Robert Morris University puts more emphasis on the student part of the NCAA’s student-athlete description than does, say, Kentucky (which, let’s be honest, kinda favors the athlete part). 60% of the student athletes wearing Robert Morris Colonials uniforms carry a GPA of 3.0 or better. The Robert Morris men’s basketball team will need all their smarts–and a few lucky breaks too–when they match up against perennial powerhouse Duke Blue Devils on day two of the NCAA Tournament. Robert Morris is a 16-seed; Duke is seeded first. A No 16-seed has ever beaten a 1-seed in March Madness.
Unfortunately for Robert Morris, Duke also brings some smarts–as well as superior basketball pedigree–to the gym. Duke’s graduation rate for student athletes is 98%–and it has never been lower than 96% since the NCAA started measuring. In 2013 the APR (Academic Progress Report) for NCAA Div 1 schools across the country showed these rankings in men’s basketball over the last nine years:
1. Duke 986.4
2. Notre Dame: 986.0
3. Vanderbilt 977.0
4. Northwestern: 974.9
5. Stanford 971.2
But the Robert Morris players will still have confidence. Even if their impressive academic achievements don’t prove an advantage over Duke, the Colonials are secure in this knowledge: they are 2-0 against the Blue Devils so far this year. Of course that was the Blue Devils of Central Connecticut State.