The college basketball gods — or at least ESPN’s Joe Lunardi — want to see Maryland play Duke.
The unbeaten Terps, who will go after their 11th straight victory to start the 2019-20 season Tuesday at Penn State after narrowly averting a loss to Illinois at home Saturday, went up a spot to become the No. 1 seed in the East in the latest NCAA tournament bracketology released Monday.
According to Lunardi, Maryland and Duke would begin their journey toward a possible showdown at New York’s Madison Square Garden in the Elite 8 together at the Greensboro (North Carolina) Coliseum, site of two of the three Atlantic Coast Conference tournament titles for the Terps — in 1984 under Lefty Driesell and in 2004 under Gary Williams.
Along with Maryland, Louisville (South), Ohio State (Midwest) and Kansas (West) are Lunardi’s other No. 1 seeds.
The Terps and Blue Devils, who have not played since Maryland left the ACC after the 2013-14 season, could have met in last year’s Sweet 16 at Capital One Arena in Washington. The Terps lost in the second round in Jacksonville, Florida, on a last-second shot by LSU’s Tremont Waters.
None of the games turned out to be close. The No. 3 Terps beat the Fighting Irish, 72-51. No. 10 Duke beat No. 11 Michigan State, 87-75, in East Lansing and unranked Purdue walloped No. 5 Virginia, 69-40, in West Lafayette, Indiana.
The Terps stayed unbeaten at 10-0, matching the best start in school history since 1998-99 by beating Illinois, 59-58, Saturday.
Trailing by 15 points early in the second half, senior guard Anthony Cowan Jr. tied the game with a 35-foot 3-pointer with 19 seconds to go and won it with a free throw with 2.1 seconds remaining, forcing a turnover and then getting fouled.