As if you don't need any more reason to root for the upstart Hampton Pirates, they will be playing defending NCAA Tournament champion Duke in the first round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament. The Pirates are probably not going to beat the mighty Blue Devils, but it certainly makes it easy for people in this region to root for them.
The Blue Devils are known to everyone. ACC Player of the Year Nolan Smith shrugged off a toe injury to lead the Blue Devils to the ACC Tournament title, including a 75-58 rout of North Carolina in the championship game. Small forward Kyle Singler is the other headliner, and he, along with the Plumlee twins inside, are hated by many in this region.
The X-factor for Duke remains point guard Kyrie Irving. The freshman phenom suffered what many felt was a season-ending toe injury in December, but was practicing during the ACC Tournament and has not been ruled out yet. Irving would obviously turn the Blue Devils into the favorites if he makes it back.
It'll be a victory if Hampton can keep it close, but you never know.