During Sunday night's selections show, the NCAA Selection Committee awarded the Duke Blue Devils with the number #1 seed in the South region, while relegating ACC regular season champion Virginia Cavaliers to a #2 seed in the East region. Both teams sport impressive resumes and have been near the top of the polls all year. While the Blue Devils defeated the Hoos in their only head to head meeting back on Jan 31st, Duke did not win the ACC regular season title or the tournament title. How historic of a slight is this?
Since 1979, when the NCAA started using seeds, there have been 148 possible #1 seeds. This is only the eighth time a team has earned a #1 seed despite not winning the regular season or tournament title. Here is the list of those instances:
In six of those instances the conference winner also got a #1 seed so there was no slight. The only other time a team got hosed like UVA was in 1989, when the Indiana Hoosiers won the BIG 10 and received a #2 seed but the Illinois Fighting Illini got a #1 seed instead. So it is only the second this has happened in 148 instances.
This is rare in ACC history as well. This is only the eighth time in 37 years that neither the ACC regular season nor tournament champion earned a #1 seed. In seven of those previous instances the regular season or tournament champion earned the highest seed among ACC teams anyways. The one exception was in 1990 when Clemson won the regular season and got a #5 seed and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets only got a #4 seed from winning the tournament. Guess which school somehow got a #3 seed that year without winning either? No surprise it was Duke. Here is that ACC History:
Apparently winning conference titles does not matter in the eyes of the selection committee if you have D-U-K-E on the front of your jersey.