FULLERTON (CNS) - Cal State Fullerton received the 15th seed in the West Region of the NCAA men's basketball tournament and will face second-seeded Duke in a first-round game Friday in Greenville, South Carolina.
Oddsmakers have made Duke a 17- to 17-1/2 point favorite. The ABC News-owned data prediction website FiveThirtyEight.com gives the Titans a 3% chance of winning.
Cal State Fullerton (21-10) is the overall 62nd seed in the 68-team tournament. The Blue Devils (28-6) are the overall sixth seed.
Since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, No. 2 seeds are 135-9 against No. 15 seeds in the first round, with Duke suffering one of the losses, 75-70, to Lehigh in 2012. The most recent time a second-seeded team lost to a 15th-seeded team was in 2021 when Oral Roberts defeated Ohio State, 75-72.
The Blue Devils will be making their 44th appearance in the NCAA tournament and first since 2019 when they lost 68-67 to Michigan State in the East Region final. The 2020 tournament was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Duke did not make a postseason appearance last season when it was 13-11.
This will be the 36th and final time Duke's Mike Krzyzewski will coach in the tournament, breaking a tie with Syracuse's Jim Boeheim for most appearances by a coach. Krzyzewski holds the NCAA record with 97 NCAA tournament wins.
The 75-year-old Krzyzewski announced on June 2 that he would retire at the conclusion of the 2021-22 season. Associate head coach Jon Scheyer was appointed to succeed Krzyzewski the same day.
The Blue Devils enter the tournament with losses in two of their last four games -- 94-81 to North Carolina March 4 in Krzyzewski's final game at Cameron Indoor Stadium and 82-67 to Virginia Tech in the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship Game Saturday in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.
Duke is led by Paolo Banchero, who was selected as the ACC Freshman of the Year and to the All-ACC first team. The 6-foot-10-inch forward leads the Blue Devils with 17 points and 7.8 rebounds per game.
Duke's roster includes one player from Southern California, Spencer Hubbard, a 5-foot-8-inch sophomore walk-on guard from Harvard-Westlake School who has one point in six minutes, 16 seconds over three games.
The Titans earned their first tournament berth since 2018 and fourth all-time with a 72-71 victory over Long Beach State in the final of the Big West Championship on Saturday night in Henderson, Nevada, overcoming a 14-point first-half deficit and not allowing the Beach to get off a shot on the game's final possession.
Both of Cal State Fullerton's NCAA tournament victories came in their first appearance, 1978. In a 32-team tournament, the Titans defeated New Mexico, 90-85, and San Francisco, 75-72, before a 61-58 loss to Arkansas in the West Region final in a game they had a chance to take the lead with less than 10 seconds to play, only to have Keith Anderson be stripped of the ball as he tried to drive the lane.
Because the West Region final was the last for the four regional finals to be played, then-Cal State Fullerton coach Bobby Dye quipped that his team had made the “Final Five.”
This will be the first game between Duke and Cal State Fullerton.
The game is set to begin at 4:10 p.m. and will be televised by CBS. The Duke-Cal State Fullerton winner will face the winner of the game between seventh-seeded Michigan State and 10th-seeded Davidson in a second-round game next Sunday.