Duke gets South No. 2 seed, headed to Greensboro

JOEDY McCREARY AP Sports Writer Published:

Duke has been awarded the No. 2 seed in the South Regional of the NCAA tournament.

As expected, the selection committee on Sunday gave the Blue Devils a short trip for the tournament's opening weekend, sending them to Greensboro where they will face 15th-seeded Lehigh on Friday in the second round.

The winner will face either seventh-seeded Notre Dame or 10th-seeded Xavier next Sunday with that winner advancing to Atlanta in the round of 16. They could meet third-seeded Baylor at that stage.

The Blue Devils (27-6) are in the tournament for the 17th straight season and the 28th time in 29 years. They're a No. 2 seed for the first time since 2009. That's also the last time they spent the opening weekend in Greensboro.

The Greensboro Coliseum has been a second home in recent years for the Blue Devils, who have won 15 straight games -- including the 2010 and '11 Atlantic Coast Conference tournament titles -- in the arena located roughly an hour's drive west of campus. They are 41-9 in that building under coach Mike Krzyzewski.

For a change, though, they aren't headed there on a winning streak.

Duke, which had won 10 of 13 ACC tournaments including three in a row from 2009-11, lost to Florida State in a semifinal one day after the Blue Devils looked vulnerable in a four-point victory over Virginia Tech in the quarterfinals.

They went to Atlanta as a long shot to receive their third straight No. 1 seed after last weekend's loss to North Carolina gave the ACC's regular-season title to the Tar Heels, and Krzyzewski seemed to accept during the league tournament that a No. 2 seed was the best-case scenario for his team.

A major reason for the Blue Devils' struggles was the absence of key forward Ryan Kelly, who missed the ACC tournament after he sprained his right foot during practice. The 6-foot-11 junior's ability to knock down perimeter shots creates matchup problems for Duke's opponents.

Team officials have said Kelly was to be re-evaluated Monday, and Krzyzewski said during the league tournament that playing in a Friday-Sunday setting -- instead of Thursday-Saturday -- allows for an extra day to help Kelly get healthy.

"We're very encouraged about where Ryan is at," Krzyzewski said. "It gives us time. We feel he chance to be ready, if we play on Friday, to give us some help."

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AP Sports Writer Charles Odum and freelancer Amy Jinker-Lloyd in Atlanta contributed to this report.