Troy Trojans vs Duke Blue Devils March Madness Preview
Troy men's basketball will play in the program's second ever NCAA tournament game Friday at 6:20 p.m. (CDT) against Duke. The trip the Trojans (22-14) took to get to March Madness required winning four games in five days in the Sun Belt Tournament.
Troy had consecutive wins against Appalachian State and Georgia Southern in the first two rounds by 20 points.
That marked the first time in school history the Trojans had won back-to-back postseason games by that margin. In the semifinals, Troy rallied from 15 points down in the first half to claim a 74-63 win over Georgia State.
Despite Texas State being one of two Sun Belt teams Troy did not defeat in the regular season, the Trojans were undaunted and never trailed in the second half of a 59-53 to win the Sun Belt Tournament for the first time.
As has been the case this season, the four postseason wins were the result of a dynamic attack from Wesley Person and Jordon Varnado. Person, who was named the Sun Belt Tournament Most Outstanding Player, scored 87 points throughout the four games.
Varnado, in keeping pace with his teammate, scored 76 points in the tournament in being named to the all-tournament team. He was the team leader in the championship game with 18 points and 12 rebounds.
This will be the first time in program history that Troy will square off against Duke (27-8, 11-7) and the 10th ever time that the Trojans will face an Atlantic Coast Conference squad. The Blue Devils became the first team to win four games en route to the ACC title.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Jordon Varnado: 16.5 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 50 blocks
Wesley Person: 14.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 92 3-pointers
DUKE BLUE DEVILS
Luke Kennard: 20.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 84.9 free throw percentage
Grayson Allen: 14.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 113 assists
• Wesley Person's 87 points were just eight shy of the Sun Belt Tournament record set in 2011 by Tristan Thompson.
• A win would put Troy against the winner of the South Carolina/Marquette matchup.
• Jordon Varnado's became the ninth player in Troy D-I history to reach 1,000 points in the championship game. His 1,003 points rank ninth all-time and he is 14 points shy of eighth.