The Big Dance came very close to a historic upset on Thursday with Syracuse’s decision to play terribly for 35 minutes against North Carolina Asheville, but Friday produced one of the bigger upsets in NCAA Tournament History as #2 seed Duke lost to Lehigh, 75-70. It was only the sixth time that a 15 seed has beaten a #2 (the fifth time was earlier Friday when Norfolk State defeated Missouri). The end result, however, is that Duke is out of the tournament.
Non-Duke ACC fans will savor this–but Lehigh actually had more free throw attempts than Duke. Significantly more–37-23. But the real reason for the Lehigh win was the play of C.J. McCollum. The country’s fifth leading scorer contributed 30 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists. Duke had no answer for him. Plus, Duke was 6 for 26 from three-point range. In losing, Duke squandered 19 point games by Mason Plumlee and Austin Rivers. The upset should not come as a total surprise as this year’s edition of Duke simply lacked the magic of prior seasons. Losing at home to Florida State and Miami is just not typical. And, in atypical fashion, Duke was eliminated from the Big Dance in the opening round for only the second time in 16 years.
So with Duke gone, someone keep
Dukie V Dick Vitale on suicide watch.