Local teams in NCAA tournament


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Graphic design made by Aynsleigh Penland using Canva’s presentation software

Rhys Patterson, Sports Editor

Colleges from the state of North Carolina have a great history in the NCAA Tournament. As far as national championships go, UNC has six, Duke has five, and NC State has two. While not all the local teams are in the tournament this year, the ones that are will be looking to continue the success in March. 

The Duke Blue Devils with their first-year coach Jon Scheyer put up a very successful season of 26-8, which includes a current winning streak of nine games and winning the ACC tournament. Duke is led by dynamic freshmen Kyle Filipkowski and Tyrese Proctor, along with veteran guard Jeremy Roach.  The Blue Devils earned the No. 5 seed in the East region and a first-round matchup against 12-seeded Oral Roberts in the first round. There is a potential rematch for Duke in the Sweet 16 against top-seeded Purdue if both teams happen to make it that far. Don’t be surprised if this Blue Devils team goes on another deep run in the tournament this year. 

Wolfpack fans were sweating down the stretch but were ultimately relieved to hear their name called early during the selection show. The Pack put together a very respectable season of 23-10 which is good enough to give them the No. 11 seed in the Big Dance. NC State fought through injuries all season and behind great guard play from Jarkel Joiner and Terquavion Smith, was able to be one of the last teams selected into the tournament. The Pack will be taking on the No. 6 seed Creighton Bluejays in the first round on Friday at 4 p.m. If the Wolfpack can catch fire from behind the arc, it wouldn’t be shocking if they put together a solid run in the tournament. 

After a Cinderella run last year that saw UNC make it all the way to the national championship before losing to Kansas, not many expected the Heels season to turn out this way. UNC now has the distinction of being the only preseason number one to ever miss the tournament. The team was never able to find their footing throughout the season and go on a big winning streak that would have most definitely put them in the tournament. A final record of 20-13 saw the Heels as being one of the first four teams left out. Now that they have declined an invitation to the NIT, their season is officially over.

Wake Forest is a team that lived on the bubble for most of the year but ultimately found themselves on the wrong side of it after some untimely losses at the end of the season. The Demon Deacons put together a solid season overall, finishing with a record of 19-14, but a lack of quality wins and some brutal defeats is what ultimately kept them out. The team did not receive an invitation to the NIT, so their season is also over.

Regardless of how one feels about these different teams, NC teams doing well in March is good for the basketball scene in the area. Local fans will be very interested to see how Duke and State do in this year’s edition of the tournament.