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Duke ready for roller-coaster ride out West


March 17
A few hours after winning the ACC tournament for a record fifth straight time, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski must have been on an emotional roller coaster. The environment in Greensboro Coliseum was simply amazing, a Final Four atmosphere that was awesome with a capital A!

Mike Krzyzewski
Then Coach K saw his West Region bracket in the NCAA Tournament.

Let me tell you, he must have gone bananas. No. 1 seed Arizona. No. 2 Kansas. No. 4 Illinois. No. 5 Notre Dame. No. 7 Memphis. Are you kidding me? The West is absolutely loaded. That's some reward for winning the ACC championship (Duke's the No. 3 seed).

Krzyzewski has done an incredible job this season. How many schools could lose the likes of Jay Williams, Carlos Boozer and Mike Dunleavy and win the ACC tournament again?

If Dahntay Jones, J.J. Redick (who put on a remarkable show, hitting big shot after big shot Sunday) and company can get on a roll, watch out. But it won't be easy with Kansas and Arizona in the way.

One thing that helps players like Redick is that he won't face ACC competition. After playing guys over and over again, there becomes a familiarity in defending, so Redick may be able to get more open looks.

There were a number of surprises when the brackets came out Sunday. Boston College and Seton Hall were left out, while Auburn got in despite a non-league schedule that was a joke.

I love coach Cliff Ellis, but why should the Tigers be rewarded for playing the likes of Wofford, Georgia State, Denver and North Texas? Auburn also lost big against Western Kentucky and Western Michigan.

I was shocked that the committee put Kentucky and Arizona in the same half of the draw so they would meet in the national semifinals instead of the championship game, if they got that far. Those two schools have been the powerhouses all season long in college basketball.

Pittsburgh went 26-4, won the Big East's West division in the regular season and won the Big East tournament championship. Texas lost in the Big 12 quarterfinals. I thought the Panthers should have been a No.1 seed in the East, and coach Ben Howland's team earned it.

Instead, not only is Pittsburgh a No. 2, but it's placed in the same region as the best team in America, Kentucky. If Pittsburgh was the top No. 2 seed, shouldn't that keep them away from coach Tubby Smith's Wildcats until the Final Four?

I was surprised to see Connecticut as low as a No. 5 and Maryland as a No. 6 in the South. Those are two very dangerous teams in that region.

Some things seem so simple ... I just don't understand how some of these decisions are made.

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