3. Duke vs. 14. Mercer
Record: 26-8 Last 10: 7-3
Bid: At-large RPI: 6.
Best win: 79-69 against Michigan
Scouting the Blue Devils: Duke continues to labor on defense, and the backcourt pieces haven’t all clicked, but freshman forward Jabari Parker (19.2 ppg) and sophomore Rodney Hood (16.5 ppg) are good enough to carry the Devils into the Sweet 16.
They’ll survive Raleigh if: Parker and Hood continue to be the leaders and the defensive effort is consistent.
Record: 23-8 Last 10: 8-2
Bid: Automatic. RPI: 80
Best win: 79-76 at Mississippi
Scouting the Bears: Conference player of the year Langston Hall (14.7 points, 5.6 assists per game) leads team to first NCAA berth since 1985.
They’ll survive Raleigh if: A senior-oriented team can beat Duke and put together its own Florida Golf Coast-type storyline in the NCAAs.
6. Massachusetts vs. 11. Tennessee
Record: 24-8 Last 10: 6-4
Bid: At-large RPI: 20
Best win: 81-65 against New Mexico.
Scouting the Minutemen: Chaz Williams is just 5-feet-9, but he averages 15.6 points, 7.0 assists and is one of the nation’s top point guards.
They’ll survive Raleigh if: Their senior leadership and cohesion is the difference. UMass has started the same lineup every game this season.
Record: 22-12 Last 10: 7-3
Bid: At-large RPI: 41
Best win: 87-52 against Virginia.
Scouting the Volunteers: Tennessee returns to the tournament for the first time since 2011. Guard Jordan McRae averages 18.8 points and 2.6 assists.
They’ll survive Raleigh if: They’re fueled by the momentum of winning six of their past seven games, including the overtime win against Iowa in opening round.
1. Virginia vs. 16. Coastal Carolina
Record: 28-6 Last 10: 9-1
Bid: Automatic. RPI: 10
Best win: 75-56 against Syracuse
Scouting the Cavaliers: The strength of Tony Bennett’s fifth Virginia team is still its defense, but in guards Malcolm Brogdon (12.4 ppg) and Joe Harris (11.6 ppg) the ACC regular-season champions have the firepower to make a deep run.
They’ll survive Raleigh if: They continue to ride the high from winning the ACC championship and get balanced scoring. The defense will be there.
Record: 21-12 Last 10: 8-2
Bid: Automatic. RPI: 204
Best win: 76-61 vs. Winthrop
Scouting the Chanticleers: Coastal Carolina makes its third tournament appearance. Cliff Ellis is the fourth coach in history to take four teams to the tournament (Coastal, South Alabama, Clemson, Auburn).
They’ll survive Raleigh if: Ellis can devise a game plan to survive the Virginia defensive suffocation, then a possible letdown should the Chants upset Virginia.
8. Memphis vs. 9. George Washington
Record: 23-9 Last 10: 6-4
Bid: At-large RPI: 34
Best win: 73-68 vs. then-No. 5 Oklahoma State
Scouting the Tigers: Making fourth-straight NCAA appearance behind Joe Jackson (14.4 points, 4.6 assists), Michael Dixon Jr. (12.2 points).
They’ll survive Raleigh if: They can get out of the “daze” the Tigers said they had late in the season, losing three of their past five games.
Record: 24-8 Last 10: 6-4
Bid: At-large RPI: 29
Best win: 60-53 against Creighton.
Scouting the Colonials: Guard Maurice Creek (14.6 points) leads George Washington, which hasn’t been in the tournament since 2007.
They’ll survive Raleigh if: Their season form holds true when they shoot 45 percent or better from the field. They’re 18-1 this season at 45 percent or better.