutes to go. Michigan State has been up-and-down most of the year, but have proven that they can beat anyone. The Spartans most notable wins come against Michigan in three separate games. With all of this being said, Duke has the easiest road to the Final Four, but their road is far from easy

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