From 68 to 16: March Madness 2017 First Weekend Primer

5 of 17

Pod #4 – Greenville, South Carolina

Colors Location Record RPI
#2 Duke Blue Devils Blue, White Durham, NC 27-8 6
#7 South Carolina Gamecocks Garnet, Black Columbia, SC 22-10 43
#10 Marquette Golden Eagles Blue, Gold Milwaukee, WI 19-12 61
#15 Troy Trojans Cardinal, Silver Troy, AL 22-14 150

#7 South Carolina vs. #10 Marquette — Friday, 9:50 p.m., TBS

Line: South Carolina (-1.5)

FiveThirtyEight: South Carolina (57%)

Sindarius Thornwell leads the Gamecocks with 21 points and 7.2 rebounds per game, but have lost six of their last nine games. Marquette is the top three-point shooting team in the country (43%) and feature five double-digit scorers, but Marquette’s inconsistent defense has led to 12 losses. South Carolina gives up 18 points fewer than Marquette averages, so it all depends on how well the Golden Eagles shoot.

#2 Duke vs. #15 Troy —Friday, 7:20 p.m., TBS

Line: Duke (-19)

FiveThirtyEight: Providence (97%)

Troy went 10-8 in the Sun Belt but won four straight to win the conference tournament and punch their ticket to March. The Trojans can score some points and shoot the ball well, but Duke has as much talent as any team in the field, with five players averaging double digits, led by Luke Kennard (20.1 points per game). They won eight of their 12 games against top-25 teams—including three in a row to win the ACC tournament—and Coach K is one of the best in the game.

Second Round Outlook

Duke is the clear favorite no matter who they face in the second round. Marquette has a chance in any game they play because of their ability to score, but the Blue Devils have more depth and talent than anyone else in this pod and should be expected to advance to the Sweet 16.