Alabama State already knew it was in, armed with the automatic bid given to the SWAC tournament champion. The only suspense was whether the Hornets (16-14) would have to survive a play-in game to make the field of 64.
They needn't have worried, instead drawing a No. 16 Atlanta Regional seed and a daunting first-round matchup with No. 1 Duke (27-5) in Raleigh, N.C. The Hornets executed an impressive early-season about-face, winning 13 of their last 15 games after a 3-12 start.
"Duke is the most storied basketball program at the collegiate level over the last 10 years," Alabama State coach Rob Spivery said. "There will be a lot of national attention on this game because it's Duke, and I'm sure some of that is going to fall on us.
"No one's going to give us a chance to win but as long as we don't go in there in awe of Duke and go in there timid, I think we can compete."