Duke made a somewhat atypical request ahead of this year’s NCAA tournament. The Athletic’s Seth Davis confirmed ESPN’s Wright Thompson report that the Blue Devils asked to be placed in the Midwest region.
When landing a top seed, Duke usually opts to play in the East region, allowing them to play closer to home. However, the Midwest will emanate from Chicago, Mike Krzyzewski’s hometown.
Source confirms to @TheAthleticCBB what ESPN's Wright Thompson first reported: Duke has requested to be placed in Midwest Regional (Chicago) instead of East (Philly). Chicago is Coach K's hometown. Higher seed normally goes to closest region but school decides preference.
— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) March 3, 2022
David Worlock, NCAA Director of Media Coordination, explained the procedure.
“For clarity, every DI school has been asked, IF you are the OVERALL No. 1 seed, which first/second-round site and which regional site is preferred,” Worlock wrote. “If you aren’t the overall No. 1, your submission goes in the trash and bracketing principles are used.”
For clarity, every DI school has been asked, IF you are the OVERALL No. 1 seed, which first/second-round site and which regional site is preferred. If you aren't the overall No. 1, your submission goes in the trash and bracketing principles are used. https://t.co/xgtUhYTmhc
— David Worlock (@DavidWorlock) March 3, 2022
Duke has climbed to No. 4 in the national rankings amid a seven-game winning streak. That gives the Blue Devils a puncher’s chance of earning the NCAA tournament’s top overall seed.
However, most fans don’t know the minutiae of NCAA regional aligning. Also, a lot of them simply don’t like Duke.
Some questioned Coach K’s ego upon reading the news.
oh wow, mike krzyzewski is making college basketball about himself again. i for one am shocked https://t.co/CIr5uj2Ze9
— Rock Chalk Blog (@RockChalkBlog) March 3, 2022
Remember, this entire thing isn’t about him, though. 😂😂😂 https://t.co/2hOmAvCH62
— Whitt Carter (@whittcarter) March 3, 2022
Others wondered if Duke wanted any other special accommodations.
Does he get to pick their opponents too? https://t.co/CU9UlSNmx9
— Nick (@Nick_Russell1) March 3, 2022
Did he say who he wants to play in the 1/2 round? https://t.co/oz14RcikBq
— Scott Cockerell (@drewnicks21) March 3, 2022
Meanwhile, USA Today‘s Dan Wolken suggested that vitriol against Duke and Coach K led fans to overreact to fairly routine protocol.
It’s been awhile since a rather banal situation involving Duke generated so much anger. Glad we could do this one more time before K goes https://t.co/2F3WaT1QbR
— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) March 3, 2022
Before getting this request honored, Duke will have to close the regular season strong against long-time rival North Carolina on Saturday. Coach K’s squad would then need a strong ACC tournament showing to land the Big Dance’s top seed.