The No. 16 Hampton Pirates haven't had the best luck when it comes to 2011 NCAA Tournament Bracket seeding lately. When they tip-off against No. 1 Duke at 3:10 p.m. on Friday (truTV), at least they have a chance to play one of the big boys right off the bat. The bad news, is that they're in what's considered an almost un-winnable scenario. You might be tempted to skip this game on the 2011 NCAA Tournament Schedule, but remember, they call it March Madness for a reason.
As for Duke, they enter the NCAA Tournament for the second-straight season as a 1-seed. And for the second-straight season, a lot of college basketball fans don't think the Blue Devils deserve that distinction. That didn't seem to bother Coach K's squad too much last year when they won the National Championship and we should all know by now not to underestimate Coach K in the NCAA Tournament. Their bracket has it's potential pitfalls (Texas, UConn) but it also has what's considered the weakest 2-seed (San Diego State), making this bracket very winnable or America's Non-Sweethearts.
The Hampton Pirates are back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006. They were a 16-seed then as well, but they ended up losing the play-in game back before playing the play-in game was trendy. Hampton finished second in the MEAC regular season but won the conference tournament to get here. They succeed based on tough defense and strong guard-play from juniors Darrion Pellum and Kwame Morgan, who both average 16+ PPG.
Star Watch: Kyle Singler is fine when the Devils have the luxury to move him to four to punish the opponents slow footed power forwards. When the hybrid wing is tasked with playing the three due to size matchups evidenced by the UNC game, Singler struggles if he's checked by a similarly sized athletic wing (See Harrison Barnes). That said, the forward averaging 17 PPG will make an impact for the Blue Devils and likely be the diference between a Sweet Sixteen exit and a Final Four run.
Prediction: Duke should win this one running away, 88-65, but not without a little scare from the Pirates early on.
Need help picking your bracket? Check out SB Nation's full 2011 NCAA Tournament bracket predictions, picking every game of March Madness, or our region by region breakdowns for East Region, West Region, Southeast Region, and Southwest Region.
Did your team miss the 2011 NCAA Tournament? We have you covered: check out the 2011 NIT bracket.