Coming into the ACC tournament, Duke looked like they were the best team in the country especially with Ryan Kelly back in the lineup. The Blue Devils were 18-0 with Kelly on the court and dominated every game leading up to postseason play.
The Blue Devils seemed like a sure lock to be a No. 1 seed, but then they were stunned in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament by Maryland. That loss has the Blue Devils right on the bubble of a No. 1 seed, but most people have them at a 2 seed and not a 1.
Those people have a great argument and Duke should not be a No. 1 seed. The Blue Devils played phenomenal with Kelly in the lineup, going 18-1. That is the team they will bring into the tournament and therefore should be the team evaluated for the most part by the selection committee.
Duke went only 9-4 with out Kelly in the lineup against the weaker part of their schedule. They had a couple of bad losses for a team competing for a top seed to go along with no real quality wins during those 13 games.
Conference tournaments are perfect for evaluating teams for the NCAA tournament. No matter if it is a bubble team or a team competing for a better seed, there is no better way to judge how a team would do in the NCAA tournament by how they do in their conference tournament.
In your conference tournament, you play your games on a neutral site in a win or go home scenario. In the NCAA tournament, it is the same way. You don’t get any home games and if you lose you are on your way home the next day.
Duke lost their first game of their conference tournament to a Maryland team who is most likely not even going to make the tournament. Therefore, they didn’t prove they could handle the pressure of a survive and advance game on a neutral floor enough to be a top seed.
They are a very good team and still might be the best team in the country, but that doesn’t mean they deserve a top seed after the performance they put out there in the ACC tournament.