Bubble Watch 2021: Duke and Syracuse stay alive

  • ESPN Insider college basketball contributor
  • First began covering college hoops in 2004
  • Has written for Basketball Prospectus and the Wall Street Journal

In most years, the ACC tournament is a clash of basketball titans. The last time the event was played in its entirety, in 2019, the bracket showcased no fewer than three NCAA tournament No. 1 seeds — Duke, North Carolina and eventual national champion Virginia.

This year’s get-together at Greensboro Coliseum has a decidedly different feel. Scrappy underdogs with storied names are trying to play their way into the field of 68. Duke and Syracuse have advanced to the quarterfinals, where both the Blue Devils and the Orange will play opponents that are safely in the NCAA field.

Duke will face Florida State, and the task for Mike Krzyzewski’s group is quite simply to advance as far as possible. A win against the Seminoles might not be enough to ensure the Blue Devils are celebrating on Selection Sunday.

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