The NCAA Tournament has produced wild upsets and unpredictability at nearly every turn this March, but Sunday’s Elite Eight matchup between Duke and Kansas is the result many expected would ultimately determine which team survives the vaunted Midwest Region.
Sunday’s games (All times Eastern):
- 5:05 p.m. No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 2 Duke (CBS)
College basketball has whittled its Final Four contenders down to eight, and they divide neatly into two groups: those familiar with college basketball’s most exclusive weekend, and those who haven’t flirted with that stage in decades.
The Blue Devils and Jayhawks will meet Sunday afternoon in the second game of an Elite Eight
Duke’s Marvin Bagley III has been the catalyst for the Blue Devils’ offense. The freshman forward, who is averaging 21.2 points and 11.1 rebounds, is coming off a dominating 22-point performance against a stingy Syracuse zone defense.
If Saturday’s games feature newcomers, Sunday’s feature the bluest of college basketball blue bloods. Villanova, which will tip off in Sunday’s first game, claimed the 2016 national championship. Duke, which will play in Sunday’s second game, won the title the year before. Kansas, which will face Duke, was in the national title game in 2012, and also won the 2008 title. Together, those three programs have made 10 Final Four appearances this century — or 10 more than Loyola and Kansas State have managed since the Johnson Administration.
About No. 1 seed Kansas
Kansas’ run hasn’t come without its challenges as the Jayhawks have won two consecutive NCAA Tournament thrillers by a mere four points. After leading by as many as 20 over Clemson on Friday, they nearly fooled around and fumbled it in the final minute. Will Kansas use that late-game lull as motivation to prove a point on Sunday?
About No. 2 seed Duke
Duke cracked the Syracuse zone defense on Friday and dispatched the Orange 69-65, despite putrid shooting from beyond the arc. It’s the only game in the NCAA Tournament the Blue Devils have won by fewer than 22 points.