Michigan State Spartans face Duke Blue Devils’ challenge in NCAA tournament East Regional

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski talks to Zion Williamson during the first half of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament championship game in Charlotte, N.C., on Saturday. (AP photo)

By STEPHEN WHYNO
AP Sports Writer
WASHINGTON — Zion’s path to the Final Four goes through the nation’s capital.
Zion Williamson and Duke are the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Blue Devils sit atop the East Region, and their road to Minneapolis could include matchups with ACC rival Virginia Tech — which beat Duke without Zion — and Big Ten champion Michigan State.
But with Williamson and fellow freshman R.J. Barrett on their games, it’s worth wondering who will be able to keep up with the ACC Tournament champions.
Duke opens the NCAA Tournament in Columbia, South Carolina, against the 16th-seeded winner of the First Four game between North Carolina Central and North Dakota State.
SPARTANS’ PRIDE: Michigan State held off rival Michigan to win the Big Ten Tournament and rolls into a matchup with 15th-seeded Bradley unsure of Ahrens’ status. Guard Joshua Langford is already lost for the season, but the Spartans can still lean on Cassius Winston and strong rebounding. Michigan State has won 10 of its past 11 games and is one of the hottest teams in the country.
BUBBLE IN: Temple was squarely on the bubble after losing to Wichita State in its first American Athletic Conference Tournament game Friday. But Fran Dunphy’s Owls — four years after being the first team on the outside looking in — didn’t have their bubble burst by Saint Louis’ run or Oregon’s Pac-12 Tournament championship. They will face Belmont on Tuesday for the right to be the 11th seed in the East and face sixth-seeded Maryland.