The Duke Blue Devils will face-off with the North Dakota State Bison in the Round of 64. The Bison will look to upset the No. 1 overall.
In last years NCAA tournament the No. 1 overall seed was upset for the first time by a 16 seed. UMBC shocked the world when they blew out the Virginia Cavaliers.
The Blue Devils will look to break this streak and beat the North Dakota State Bison on Friday evening. Marques Bolden who suffered a knee injury in the last regular season game of the year will return to action on Friday. Mike Krzyzewski announced on Thursday that Bolden would play, but wouldn’t start and would be on a minutes restriction.
However, the Blue Devils received bad news after learning that Bolden would return to action. Krzyzewski announced that Jack White would be unlikely to play after suffering a hamstring injury. This injury could open up extra playing time for sharpshooters Alex O’Connell and Joey Baker.
The Blue Devils will have the star freshman Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, Cam Reddish, and Tre Jones. This will be the four freshman’s first NCAA tournament game. The freshman were all smiles and excited to play in their first game.
The North Dakota State Bison are coming off a 78-74, win over N.C. Central in the First Four play-in game. The Bison got off to an extremely hot start from the three-point line, before cooling down in the second half. Even after cooling off in the second half the Bison still finished nine of twenty from behind the arc.
The Bison will have to have another hot night from the three-point line to have a chance at upsetting the Blue Devils. They average 37 percent on year from the three-point line, which has them ranked 49th in the nation. The Bison are led by junior guards Vinnie Shahid and Tyson Ward. They have not had a problem scoring this year, but they have struggled to stop their opponents on defense. Their defense ranks 294th nationally and virtually let their opponents get any shot they want at will.
The Blue Devils will need to contain Shahid and Ward if they want to avoid an upset. They will also need to chase the Bison of the three-point line and make them finish over the Blue Devils athletic players in the post. The Blue Devils should be able to win their first game easy as the Bison might be suffering from fatigue.
The two teams will face-off on Friday, March 21 in Colombia, South Carolina. The game will be played at 7:10 PM ET and can be viewed on CBS.
Prediction: Duke: 87 – North Dakota State: 62