No. 2 Duke (26-7) will battle No. 15 Iona (20-13) in the Midwest Region of the 2018 NCAA Tournament in Pittsburgh on Thursday, March 15.
Yet again a favorite heading into the Big Dance, Duke will look to stave off upset-minded Iona. The Blue Devils rattled off consecutive victories over North Carolina and Notre Dame before falling to the Tar Heels in the ACC Tournament. Iona, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference champions, finished the season on a three-game win streak.
Find game time, information and a preview below:
Duke-Iona game time, details
Time: 2:45 p.m. ET
Date: Thursday, March 15, 2018
Location: PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh
Which TV channel is Duke-Iona on?
Duke-Iona will air live on CBS.
How can I watch Duke-Iona online?
Duke-Iona basketball preview, keys to the game
Duke, led by super freshman forward Marvin Bagley III (21.1 points per game) and senior guard Grayson Allen (15.7 ppg) will waltz into the NCAA Tournament with dreams of another Final Four berth.
After winning the National Championship in 2014-15, Duke fell in the Regional Semifinal in 2015-16 and saw a second-round exit just last season.
Alongside Bagley III and Allen will be freshman guard Gary Trent Jr. (14.3 ppg), freshman forward Wendell Carter Jr. (13.8 ppg) and freshman guard Trevon Duval (9.9 ppg).
Bagley III (11.5 rebounds per game) and Carter Jr. (9.3 rpg) should provide quite the presence at the rim, and will look to make life difficult for Iona’s playmakers.
The Blue Devils have wins over No. 2 Michigan State, No. 7 Florida, No. 24 Florida State, No. 25 Miami, No. 11 Clemson and No. 9 North Carolina. Their only losses to ranked teams came at the hands of No. 2 Virginia, No. 21 North Carolina and No. 12 North Carolina in the ACC Tournament.
Like Duke, Iona rode a total team effort into the NCAA Tournament.
Led by junior guard Rickey McGill (13.7 ppg), the Gaels pushed forward with sophomore forward E.J. Crawford (12.9 ppg), junior Roland Griffin (10.9 ppg), senior guard Deyshonee Much (10.8 ppg), junior guard Schadrac Casimir (10.4 ppg) and senior guard Zach Lewis (9.2 ppg) all chipping in along the way.
After going 11-7 in conference play, Iona blitzed through the MAAC Tournament, beating Manhattan by double-digits in the opening round before needing a last-second steal to stave off Saint Peter’s 65-62. The Gaels handled Fairfield 83-71 to win the conference title and claim a berth in the 68-team field.
Iona has just one win (1-12) in NCAA Tournament play, with the lone victory coming in 1980 against Holy Cross.
Duke comes into the Thursday matchup as heavy favorites, with ESPN’s matchup predictor giving the Blue Devils a 96.1 percent chance of winning.
The winner of Duke-Iona plays the winner of No. 7 Rhode Island and No. 10 Oklahoma.
If Trae Young and Co. manage to jump into the second round and Duke pushes past Iona, it could set up a great matchup.
According to the ACC’s official website, the conference is the winningest in NCAA Tournament history, with a 66 percent winning percentage. It is the only conference not to have a losing record in NCAA Tournament play since 1987. Two teams from the conference have won a national title in the last three seasons (Duke in 2015 and North Carolina in 2017).
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