The UNC-Wilmington Seahawks toppled Hofstra in overtime of the Colonial Athletic Conference's final, 80-73, winning a league that ranked ninth in Ken Pomeroy's rankings this year. Kevin Keatts' club is sneakily dangerous this year, and Mike Krzyzewski has every right to feel anxious entering Thursday's first-round game in Providence, R.I.
No. 13 seed Wilmington's plan of attack involves three-point shooting and assiduous outside defense. The Seahawks aren't the biggest club in the field -- though C.J. Gettys stands over 7'0 -- but they will run and check their opponents to death. They forced 11 Hofstra turnovers in their conference championship, and Craig Ponder led all Seahawks scorers with 20 points.
For UNCW to unseat the No. 4 Blue Devils, though, they're going to have to score a mountain of points. The Blue Devils are sixth in KenPom's offensive rating with 119.3 points per 100 possessions. Duke scores 81.5 points per game -- good for 17th in the country -- led by college basketball's greatest villain Grayson Allen's 21.6 points per outing.
Duke's senior center Marshall Plumlee contributes 8.2 points and 8.6 rebounds per game, and it's his inside presence that looms over Wilmington's small ball prerogatives. Gettys can match him in pure stature, granted, but Gettys only averages 15.7 minutes per game. As the Blue Devils' anchor down under, Plumlee averages double that.
Either Keatts' personnel and bench habits will change, or he'll roll the dice that his Seahawks can run Duke ragged around the perimeter on both ends Thursday.
How to watch:
Tip-off: Thurs., March 17 at 12:15 p.m. ET, Dunkin Donuts Center, Providence, R.I.
Online streaming: NCAA March Madness Live