Duke barely made it through. North Carolina was upset by Auburn. Mainstays Michigan State and Kentucky moved on, although not without scares. Things were so close betting on March Madness outcomes would have been interesting and exciting.
Duke VS Virginia Tech
Zion Williamson scored 23 points, RJ Barrett had 18 and a career-high 11 assists, and Tre Jones added 22 points and eight assists, helping No. 1 overall seed Duke avoid an NCAA Tournament upset.
The Hokies had their chances, the final one with only 1.1 seconds left. The ball went to Ahmed Hill as he jumped to the basket, but his attempt to tie failed. Before that final miss, both Hill and Ty Outlaw airballed 3-point attempts that would have put Virginia Tech ahead.
But Duke got through, even though it trailed much of the evening.
In the Elite Eight on Sunday, Duke will take on No. 2 seed Michigan State.
Auburn VS North Carolina
Auburn earned its second trip to the Elite Eight with a 97-80 victory over the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region. North Carolina was the first top seed eliminated from this year’s NCAA Tournament.
The Tar Heels could do nothing to slow down Auburn, which got 20 points and 11 boards from Chuma Okeke before he left with a gruesome knee injury late, an injury that Coach Bruce Pearl said, “could be serious.”. Malik Dunbar finished with 13 points, Bryce Brown and Danjel Purifoy scored 12 apiece, and Jared Harper scored nine while dishing out 11 assists in Auburn’s latest takedown of college hoops royalty.
No. 5 Auburn will be facing off against No. 2 Kentucky
Kentucky VS Houston
Tyler Herro hit a 3-pointer with 25.8 seconds left to give Kentucky the lead after Houston had erased a double-digit lead. Herro’s huge basket gave the Wildcats a 60-58 lead.
Davis missed a tying layup before Herro hit two more free throws to secure the win and send the second-seeded Wildcats to the Elite Eight for the seventh time in 10 years.
Herro led the Wildcats (30-6) with 19 points and Washington added 16.
The Wildcats look great now that Washington is back. They’ll be facing Auburn next, a team they beat twice in the regular season.
Michigan State VS LSU
Michigan State’s freshmen stepped up and the Spartans bashed LSU, 80-63. Aaron Henry, the player Coach Tom Izzo hollered at earlier in the tournament, had 20 points, eight rebounds and six assists. The second-seeded Spartans will play Duke for the regional title on Sunday at 5:05 p.m. Eastern.
Unfortunately, it was not all positive for the Spartans. Nick Ward had an injury scare on his left wrist. It was the same hand in which he suffered a hairline fracture in the middle of February that required surgery and subsequently caused him to miss five games. X-rays came back negative, but his status for Sunday remains uncertain.
This victory marks the 10th time that Tom Izzo has guided the Spartans to the Elite Eight in his career.
The rest of the Elite Eight was decided on Thursday night. Those teams will play for the first two spots in the Final Four on Saturday: Texas Tech vs. Gonzaga at 6:09 p.m. and Purdue vs. Virginia scheduled for 8:49.