The return of Zion Williamson has worked wonders for the Duke Blue Devils.
The phenomenal freshman led Duke to the ACC Tournament title on Saturday night. On Sunday, the NCAA selection committee rewarded the Blue Devils with the No. 1 overall seed in this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
The Blue Devils were joined on the top line by ACC rivals Virginia, who earned the top seed in the South region; and North Carolina, which received the top seed in the Midwest region — the first year since 2009 that three teams from the same conference received No. 1 seeds.
Gonzaga, the winners of the West Coast Conference regular season title, received the fourth No. 1 seed, in the West region.
The tournament starts Tuesday with the first of four play-in games in Dayton then gets into full force Thursday and Friday with 32 teams playing each day at eight sites around the country. The Final Four will be held in Minneapolis on April 6 and a champion will be crowned two days later.
Mike Krzyzewski will begin his question for his sixth title as Duke coach on Friday in Columbia, S.C., against the winner of a play-in game between North Carolina Central and North Dakota State.
Defending national champion Villanova earned the sixth seed in the South region after winning the Big East regular season and tournament titles. The Wildcats will begin their title defense on Thursday in Hartford, Conn. against West Coast Conference tournament champions Saint Mary’s.
Virginia will try to avoid a reprise of last year, when they lost to UMBC and became the first No. 1 seed to ever lose to a 16-seed. The Cavaliers, who won a share of the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title but lost in the ACC Tournament semifinals to Florida State, will start their redemption tour against No. 16 seed Gardner-Webb on Friday night in Columbia.
Michigan State, which shared the Big Ten regular season title with Purdue and knocked off in-state rival Michigan in the conference tournament final moments before the matchups were announced, was given the No. 2 seed in the East and a first-round game against Bradley on Thursday in Des Moines. That sets up the possibility of an Elite Eight matchup between the Spartans and No. 1 overall seed Duke.
The last time Michigan State and Duke met in the NCAA Tournament was in 2015, when the Blue Devils blew out Michigan State in the Final Four en route to Krzyzewski’s fifth NCAA title.
This is a developing story; check back for more updates.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.