Duke Listed as Odds-On Favorite to Win East Region of March Madness Bracket

Jack White
Duke's Jack White hasn't made a 3-point shot since January 12th against Florida State. Photo by Hayden Schiff (flickr) [CC License].
  • Sportsbooks list Duke as the -200 favorites to win the NCAA Tournament East Region
  • Duke beat Florida State to win the ACC Tournament
  • The Blue Devils haven’t gone to the March Madness Final Four since winning the title in 2014-15

Can Duke be beaten in the East Region of the NCAA Tournament? Sportsbooks certainly don’t believe there’s much chance of that.

They’ve established the Blue Devils are overwhelming favorites to win the East Region.

Odds to Win East Region in 2019 March Madness

Team Odds to win 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament East Region
Duke -200
Michigan State +350
LSU +900
Louisville +1200
Virginia Tech +1300
Mississippi State +2000
Maryland +2500
VCU +4500
UCF +4500
Temple +7000
Saint Louis +7500
Yale +7500
Liberty +10000
Bradley +10000
NC Cental +17500
North Dakota State +17500

*All odds taken March 18.

The last two times Duke won its region, the Blue Devils also went on to capture the NCAA championship.

Beasts of the East

If you needed more evidence that Duke was legit, the Blue Devils provided it during the ACC Tournament. They ran the table, going 3-0 to improve to 29-5 on the season and beating Florida State 73-63 in the final.

Along the way, the Blue Devils avenged regular-season losses to Syracuse (82-74 quarterfinal win) and North Carolina (74-73 semifinal win).

Perhaps the best news for Duke from a long-term prognosis was the balanced effort that carried the Blue Devils to the ACC title. It wasn’t just the Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett show.

In the win over the Tar Heels, who’d beaten Duke twice this season while Williamson was injured, sophomore point guard Jordan Goldwire came off the bench to play a career-high 28 minutes and contribute four points, three rebounds, and two steals.

In beating the Seminoles, all four of Duke’s freshmen scored in double figures, including a career-best 18 points from point guard Tre Jones.

As if things weren’t going to be tough enough for the other 15 teams in the East Region, now there’s some evidence that Duke has depth.

Zion Is Flyin’

The biggest question mark facing Duke as the Blue Devils prepped for the ACC Tournament was the health of freshman forward Williamson, who’d missed five games with a knee injury.

The question was answered quickly. Williamson, the overwhelming Naismith Award favorite, averaged 27 points over the three tournament games. He poured in 31 points and grabbed 11 boards in the win over North Carolina. Williamson delivered a game-high 21 points against the Seminoles, and that came just one day after he went a record-setting 13/13 from the field with 29 points in an 84-72 win over Syracuse.

Most importantly of all, with the biggest tests of the season in front of him, Williamson displayed no signs of fatigue from his injury layoff.

The best player in the country on the best team in the country is rolling. That’s very bad news for every other team in the East Region.

Can Any Team Derail This Train?

The last two times Duke entered the NCAA Tournament as a No. 1 seed, in 2014-15 and 2009-10, the Blue Devils finished March Madness as national champions. Overall, Duke has won the NCAA Tournament four times as a one seed.

Well, they say on any day, any team can win, so let’s look at the East Region opposition and search for another contender.

Michigan State won the Big Ten. The Spartans are 28-6 and ranked ninth in the country.

No. 14 LSU went 9-1 on the road this season, but the Tigers were also 2-3 in neutral site games.

No. 11 Virginia Tech beat Duke 77-72 during regular-season play, but that was when Williamson was out.

No. 22 Louisville played Duke tough before losing 71-69 after a ludicrous 21-point second-half comeback.

Mississippi State is ranked No. 19, but is only the fifth-best team from the SEC.

Since 1985, 20 of 34 NCAA champions have been one seeds. Duke has a great chance to make it 21, and getting out of the East Region is just the first step.


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