N2K’s All-Time College Basketball Bracket Challenge: The Elite Eight

Only one more day away from the Final Four! The magic number is now three wins until we can crown an All-Time Bracket Champion. Some of today’s main storylines include whether or not two Duke teams will make it to the Final Four. Also, the game to watch is 1992 Duke vs 1990 UNLV, which will be a rematch of the 1990 National Championship, a game that UNLV won 103-73. Hopefully for the people that have Duke moving on in their personal bracket, the Blue Devils will be able to at least contend this time around. Now to the results!

EAST

2015 Kentucky vs 2013 Louisville

The first of four games on today’s slate in order to figure out which teams are headed to the Final Four. Both teams boast tremendous lineup depth and coaches but only one team can advance. This Kentucky and Louisville matchup was no barnburner but rather a defensive battle. Louisville guard Russ Smith led all scorers with 18 points while the Wildcat top scorers were Aaron Harrison and Karl-Anthony Towns who both ended with 11 points. Although the score indicates that the game was back and forth and tight throughout, Kentucky was in control the entire time. Willy Cauley-Stein and Karl-Anthony Towns each had 7 rebounds while Andrew Harrison totaled 10 points and 4 assists. Louisville center Gorgui Dieng led the way for Louisville’s late game run and came close to a double double with 9 points and 9 rebounds.

Elite Eight Kentucky Louisville.png

WEST

2001 Duke vs 1997 Kansas

Paul Pierce and the 14 seed Kansas Jayhawks have made quite the little run in our tournament, they’ve knocked off some tough opponents but the 2001 Duke Blue Devils are a different story. The Blue Devils have a very strong lineup from top to bottom and the only chance for Kansas to pull off another upset is if forwards Paul Pierce and Raef LaFrentz can take over. For Coach K led another inspiring offensive showing behind Blue Devils Jay Williams and Shane Battier who combined for 45 points and the rest of the Duke starters added another 41 points. As for Kansas, Raef LaFrentz ended up with 18 points and 9 rebounds but Paul Pierce only managed 16 points after going off for 26 in the Sweet Sixteen. The cinderella run of the Jayhawks finally came to an end at the hands of the Blue Devils. Duke will take on the 2015 Kentucky Wildcats in the Final Four.

Elite Eight Duke Kansas.png

MIDWEST

1992 Duke vs 1990 UNLV

A rematch of the 1990 National Championship and a faceoff of two college basketball’s greatest players, Larry Johnson and Christian Laettner. The Johnson-Laettner matchup certainly lived up to its billing as the two combined for 75 points and 29 rebounds in a thrilling double overtime game. Both the regulation and the first period of overtime ended in buzzer beating fashion until the game was ultimately decided in double overtime. In regulation, with under five seconds left Duke guard Bobby Hurley was intentionally fouled but after making the first free throw Coach K gave the signal to purposely miss the second. Stacey Augmon of UNLV grabbed the rebound and was able to get off a deep three pointer to force OT, and it was good. In the first overtime, Duke’s Grant Hill converted a mid-range jump shot after Laettner was swarmed in the post in order to keep their tournament hopes alive. Finally in the second overtime, the Blue Devils didn’t look back and took a commanding lead early in the period that UNLV couldn’t climb back from. Now not just one but two Duke teams have punched their respective tickets to the Final Four.

Elite Eight Duke UNLV.png

SOUTH

2005 UNC vs 2008 UCLA

Another matchup of two great teams coincidentally that play through their big man, for UNC Sean May and for UCLA Kevin Love. The winner of this game could very well be based on the winner of the matchup at the center position. May finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds while Kevin Love produced just below that with 18 points and 11 rebounds. For the most part, May and Love kept each other in check so the outcome of this one came down to their supporting casts. Tar Heel Rashad McCants scored 19 points while Raymond Felton chipped in 15 points alongside 8 assists and 5 boards. As for the Bruins, guard Darren Collison added 15 points and Russell Westbrook had 13 points of his own. The main difference between UNC and UCLA in this game was their worst performance by a starter. UNC’s worst offensive starter, Marvin Williams scored 13 points and had 8 rebounds but UCLA’s forward Luc Mbah a Moute was only able to get 9 points and 6 rebounds. Depth has been the story so far for this UNC Tar Heel team, and they’ll look to face 1992 Duke in the Final Four for a spot in the Championship.

Elite Eight UNC UCLA.png

What did you think of today’s games? How did your bracket do? Make sure to keep tabs on our All-Time Bracket Challenge and be on the look out for the Final Four game results that get released tomorrow. The rest of our result releasing schedule is as follows…

3:00PM March 10, 2017- Final Four
3:00PM March 11, 2017- Championship

Elite Eight Results.png

Cover Photo via ACC Action

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